Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Requirements elicitation (RE) is a critical phase in information systems development (ISD), having significant impacts on software quality and costs. While it has remained a key topic of interest for IS researchers, a review of the existing literature suggests that there are very few studies examining how the social process associated with RE unfolds. Prior literature acknowledges that this process involves collaboration between RE participants (e.g., user-reps and systems analysts) where knowledge regarding the system requirements is shared, absorbed, and co-constructed, such that shared mental models of the requirements can form. However, collaboration and knowledge sharing within the RE process has been characterized as tenuous in the literature, given that the groups of RE participants bring very different kinds of knowledge into this activity, and trust among the two parties cannot be guaranteed at any point. Despite acknowledgement of the tenuous nature of RE, we are not aware of research that has attempted to present an integrated view of how collaboration, knowledge transfer, and trust influence the RE process. Using data from two different organizations and adopting a grounded approach, this study presents an integrative process model of RE. The study’s findings suggest that RE is composed of four different collaborative states. The study elaborates on the four states, and identifies important factors that tend to trigger transitions from one state to another.