Factors influencing the performance of IS megaproject in an emerging economy: the freight operations information system of the Indian railways
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IS megaprojects (ISMPs) are long duration complex ventures that involve extremely largescale investments, are transformational in nature, influence large populations and engage multiple public and private stakeholders. ISMPs face additional challenges typical of large IS projects and have a blemished history of poor performance. This is further compounded in an emerging economy as most of them lag behind developed countries in terms of technology and infrastructure and suffer from institutional voids. Further, users may also be resistant to and slow adopters of new technologies. In an emerging economy, the capability to recover from poor performance is also very low due to inherent resource constraints. However, studies of ISMPs in developing countries are scant. Therefore, identifying the factors that influence the performance of ISMPs is an important area of study. The present study focuses on an ISMP in an emerging economy, i.e., the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) implemented in the Indian Railways (IR), one of the largest and busiest railway networks globally. This is a mixed-method research consisting of exploratory study and confirmatory analysis, including hypotheses testing. The Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) approach has been used for theory testing. The study suggests that the performance of an ISMP comprises four dimensions, namely ‘future-readiness and customer-orientation’, ‘benefit and performance expectancy’, ‘indispensability’, and ‘effort expectancy’. The study results provide support for four factors, i. environment, ii. top management support, iii. IS governance, and iv. project governance that influence ISMP performance. The model establishes the relationships between these factors. The environment influences the design of the project governance mechanisms through the mediating role of top management support and IS governance processes. The emergent project governance mechanisms influence the performance of an ISMP in an emerging economy context.The study makes several theoretical and practical contributions through (i) application of institutional theory to a novel context of ISMP, (ii) development and testing of a causal model, (iii) development of valid and reliable scales to measure the factors influencing ISMP in an emerging economy, (iv) highlighting a new perspective on the organizational form of ISMPs, and (v) bringing out the unique implications of ISMP on policymaking.
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