Academic journal article International Management Review

The Impact of IS Planning Effectiveness on IS Responsiveness, User Training, and User Skill Development within Manufacturing Firms

Academic journal article International Management Review

The Impact of IS Planning Effectiveness on IS Responsiveness, User Training, and User Skill Development within Manufacturing Firms

Article excerpt

[Abstract] Today's rapidly changing, highly competitive business environment demands greater IT flexibility, a wider variety of computing services, and more technologically advanced users. This study explores the impact of firms' IS strategy on IS function responsiveness to organizational computing demands, end-user training effectiveness, and the development of end-user computing skill. These, in turn, should lead to higher levels of IS and firm performance. Data for this study were collected from 265 senior manufacturing managers. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses of interest.

[Keywords] Information systems planning; information systems strategy; information systems responsiveness; end-user training; end-user computing skill; information systems performance; firm performance

Today's global manufacturing environment has significantly impacted the basis of competition for U.S. firms (Nam et al., 2004). Unable to compete on the basis of low labor costs, many U.S. manufacturers have sought to improve the effectiveness of their work system practices through the implementation of new information technologies and systems. To succeed in this rapidly changing, highly competitive climate, manufacturing firms require information systems (IS) that are information rich, flexible, integrative, and responsive to users' needs (Russell & Taylor, 2007). This requires firms to employ top-down planning processes, and work toward building IS capabilities that are compatible with functional requirements which enable them to realize their goals and objectives (Hirschheim & Sabherwal, 2001).

In addition to high-level planning, the IS function must be responsive to the ever- changing computing demands of users. They should also provide or facilitate formal and informal user computing training. Effective training enables end-users to further develop their computing skills, understand the latest technologies, and use these skills to improve their productivity (Rondeau et al., 2003). IS plans and strategies not only dictate the types of training needed but also dictate the opportunities employees will have for specific skill development. As such, employees' opportunities for skill development also define the ways in which they may use their skills strategically to improve organizational outcomes (Eldridge & Nisar, 2006).

While the IS literature has explored the impact of IS planning on user training, it has not examined the impact of IS planning on user skill development. High user skill in the use of information systems and technologies has been described as paramount to the success of modern manufacturing firms (Rondeau et al., 2006; Russell & Taylor, 2007). Thus, the central tenet of this study is, therefore, effective IS planning should have a positive impact on level of IS function responsiveness to organizational computing demands, the effectiveness of user training, and the level of users' computing skill development. These variables should, in turn, be positively related to user perceptions of IS performance. Finally, it is expected that higher levels of IS performance will be positively related to improved overall firm performance. This research develops a framework to understand the relationships among these IS variables in the context of a manufacturing environment.

Research Framework and Hypotheses Development

As illustrated in the research framework in Figure 1, IS strategic planning effectiveness is hypothesized to have far-reaching affects within the organization. More specifically, we assumed that

1. IS strategic planning effectiveness has a direct and positive impact on IS responsiveness to computing demands, IS effectiveness in end-user training, and end-user computing skill;

2. IS responsiveness to organizational computing demands has a direct and positive impact on IS effectiveness in end-user training;

3. IS effectiveness in end-user training has a direct and positive impact on end-user computing skill;

4. …

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