Small business is seen by many developing countries as an important means by which they will advance. In Papua New Guinea, small business development has high priority and is vigorously pursued by agencies of the central government. Lack of management and accounting expertise amongst national entrepreneurs has required these agencies to seek new ways of supporting their enterprises. In the more developed countries, small business has been turning to computer use more and more during the seventies and computer systems were investigated in Papua New Guinea to see whether they could be applied to this problem of lack of expertise. The experiences of existing expatriate commercial computer users in the early seventies, however, were discouraging and computer methods were not applied to the problem. Beginning at this time, the author researched the possible reasons for these experiences with a view to defining acceptable performance criteria for a new system which would meet the needs of Papua New Guinean small businessmen generally. As the research progressed it became clear that the major problem was not so much technical as one lying in the area of man‐machine communication.
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