Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 16

Volume 16 Number 4, Pages 391-408

Winter 2005

Analyses of Information Systems Students' Applications of Two Holistic Problem Solving Methodologies

Philip F. Musa
Vickie C. Edmondson
George Munchus

University of Alabama - Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294, USA

Abstract: The importance of task analysis skills in the fast changing world of Information Systems cannot be over-emphasized. One of the objectives in this research was to analyze how effectively students could learn and apply two problem-solving methodologies in the analyses of two types of tasks to enhance effective decision making. The reference or tested methodology chosen was Systems Thinking, since it has been applied in a variety of settings or domains for many decades already. The second methodology (Goldratt's thinking processes) is relatively new, but has been applied in the analysis of constraint problems, especially in manufacturing, banking, healthcare, etc. After receiving the appropriate trainings, the subjects in the study were assigned two types of tasks or problems in information systems. The first task was verified by a group of experts to be dynamic, while the other was less complex (more static) in nature. The subjects in the study were master's degree students in Information Systems at a major university. The students were divided into four groups; with two professors administering the training to the groups in a format that sought to minimize confounding. Several hypotheses were generated and tested. It is believed that educators and managers could enhance their understanding of the dynamics of the two methodologies in the analyses of tasks of varying degrees of complexity.

Keywords: Systems thinking, Goldratt's thinking processes, Theory of constraints, Tukey multiple comparisons, Causal loops, Systems archetypes, Content analysis, Inter-rater reliability

Download this article: JISE - Volume 16 Number 4, Page 391.pdf

Recommended Citation: Musa, P. F., Edmondson, V. C., & Munchus, G. (2005). Analyses of Information Systems Students' Applications of Two Holistic Problem Solving Methodologies. Journal of Information Systems Education, 16(4), 391-408.