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The stage hypothesis and the s-curve: some contradictory evidence

By Henry C. Lucas, Jimmy A. Sutton

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 20 No. 4, Pages 254-259

This paper presents the results of a study testing the s-shaped budget curve of Nolan's stage model of computer development in an organization. Research on the data processing budgets of California counties fails to support the s-shaped curve or the use of budgets as a basis for a stage model. However, the results do not invalidate the concept of a stage model. The analysis suggest an alternative model of budget growth and a separation between models of budgeting growth and growth stages in the development of the computer resource.

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