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Information Systems Development in a Low Methodology Maturity Environment: A Case Study from the Control Perspective

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This paper presents an exploratory case study to examine information systems development (ISD) processes in a low methodology maturity environment, and to understand the role of control mechanisms in project success. The case involves the development of a large scale information system, which progressed without a fully-defined “master plan” or much reliance on formal methodologies, but was successfully launched nevertheless despite some delay. Data were analyzed from the lens of control theory. Results show that clan control emerged as a dominant form of informal control in a high complexity and low methodology maturity environment. Moreover, end-to-end user participation through collocation with the developers served as effective outcome control, which appeared to be a critical success factor. The reliance on behavior control was marginal, although the project manager’s effective leadership as a form of self-control also played a role in project success. This work contributes to ISD research in general and the development of a control perspective to user participation in ISD.


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