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ERIC Number: EJ848649
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Advancing the IS Curricula: The Identification of Important Communication Skills Needed by IS Staff during Systems Development
Miller, Ruth A.; Luse, Donna W.
Journal of Information Technology Education, v3 p117-131 2004
Although research indicates communication is important among information systems (IS) staff, users, and managers to ensure successful development projects, the ineffective communication skills of IS staff are often cited as a possible cause of failed IS projects. To develop effective systems, communication between IS users and systems developers is important throughout the development process, and effective communication supports the collaborative process in system development. As found in the IS 2002 model curriculum, IS experts place interpersonal, communication, and team skills as one of four main categories of exit characteristics of IS graduates (Gorgone et al., 2002). Since effective communication among IS project stakeholders is cited as a critical factor of project success, this study identified specific written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills IS staff, IS users, and IS managers perceived to be the most important for IS staff during the systems development process. To investigate the most important communication skills needed by IS staff during the development process, IS staff, IS users, and IS managers who worked on a system development project together were surveyed. Results of the data obtained from the 324 respondents were analyzed in two ways: first, the most important communication skills needed by IS staff were ranked by each participant category and, second, models of the three communication skill types were developed through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Rankings by IS users, IS staff, and IS managers, as presented in this study, indicated that the three stakeholder groups had similar views of critical written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills needed by IS staff in the systems development process. Respondents consistently identified the most important writing skill as "coherent writing", the two most important oral communication skills as "the ability to ask appropriate questions" and "have effective oral communication skills", and the two most important interpersonal skills as the "ability to accomplish assignments and the ability to work cooperatively in a one-on-one and project team environment". Using CFA, a written communication skill model consisting of 18 items was identified, an oral communication skill model consisting of 6 items was identified, and an interpersonal communication skill model consisting of 7 items was identified. The CFA procedure and comparisons with other studies provided support for the validity and reliability for the proposed constructs developed for important written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills. Both the rankings and confirmatory factor analysis models presented in this study provide IS faculty a set of important communication skills to use when nurturing and refining students' skills to enhance their employability and reduce project risk associated with poor communication among project stakeholders. Incorporating the most paramount communication skills within an IS curriculum is vital to produce effective IS graduates. (Contains 6 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A