The importance of user ownership and positive user attitudes in the successful adoption of Community Information Systems

The factors that influence the ultimate level of success or failure of systems development projects have received considerable attention in the academic literature. However, despite the existence of a ‘best practice’ literature many projects still fail. The record of the National Health Service has been particularly poor in this respect. The research reported in this paper proposes that two additional factors; user ownership and positive user attitudes warrant further development and investigation. The current study investigated these two factors in a homogenous organisational sector, Community NHS Trusts, using a common type of information system, in order to eliminate the potentially confounding influences of sector and system. A multiple case-study design incorporating five Community Healthcare Trusts was utilised. The key results from the analysis indicated that both user ownership and positive user attitudes were important mediating variables that were crucial to the success of a CIS. In addition, it was also identified that the adoption of best practice variables had a dual role, directly influencing the level of perceived success but also facilitating the development of user ownership and positive user attitudes. These results will be of particular interest to practising IM&T managers in the NHS and also to the wider academic research community.