The introduction of a GIS system that is first defined through the development and implementation of the applications all based on defining and then re-designing the processes by which GIS systems users will be able to do their jobs more efficiently is at the center of the human factors associated with GIS systems. Commonly referred to as change management, human factors are the study of how processes can be made more efficiently by the selective development and integration of GIS systems-based components and applications.
At the center of the human factor of GIS systems development and implementation is the resistance to change that many of those who will ultimately benefit from the system show on a consistent basis. The fact that resistance and fear of change makes more GIS system implementations fail than any company or organization would care to admit underscores how critical of an issue this is for any organization looking to roll out a GIS system. Overcoming resistance to change is the greatest challenge of all in terms of the human factors if GIS system development and implementation. The tendency is for people to see a new system as a potential replacement of their role and the fear of their importance somehow being lessened or made less important dominates their minds. Overcoming the fear of change and attempting to lead those more affected and paradoxically with the most to gain from a new GIS system design and implementation is the foundation of change management theories used throughout organizations.
Steps companies can take to overcome resistance to change begin with a strong orientation towards getting those most affected by the new system into the actual system definition, design, development, and implementation process. Studies have shown that having a strong sense of ownership of the change being implemented is critical for acceptance of the proposed process and system changes at the job level. Another successful strategy companies rely on is stressing how everyone will be made more efficient and productive given the introduction of the new system. The role of senior manager and even Chief Executive officers (CEOs) is critical in this regard. If change is seen as impacting everyone equitably, resistance to change is greatly lessened and more is accomplished. Combining executive ownership and a strong sense of employees seeing how their jobs will be made more efficient with the new GIS system is critical for overcoming the fear that drives people to resist change that a new system brings. In addition to these strategies, its also critical for a company to concentrate on how the data being used on hw other system is performing permeate the culture of the company so that the early adopters of the system can be shown to be the “champions of change” specifically showing how their contributions led to greater success across the entire organization. Ultimately the human factors of GIS system development and implementation must focus on overcoming resistance to change by imparting high levels of ownership with those most affected..