Addressing Tacit Knowledge In ISD Methodologies

Fiona M. Lynch, Larry Stapleton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper identifies a gap in ISD methodologies regarding the exclusion of tacit user requirements in the development of information systems (IS). It recognises that this will lead to IS failure, since given that tacit requirements are not considered or incorporated, these systems will not address these types of requirements. In the mid 90’s Clegg et al (1997) argued that 80-90% of IT investments do not adhere to the performance objectives of the user. They identified a number reason for systems failure, one of them being the poor articulation of user requirements. Tacit knowledge is inarticulable (Wong & Radcliffe, 2000) and subjective (Baumard, 1999). Therefore requirements that result from tacit knowledge use are omitted from consideration in current ISD processes. This paper identifies three characteristics and five acquisition dimensions of tacit knowledge that have a significant impact upon the ISD process. Four well-known ISD methodologies are then critiqued in relation to these. This leads to a revised perspective on current ISD methodologies, which challenges the traditional view regarding the development of systems.
Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Title of host publicationInformation Systems Development: Advances in Theory, Practice, and Education.
EditorsWita Wojtkowski, Jože Zupančič, Albertas Caplinskas, W Wojtkowski, Stanisław Wrycza
PublisherKluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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