Understanding Software Operations Support Expertise: A Revealed Causal Mapping Approach

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This paper utilizes a qualitative methodology, revealed causal mapping (RCM), to investigate the phenomenon of software operations support expertise. Software operations support is a large portion of the IS work performed in organizations. While we as researchers have access to generalized theories and frameworks of expertise, very little is known about expertise in this critical area. To understand software operations support expertise, a mid-range theory is evoked from interviews with experts and the construction of RCMs from those interviews. The results of this study indicate that software operation support expertise is comprised of five major constructs: personal competencies, environmental factors, support personnel motivation, IS policies, and support personnel outcomes. Additionally, this study revealed that these constructs interact differently in contexts where software support is the main activity versus contexts where the focus is development. This study demonstrates that the use of the RCM methodology yields constructs of software operations support expertise that are not suggested by generalized theory. In addition, the use of RCM as an evocative, qualitative methodology reveals the interaction and linkages between these constructs. This paper also provides a history of and tutorial to the RCM methodology for use by the research community.
Additional Details
Author Kay M. Nelson, Sucheta Nadkarni, V. K. Narayanan, and Mehdi Ghods
Year 2000
Volume 24
Issue 3
Keywords Cognitive mapping, IS personnel, IS maintenance, IS policy
Page Numbers 475-507
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