, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 317-330
Date: 08 Nov 2012

On the Importance of National Culture for the Design of Information Systems

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In this contribution a literature review is conducted to illustrate how national culture influences phases of the design of information systems. For this purpose, we review the literature in order to identify reliable and commonly approved findings as well as still open remaining questions. Fundamentally, our literature review is a comprehensive framework that sets typical dimensions of system design as well as main types of cultural research in relation to each other. The existing research results in the area of national culture are classified along the levels of system design and attributed to typical phases of the design of information systems. It thus becomes apparent that in the domain of culture and information system design it is often only the design subject or the design object that is addressed. Contributions that connect both levels rarely exist. In our review, only a limited number of publications could be identified that covered concrete phases of the development providing system design, implementation, as well as verification and validation. From a theoretical perspective, there is an obvious dominance of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions that well address single topics of the design, such as user interface and inter cultural problems in development teams. Other domains, however (e.g., technology and architecture), are inadequately explained. Further, a predominantly phenomenological focus becomes obvious. The observed cultural phenomena and the connected interpretations are usable in a limited way for concrete development initiatives. The contribution ends with the vision of a theory for the culturally sensitive design of socio-technical information systems that absorbs current scientific knowledge and unites it in a structured approach.

Accepted after two revisions by Prof. Dr. Armin Heinzl.
This article is also available in German in print and via http://www.wirtschaftsinformatik.de: Kummer T-F, Leimeister JM, Bick M, (2012) Die Bedeutung von nationaler Kultur für die Gestaltung von Informationssystemen. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK. doi: 10.1007/s11576-012-0340-4.