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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

The role of information systems (IS) professionals in organizations has changed through the years, from one who works mostly with technically oriented peers, to one who spends a significant amount of time interacting with people who are involved in the functional areas of the organization. In many organizations, IS professionals are assigned permanently to the user area and they are expected to not only be technically competent, but also be competent in the user's area. This move of IS professionals to the functional areas necessitates that they communicate more with the functional users whose IS needs they are fulfilling. The users, on the other hand, are also required to interact and communicate more with the IS people. With the move toward distributed IS, users are becoming more involved in the specification, design and sometimes even construction of their own systems. It is therefore imperative that analysts and users be able to communicate with each other unequivocally, so that the systems are specified and developed properly. This research investigated the verbal communication skills requirements for IS practicing professionals and new university graduates. A survey was used for data collection. It was sent to IS professionals in several large organizations, that represented the industry in general. A nearly perfect response rate was achieved. The findings are useful for both IS professionals and university programs. Organizations can use the findings to identify areas of weaknesses in the skills of their IS personnel and eliminate them with continuing education. Universities can use the findings to identify skills that they may not be currently emphasizing in their curricula and make necessary adjustments.

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