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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

The problems and complexity associated with globalization directly impact the Information Systems curriculum, especially with respect to the formation and management of teams of systems analysts. Though it is not feasible, nor desirable, to provide instruction to IS students in how to relate to all cultures when confronted with team membership whose occupants possess differing skills, cultures, and beliefs, a suitable experience can be given to students in the Systems Analysis class. Extending beyond the usual set of well-defined, unambiguous in-class problems is the external "real-world" problem in which complexity and ambiguity reign in problems stretching beyond traditional borders and into the global marketplace. To provide the Systems Analysis and Design class with a simulated experience of working in the global environment we have utilized actual problems from the commercial, governmental, manufacturing, and nonprofit industries. To experience these situations and provide for the development of some expertise in dealing with these problems, students are placed into teams and given the responsibility for problem solving to the satisfaction of the industry principals. Two types of student teams are identified: homogeneous or single school teams, and heterogeneous (dyad or triad) school teams. Homogeneous teams share common instruction, a common body of knowledge, and inter-team commitment and accountability, while heterogeneous teams find incompatibilities in their basic level of shared and unshared knowledge, CASE tools, methodological approaches to problem solving, commitment to solving the problem, and team accountability. Homogeneous team experiences are useful in establishing team work habits and allowing students the opportunity of dealing with known personalities, and heterogeneous teams extend that experience to include opportunities involving unknown individual personalities, intra-team commitment and accountability, and the pressure of deriving an acceptable solution regardless of obstacles. We suggest this experience can be used to satisfy portions of sections 2.4, 2.10, and 3.7 in the IS'95 Model Curriculum.

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