Title

INCREASING USER OWNERSHIP IN IS PROJECTS: POSITION, PARTICIPATION, AND LEADERSHIP

Abstract

Users are often intimidated by the introduction of new IS that radically change how they perform their tasks. A critical issue IS project management often face at that stage is how to engender a sense of identification and ownership with the project among users and not merely project developers. Leadership should be of value in such situations, but IS research has been silent on exactly what kinds of leadership may apply here and their relative importance compared with the established importance of user participation. This study examines this issue in the context of users, managers, and IT developers involved in Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) implementation projects. A survey covering over 1,300 participants in more than 100 projects suggests that identification with the KMS project depended upon project leaders engaging in functional leadership behaviors that involve sensemaking and promoting self-management, but not on defining the mission. Active sharing of information activities were also needed to build user identification. Finally, the role of the person on the KMS project was also related to identification. As might be expected, IT developers identified most with the KMS project, followed by managers in the organization, and only then the regular employees. Implications about applying functional leadership theory to create identification with the project, and why this may be so in view of social identity theory, are discussed.

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