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Understanding objectivity in information system evaluation

07 July 2011

PhD ceremony: Mr. P.M. Schuurman, 14.45 uur, Doopsgezinde kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, Groningen

Dissertation: Understanding objectivity in information system evaluation

Promotor(s): prof. E.W. Berghout

Faculty: Economics and Business


When evaluating the economics of information systems, value is made apparent by adding up the benefits and costs. However, the differences between the two are such that the composition is extremely problematic. Building upon these apparent difficulties, the main objective of this research is to improve the understanding of the influence of objectivity on the evaluation of information systems economics. The results from 32 interviews with IT managers show that when the perceived objectivity of costs or benefits increases, so does the perceived performance in the associated evaluations. Additionally, it is seen that costs are perceived to be significantly more objective than benefits, and that the overall evaluation performance is solely influenced by the performance in evaluating costs. Combining these three findings leads to the conclusion that in order to close the gap between costs and benefits and therewith increase the quality of evaluations as a whole, increasing benefit objectivity should be seen as a future direction for progress. In this process the development of cost evaluations can be used as an initial road map. For now, however, it seems unlikely that a solid single contemplation of the two can be included in a satisficing way into an evaluation in the short term. Organizations would therefore be wise to pay separate attention to each of the two, and ask the question whether it is worth the effort, rather than whether it is profitable.


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.40 p.m.

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