End-user computing paradigms in federal agencies
This study represents the most authoritative research to date to determine ways to improve the effectiveness of personal computers in the federal government. In addition it should provide managers with new insights to boost the productivity of workers in the federal government. The research was conducted at eight different federal agencies, in various organizational settings, by surveying 3370 federal employees at 1263 different federal, state, and county field offices to determine their reliance on end-user computing. A variety of information was collected which included individual and organizational attributes thought to influence the use of the personal computer in the federal government. The results of this study have revealed four findings which should provide meaningful insights to improve the effectiveness of end-user computing within the federal government. The first finding is that the overall satisfaction with the personal computer is the strongest predictor of system utilization. This should be of paramount interest to managers who are charged with the responsibility for end-user computing, and end-user support personnel who interact with end-users on a daily basis. Secondly, training, when controlled by end-user sophistication and education, is a strong predictor of system utilization. This finding has important implications for trainers, and managers responsible for structuring training curriculums. It suggests that to be effective end-user training must be tailored to meet the needs of each of the six distinct types of end-users. Thirdly, the agency's technical sophistication and the individual's type of position are strong, positive predictors of system utilization. It is clear that technology and culture have a major impact for managers in "high-tech" organizations, who are charged with the responsibility of funding and supporting end-user computing activities. From the results of this study one can anticipate the demand for end-user resources will be significantly higher in technical organizations as well as in positions which require technical expertise. Finally, our research suggested that both differentiation, in the form of span of control, and organizational integration were strongly and positively related to computer utilization. This has important implications as changes are made to down-size organizational structures within the federal government. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).