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The Necessity of Paradigms? Is this really an impactful variable in systems development?

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Definitions of Objectivist/Subjectivist Dimension Objectivist viewpoint - to apply models and methods derived from the natural sciences to the study of human affairs Subjectivist viewpoint - the lack of necessity of using natural sciences to study human affairs; delves into depths of subjective experience of individuals

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Definition of Order/Conflict Dimension Order - emphasizes a social world characterized by order, stability, integration, consensus, and functional coordination. Conflict - stresses change, conflict, disintegration, and coercion.

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Theory Presented by Hirschheim and Kline There are four paradigms –functionalism –social relativeism –radical structuralism –neohumanism A systems developer creates a system based on assumptions that are dependent upon his/her own paradigm.

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ObjectivismSubjectivism Order Conflict Functionalism Radical Structuralism Social Relativism Neohumanism Presented by Hirschheim and Kline

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Hypotheses H0:There is no difference in the distribution of people into each quadrant of Hirschman and Kline’s two dimensional representations of the four paradigms. H1: Functionalism is the predominate paradigm of systems developers, describing over 95% of the population of developers because the field is self-selecting.

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Subjects Large companies such as Microsoft, Corel, and IBM will be chosen because they develop in house. Small companies, specializing in system development will be targeted because these programs are developed outside the company who will use them.

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Survey A survey of 30 questions will be created –15 will measure objective/subjective scale –15 will measure chaos/control scale A Cronbach’s Alpha test will be run on the survey to determine internal validity This survey will be based on the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator Test

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Methodology 2000 surveys will be mailed out to systems development teams (users, analysts, and programmers) Once collected, each survey will be calculated to determine which paradigm underlies the person’s beliefs The surveys will be divided between large and small company employees

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Statistical Tests A t-test will be performed to determine if there is a significant difference between small and large company employees Score survey –in further revision, possible different weights will be incorporated into survey item scoring

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Significance: If significant –run a different study on each size company If not significant –lump surveys together and treat as one group

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Final Analysis Once surveys are scored, determine the percentage that fall within each quadrant. If % > 95%, then reject hypothesis If % < 95%, determine if the difference is significant by running a t-test on the results

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Summary Create Survey with good internal validity Gather data Score surveys Determine if there exists a difference between responses from large and small company employees by running a t-test Calculate the percentage in each quadrant of Hirschman’s and Kline’s model If less than 95% in quadrant 1, determine significance of actual result from predicted percent

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