The origins of failure: seeking the causes of design–reality gaps

2016-10-14T13:06:32Z (GMT) by Silvia Masiero
The theory of design–reality gaps is an extant framework to explain failure of information systems in developing nations. This paper problematizes the nature of failure, with a particular focus on situations in which well-implemented systems, apparently corresponding to users’ views of reality, still fail to meet the expectations of their key stakeholders. To extend existing theory on this phenomenon, I advance a diagnostic model to identify the root causes of design–reality gaps. The model is illustrated through a case study of the Ration Card Management System in Kerala, South India: by capturing the causal chains underlying design–reality gaps, the model sets to trace the origins of failure, and the processes through which it is ultimately determined. The model I propose is both explanatory and normative, as it elicits causes of failure and serves as a basis to combat them.