• Hans Olav Omland University of Agder
  • Devinder Thapa University of Agder


With the advancement of technology organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on successful deployment of information systems. To deal with the IS complexity, developers require competence. However, the question “What is competence?” is still a topic of further deliberation in general, and in IS field in particular. Contemporary research critiques the concept of competence as confined to a narrow and instrumental view, for instance just as application of skills and knowledge. The narrow and instrumental view of competence does not give full attention to the information systems developers nor to the situations where the competence is enacted. To enhance the understanding of competence, we critically analyze the prevailing concepts of competence in general and in particular within the IS field. Based on the results of our analysis we propose an expansion of the concept competence to include ‘competence-as-skilful-coping’ based on a holistic perspective where developers ‘being-in-the-world’ act appropriately in unique and complex contexts. Such contexts may involve the developers of the systems, the users of IS-es to be developed, related information systems, manual routines, and the technology used. We present and analyze a case searching for the suggested concept of ‘competence-as-skilful-coping’.