Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 317–330 | Cite as

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

  • Tyge-F. Kummer
  • Jan Marco Leimeister
  • Markus Bick
Research Paper


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.


National culture System design Socio-technical system design Literature review 



The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers and Professor Armin Heinzl for the constructive comments that led to a continuous improvement of the article.

Supplementary material

12599_2012_236_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (140 kb)
On the importance of national culture for the design of information systems (PDF 140 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tyge-F. Kummer
    • 1
  • Jan Marco Leimeister
    • 2
    • 3
  • Markus Bick
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Information Systems School of Business and EconomicsHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Insitute of Information ManagementUniversity of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  3. 3.Chair for Information SystemsKassel UniversityKasselGermany
  4. 4.Business Information SystemsESCP Europe Campus BerlinBerlinGermany

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