End-user support in information centers: A contingency perspective
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Citation of Original PublicationRajesh Mirani. 1992. End-User Support in Information Centers: A Contingency Perspective. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. UMI Order No. GAX92-26487.
End-user support is one of the most important determinants of end-user computing (EUC) effectiveness. Information centers (ICs) are widely recognized as being the primary source of EUC support. Few EUC research studies have focussed on end-user support in ICs. This study identified the components of end-user support and examined the impacts of five contingency variables on the construct of Support Needed. These were: (i) End-User Computing Sophistication, (ii) Complexity of Applications Developed, (iii) Variety of Applications Developed, (iv) Variety of Hardware Strategies Used, and (v) IC Maturity. A cross-sectional survey was used to collect data. One Executive Questionnaire and two End-User Questionnaires were mailed to each of 548 ICs across the country. The executive response rate was 26.35% and the end-user response rate was 15.79%. The measure of Support Needed was found to have twelve underlying factors. These were later reduced to ten. End-User Computing Sophistication, Variety of Hardware Strategies Used, and IC Maturity were found to positively influence Support Needed. Variety of Applications Developed and Complexity of Applications Developed did not significantly influence Support Needed. Support Needed was higher for users who developed applications than for those who did not. Two of the factors underlying Support Needed were positively influenced by IC Maturity. The importance of certain other factors increased in the initial stages of IC growth but either flattened or declined subsequently. An assumption of this study was that fulfillment of the support needs of end-users would enhance end-user satisfaction. Path analysis on a subset of the research model revealed that End-User Satisfaction was positively and strongly influenced by Needs Fulfilled. Analyses were conducted to determine whether IC managements were aware of, and were reacting to, the significant influences of the contingency constructs on Support Needed. These analyses revealed that IC managements were either not aware of these influences or ignoring them. The implication of these results for IC managers is that support services should be designed around the needs of end-users. To achieve this, IC staff should spend more effort in understanding their business functions.