Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: The information technology (IT) project environment in developing economies is complex and dynamic due to their unique social, technological, cultural, and political contexts. However, the unique risk factors involved in IT projects in developing economies have seldom been discussed in the literature. This study proposes a conceptual framework for identifying risks in IT projects by considering the unique characteristics of project management in developing economies.

Method: 17 project cases were examined via a series of expert interviews in Cambodia and Uganda. The interview results were coded into a total of 257 risk incidents, which were used to validate the proposed framework. Particularly, the risk incidents of each economy were matched with 16 risk categories under the proposed framework. The matched results were conceptualized into unique risk factors of each economy.

Results: Our results reveal that the most critical risks in both economies involve the lack of structured and standardized project management (PM) processes, and misunderstanding and poor decision-making due to the lack of project experience and technical knowledge in local stakeholders. In addition to these shared risk factors, the two economies show distinct risk granularities. Particularly, IT projects in Cambodia are more vulnerable to cultural uniqueness while IT projects in Uganda suffer more with complex stakeholder structures.

Conclusions: The proposed framework serves as guidance to identify IT project risks in developing economies. Furthermore, the identified risk factors using the framework proposed by this study help project managers or stakeholders recognize and mitigate the unique IT project risk factors in the two developing economies.

Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/pajais/vol12/iss3/1/