Suggests that, though user involvement in the design and implementation of expert systems (ES) is generally encouraged in the literature, the incidence of successful user participation continues to be low. Draws on research carried out for a large British company on four expert systems projects, to illustrate the problems, and penalties, of not involving the users. Company culture has a bearing on why participation is difficult. Penalties of not involving the users include non‐implementation and poor interfaces. Suggested advantages of involving users are that happy users are the best advertisement for future systems and that users can make useful suggestions to the designers. Concludes that the concept of participation needs a strong push so that it will become a familiar part of management.
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