Questionnaire and Interview Research
(Includes some general end-user computing studies)

Brancheau, James C. & Wetherbe, James C., "The Adoption of Spreadsheet Software: Testing Innovation Diffusion Theory in the Context of End-User Computing," Information Systems Research (1:2) June 1990, pp 115-143.
Cale, E.G., Jr. "Quality Issues for End-User Developed Software," Journal of Systems Management (45:1) January 1994, pp. 36-39.

Fewer than 1/10 of companies had written policies on testing SSs; about a quarter had unwritten polices; about 6/10 had no policies. Documentation standards similar. About 70% strongly agreed that lack of testing standards produced serious problems. None disagreed. Reluctant to impose standards if developed by person for own use. More likely as used by others, if updates database, or as size grows. 90% would require testing for development lasting one week; 100% if one month.

Chan, Yolande E. & Storey, Veda C., "The Use of Spreadsheets in Organizations: Determinants and Consequences, Information & Management, 31(3), December 1996, pp. 119-134.

A survey on spreadsheet use was sent to 1,000 addressees of Lotus Magazine. There were 256 responses. Of the respondents, 48% said that spreadsheeting was their most frequently used application, 27% said that it was very often used, and 24% said it was often used. Word processing came in next, with the percentages being 25%, 34%, and 27%. Few subjects used other tools, such as statistical analysis, linear programming, and other programs that might compete with spreadsheet programs. Even database programs were only used by 52% of the sameple.

Manual data input was the most common source of data entry for 65% and was a common source for another 12%. Downloading data from a server was the most common source for 21% and was a common source for 20%. Copying data from floppy was was the most common source for 10% and was a common source for another 36%.

When asked for the highest level of management to use results, 42% chose CEO, 13% said vice president, 20.2% said department head, 14% said themselves, 1% said staff analysis, and 9% checked other.

When asked about the cost of a logical error in the model, only 42 subjects responded. 59% of the sample said that the answer was unknown, and 24% said that they could not disclose the answer. Estimated amounts ranged from under $1,000 to over a million dollars. The median was in the $10,000 to $100,000 range.

Coy, David and colleagues at the University of Waikato have produced several papers on the use of spreadsheet use among accountants in New Zealand.
Cragg, P.G. & King, M. "Spreadsheet Modelling Abuse: An Opportunity for OR?" Journal of the Operational Research Society (44:8) August 1993, pp. 743-752.

150 to 10,000 cells. Averaged 3 days to develop. Median use 6 months. Mean number of updates 7.  Informal iterative development. 10 built without prior design or planning; 8 had prior design, usually rudimentary. 10 used poor layout. 1/3 used cell protection. Only 2 had good comments. All but one tested with data, but only 1 tested by another person; 1 by an auditing package. 7 used historical data; 5 used cross-checks. Only half had documentation of any kind; usually only sample input & output. One commented had troubles understanding old SSs.

1/10 said firm had formal policies. 9/10 said no one in firm responsible for SS development.

Floyd, B. D.; Walls, J.; & Marr, K. "Managing Spreadsheet Model Development," Journal of Systems Management (46:1) May/June 1995, pp. 38-43, 68.

Average size 6,000 cells. Material value (economic impact of decision) not correlated with controls. High level of confidence. Mostly informally trained in SS.

1/7 had development policies, 2/5 implementation policies; 2/3 development policies. 1/3 required approvals only for important models. Almost all: any policy existing initiated by workgroup. All functions had some policies; modification policies most common. None reported comprehensive standards for all models. None knew of disasters in their firms. Clan-based control policy: socialization.

Gable, Guy; Yap, C. S.; & Eng., M. N. "Spreadsheet Investment, Criticality, and Control," Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Vol. III, Los Alomitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1991, pp. 153-162.
Galletta, D.F. & Hufnagel, E.M. "A Model of End-User Computing Policy: Context, Process, Content and Compliance," Information and Management (22:1) January 1992, pp. 1-28.

End user computing, not just spreadsheeting. Restrictions on application development? 23% rule, 58% guideline, 28% donít address; compliance level if address: 27% full compliance, 58% partial compliance; 15% ignore. Post-development audit requirement? 15% rule, 34% guideline, 52% donít address; compliance level if address: 10% full compliance, 49% partial compliance; 41% ignore.

Hall, M. J. J. "A Risk and Control Oriented Study of the Practices of Spreadsheet Application Developers," Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, Vol. II, Kihei, Hawaii, Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, January 1996, pp. 364-373.

Averaged 218 KB. 36% had links to other SSs; 21% had links to databases; 55% used macros; 47% used If function. Only 7% of low importance. 27% modified existing corporate data; 49% created new corporate data. Only 17% run once or a few times. Only 18% prepared for others to use. Examined 55 controls for 82 non-trivial SSs. In most cases, experts used more; respondents felt should be used more than was. Use of controls: Half modular; 49% cell protection. 71% used test data; only 50% knew of expected results prior to testing; only 33% used test data at limits of normal range; only 42% used test data with errors. Only 23% documented formulas; 23% assumptions & known limits. Checked by another: 17% another developer; 5% internal auditor; 6% external auditor. Only 40% formally trained.

Only 11% knew of a comprehensive corporate policy; only 1/3 of these could be located it in written form.

Hendry & Green [1994].

Ethnographic interviews with 10 SS developers. Modeled after Nardi & Miller [1991] but added a part in which the interviewer went over a specific SS with the developer. Generally repeated Nardi & Miller, but noted pattern of difficulty in comprehending parts of SSs. Describing efforts to build error-free models by taking specific actions. Later, Hendry [1994] noted that only three were "highly numerate" in carefully building models; Green [1994] said that comprehensive code inspection during a testing phase was not part of the "spreadsheet culture."

Janvrin, D. & Morrison, J. "Factors Influencing Risks and Outcomes in End-User Development," Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, Vol. II, Kihei, Hawaii, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alomitas, CA, January 1996, pp. 346-355.
Nardi, Bonnie A. & Miller, James R., "Twinkling Lights and Nested Loops: Distributed Problem Solving and Spreadsheet Development," International Journal of Man-Machine Studies (34:1) January 1991, pp. 161-168.

Ethnographic interviews with 11 SS developers. Extensive joint development mixed programming & domain expertise; sometimes other built difficult parts; other times other checked for reasonableness, gave guidance. Considerable evidence of taking care in development; conscious of errors; spend considerable time debugging. Reasonableness, cross-footings, spot-checking of values, examining formulas. Gave one example of comprehensive code inspectionóthe subject was taking over a SS developed by another.

Nardi, Bonnie A. & Miller, James R., "An Ethnographic Study of Distributed Problem Solving in Spreadsheet Development," CSCW 90 Proceedings, October 1990, pp. 197-208.

Another report on the study described above.

Schultheis, R. & Sumner, M. "The Relationship of Application Risks to Application Controls: A Study of Microcomputer-Based Spreadsheet Applications," Journal of End User Computing (6:2) Spring 1994, pp. 11-18.
The study looked at 11 risks, 9 controls. Controls had multiple items. Respondent could select several items in a control; each counted. 54% of developers formally trained. 31% of SSs had design reviewed by other. 16% audited by auditor or consultant. 16% tested with data with known outputs; 62% checked with calculator. Very little documentation: 25% none, 25% detailed enough to list purpose, most just sample audit. Higher-risk SSs used more controls (6.7/11) than did lower-risk SSs (4.6/11). Higher used more verification of logic, training, and documentation. But use of controls was low in both cases.
Speier, C. & Brown, C. V. "Perceived Risks and Management Actions: Differences in End-User Application Development Across Functional Groups," Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Vol. II, Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, Kihei, Hawaii, January 1996, pp. 374-384.

Study of overall EUC, not just SS. Interviewed managers of 3 departments in a firm: financial operations, marketing and sales. Questionnaire interviews of 22 end users. Company has few corporate rules beyond backup, which is not enforced. Managers differed in concerns. End users differed by department in awareness of norms and perceptions of benefits. Mostly unwritten norms. Underscores importance of department perspective.

Wilkins, Marilyn, "Spreadsheet Usage of Office Systems and Other Business Graduates," Office Systems Research Journal, Spring 1992, pp. 33-40.

Copyright Panko 1997-2005.