Aspects of understanding information systems

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Introduction

The readings of Markus and Robey's theory on Organisational validity added some of the aspects of understanding Information Systems (1983). There are some specialised appeals made by Markus and Robey about the application of Information Systems and these were further enhanced by the later management and technological scientists and scholars. Though the issues dealt by Markus and Robey were in 1983, yet their contribution has been well recognised by the modern IS developers and that makes their approach a vital content in the developmental structure of IS.

In this paper the idea is to understand the basic characteristic features determined by Markus and Robey for the application of IS and to discover how these ideas were developed by the modern IS developers. There are various theoretical approaches and literary contexts shared in this paper to discover the relevance and importance of the Markus and Robey's theory. It will be also speculated in terms of futuristic approach and will try to find out the domains that can be used for the improvement of organisations from local to national to international floor.

Approach of Markus and Robey

Markus and Robey's theory on Organisational validity has been established after understanding and investigating over various case studies and research based speculations. Since the persuasion of this theory was initiated in 1983, the shape of management information system was not that strong. It can be well idealised that the persuasion of Markus and Robey led many scholar explore the domains of management information system for an improved structure of organisational persuasions and dealings. It was their methodological approach that they discovered four specific domains of understanding the utility of IS in an organisation. These four approaches were

  • User-System Fit
  • Organisation structure-System Fit
  • Power distribution-System Fit
  • Environment-System Fit

Markus and Robey advocated the application of Information system under the key term 'fit'. This word represented the idea of interrelating information design to the organisational structure. It is an effort to derive the connectivity between the features of IS to suit the organisational needs. In serving the needs IS gets considered under the four dimensional 'Fit'/s. Markus and Robey identified these 'fit'/s in relation to the user, the organisation structure, power distribution and the environment. The context of the user is related to the levels of efficiencies and the knowledge of the employee or the member of the organisation. Management of information system has been analysed for understanding the organisational structure and the expansion of the organisation. They also laid importance to the distribution of power, making senior management more responsible in the hierarchy structure. Lastly, it is the environment that needs to get fit into the IS for better persuasions. This environment refers to the working environment of the organisation and the mode of developing the executive activities. In every aspect these scholars made the point of being interrelated and gaining interconnectivity between IS and all those modes where IS gets applicable. As stated y them, proficiencies and appropriate knowledge for the persuasion of proficiencies have been the key to the success of IS in an organisation. However, they also suggested that the utility of organisational validity does not necessarily come from the normative application of the entire concept. They also declared that there cannot be any 'simple prescription' or any kind of 'effective system' to make IS a success in the organisational domain. Every effort needs to be practically authenticated and though hypothetically correct the applications should be well prepared for adverse results also.

To identify the conditions that can foster potentially invalid systems, Markus and Robey explored the relevant practical factors by examining the degree of 'fit' among IS and the individual cognitive and motivational structure. It has been also examined in reference to organisational structure, power distribution and organisation-environment interface. The derivations were based on three specific conditions. These conditions are

  • Individual attributes
  • Organisational structure and
  • Societal factor

Their analyses show that the cognitive orientation of the designers along with their respective 'interorganisational affiliations' with the target users can forward some assistance to the structural application of IS in an organisation. A reference to society and societal interrogations were made a part of the research analysis. The interconnectivity to social structure is also forwarded for the improvement of IS sector to the organisation. It has been thus realised that application of IS, is also related to the societal factor and it cannot be ignored on the ground of individual and organisational connectivity.

Management Information System- A Planned System

Information system in an organisation is always a systematic and much planned system. Since it deals with the functionalities of collecting, then processing, followed by storing and further disseminating of data, it demands for an absolute kind infrastructural format. Every data in IS gets transformed into in the form of absolute information and that gets carried out through the hierarchical functions of managerial portfolios. The exchange and distribution of IS, is always done through documented report that is inclusive of activities that are very much pre-planned and are analytically executed to reach the objectives of the organisation. According to the declarations made by Philip Kotler

A marketing information system consists of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers. (2006)

Information systems are actually inclusive of systematic persuasion of informational data without any intention to provide decision making grounds. However these are the data that are collected by the management and analysed in terms of declaring and organisational decision. Though IS does not deals with the decision making process of an individual or an organisation, yet it provides the materials and the resources for accurate kind of decisions. This is the reason that Kotler (2006) in particular recommended for information technology management and tried to widen the scopes of information system in dealing organisational demands. That area of study should not be confused with computer science. IT service management is a practitioner-focused discipline. This point of view has been further supported by Lee (2001 pp. iii-vii). Lee in particular stated about the issues related to ethical notion and societal structure. For him IS, is an activity that is technological in format, yet needs to get operated by keeping organisational, and especially by keeping humanitarian grounds of performances and preferences. According to Lee, "...research in the information systems field examines more than the technological system, or just the social system, or even the two side by side; in addition, it investigates the phenomena that emerge when the two interact. (2001, iii-vii)

Schaik, (1985) was one of such scholars, who were very much impressed by the persuasions led by Markus and Robey. He explored the implementation of IS in business domains and analyses it with the view of achieving relevant success. He considered the specialised notions of connecting the participation of the individual in an organisation with the realisation for growth. For his the effort of the individual should be more planned and systematically structured. His analysis declared IS as the resource through which the organisation can well gain success in long term business formulations. It has been realised that to estimate the Markus and Robey's theory in the understanding of IS, it is important to notice their persuasion of intelligent system design that was supposed to work the way Schaik and Lee demonstrate it to be. The theme to achieve organisational validity surely demanded for a more intelligent design of IS that can deal equally to the stress of the global persuasions and the ethical and societal contexts of the human beings added to its functionalities.

Management Information System- Expanded Portfolios

Information systems are distinctively different from the modes of information technology. The difference can be detected when the information system gets an information technology component and thereby gets the scope to interact with the applicable process components (Bemelmans, 1984). Information System actually consists of four different parts. These parts are inclusive of

  • procedures,
  • software,
  • hardware, and
  • information/data

Information systems are developed into various types. These types are usually termed as office systems, transaction processing systems, knowledge management systems, decision support systems, office information systems and database management system. Primitively, the structural constructions of information systems are based on relevant information conveyed through manual dealings (Börje, 1973). According to Rockart et al. (1996) these technologies are very typically designed to serve the purpose of enabling humans to get into the performance tasks. In this process the human brain seemed to fail in dealing with widespread tasks. To suit the means of handling large information and collected data IS was developed. Its application in an organisation deals with the tactics to perform complex and complicated calculations, handling large amounts of diversified information and to control many additional and simultaneous processes. With its multidimensional capabilities IS was made a part of organisational system on global basis. For all the executives IS connected the scope for exchanging resources and various informational data. This in fact is the basis for making the world a small place.

Rockart et al. (1996) further added that information technologies with a faster pace became integral and malleable resource that has been ever made available to executives all over the world. There are new positions created by many companies to handle these particular aspects of the organisations. These positions are identified as Chief Information Officer (that is CIO) who sits with the CEO and keep track of upgrade information. Positions like Chief Financial Officer (that is CFO), Chief Operating Officer (that is COO) and Chief Technical Officer (that is CTO) were some of the expanded versions of organisational management structure under the influence of IS.

These expansions were very vital to bring in more systematic and administrative structure with an organisation and that has been well achieved through the persuasion of IS in employees and other lower level management positions. In this reference the distribution of power system fit forwarded by Markus and Robey gets considered as a kind of prediction to the whole IS persuasion in organisational structure. Markus and Robey in their search for organisational validity declared an aspect of power distribution to the attainment of systematic hierarchical distribution of the organisation at senior management levels. This is a specific domain that was realised and identified much later by Rockart et al. (1996).

Management Information System- Computer Security

Trcek, (2007 pp. 113-118) declared that with the development of these portfolios and expanded exchange of information and data on worldwide basis, there was a severe demand for computer security. This security is basically meant for information system and often gets described through some specified components. These components are inclusive of Repositories, Interfaces and Channels and the user, that is the human operator must get proper training for the using these components. Trcek was very particular about the professional training of the employees in an organisation and stated that is the employees are not well trained then the security component will not function well. This can create havoc in the organisational system and can lead to many document disclosures. In order to meet the security demands of IS the selection of professionals and provisions for in house training units are highly recommended. Since the growth of an organisation depends a lot on the exchange of information and data in a secured manner and failure of the same can create endless management and organisational chaos. Emphasis over Repositories, Interfaces and Channels has been stronger, since these are the core links through which the security of a computer can be destroyed. Less or confused understanding of Repositories, Interfaces and Channels can create threat to organisational validity and thus should be always kept under proper speculations for long term persuasions. It is here that the declaration of Markus and Robey seems to be very appropriate. As in their theory they have declared that utility of organisational validity is not from the normative application of the particular concept and thus in terms of security normative application of security measures is not enough to meet the wide ranged distributed information system.

Management Information System- Structured Distribution

Followed by the well defined structure of Information system in organisational set up in 1983, there were many resources discovered by the contemporary and the modern scholars. These new approaches were basically trying to establish the structured distributional form of IS in an organisation. The contemporary approaches are initiated by Korpela, Montealegre, and Poulymenakou (Eds.) (2003) on global context. These scholars came up with the content of looking the Markus and Robey theory on global infrastructure. They realised that the implementation of IS, is possible when there is the chance to change the format of the organisation. However to attain this change the organisation must have proper knowledge and professionals to support doubts and risks related to this implementation. The context of society forwarded by Markus and Robey has been led special emphasis in this contemporary persuasion of IS. The role of social theory in the ICT utilization has been considered by these scholars. Since there are innumerable challenges faced by the companies in modern world, the application of IS in the form of ICT is considered to be the right choice to get hold of these challenges. The implementations are considered in reference to the international policies, diversified organizational structures and issues discussing social dynamics. The entire approach of ICT is to specialise IS to increase the awareness of international competitiveness. The approaches are considering diversified perspectives and accordingly the IS are made applicable. Importance to global working environment and strategic plans are the matters used for the establishment of IS.

Markus and Robey's theory declared for intercommunication in an organisation. Taking this thematic approach on wider perspective, Te, Carey, and Zhang (2006) analysed the perspective of human and computer interactions. Their research was to develop effective IS in an organisational structure and to achieve it they discovered the interaction levels and formats between human and computers. Their approaches were much developed and the functionalities of upgrade applications were made integral part of this communicative and motivational structure. These authors initiated the process of human computer interactions in terms of idealising modern organisational hierarchy. Under their supervision IS can well deal with the dispersion of all the information via the resource of network. The mode of communication through e-mail and utilisation of groupware were some of the basics of modern organisational hierarchy. To bring in a convenient and transparent relation between the authority and professional work of managers, Te, Carey, and Zhang suggested for alternate modes. The provisions for promoting the database for sharing of information is one of the features encouraged these authors to meet the communicative levels in organisations.

From the diagram it can be well identified that the traditional hierarchy of management has been shifted by levels of transparencies by IS. To reach the top level management there is no more any need for going through middle management groups. By IS, even the workers get the accessibility of interact directly to the top management. The organisational structure gets more systematically operated and without any trace of doubts at any level. In this context as declared by O'Brien, (1999) there was an emergence for new ways to monitor all the employees from the top level and that was achieved through the implementation of IS in organisational structure. The approach however needs to be well equipped by the right selection and appropriate training facilities for all the employees. This will eventually set very professional and clear expectations in the employees and they will not misuse the organisational structure. As the organisation gets well settled through this format, it becomes convenient to deal with customer satisfactions, in order to determine performance and futuristic strategies to be adopted by the organisation.

Laudon and Laudon (1988) had an idea about the process of distributing information in the form of data in organisation. The process was initiated in order to obtain a set of formal and structured business systems that needs to be designed to yield information for the people in an organization. In this process the importance of computers was considered as the most typical component and is applications were its base. With the development of hardware and software facilities there were supplements added to the entire communication and information system through MIS. This was the system that was made applicable to pull information from varied database formulations.

It was under the distributive structure that interactive and non-routine demands for decision-making proceedings were adopted. For this application the model of mathematical representation from real-life system has been made integral to the entire system. This leads to the simulation system by means of using computer model. The simulation can further reach a determined decision about any kind of real-life conflict or situation. Sloan (2008) emphasised over decision support system for top-level managers in particular. This preference has been well inspired by the Markus and Robey's theoretical persuasion 'power distribution-system fit' in the contemporary formulation.

Conclusion

The conclusion can determine that in spite of ambiguous situations, Markus and Robey strongly believed that the value of the concept, that is to 'fit'; lies in its use as a 'descriptor of organisation-system interaction'. The approach related to interaction has been made applicable through the communicative and derivative structure of infrastructure followed within the organisation. In order to achieve success, Markus and Robey recommends intelligent design choices added by the persuasion of the same through efficiencies among the management and the employees of the organisation.

It is the Markus and Robey's theory that added the importance of decision making process and its effect over the organisation. It also provided the IS into organisational structure with overall vision to estimate company goals and long-term objectives. The transformation of modern organizational structure has been achieved by the initiation of this particular theory and its importance of providing equality to the staff management and labour relations domains. It was this theory that also focused on crisis management proceedings and the way to control of overall organisational operations.

References

  • O'Brien, J (1999). Management Information Systems - Managing Information Technology in the Internetworked Enterprise. Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill. ISBN0071123733.
  • Bemelmans, T.M.A. (1984) Beyond Productivity: Information Systems Development for Organizational Effectiveness - International Conference Proceedings. Elsevier Science Ltd
  • Börje Langefors (1973). Theoretical Analysis of Information Systems. Auerbach. ISBN 0-87769-151-7.
  • Korpela, Mikko; Montealegre, Ramiro; Poulymenakou, Angeliki (Eds.) (2003) Organizational Information Systems in the Context of Globalization. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 126. 2003, 480 p., ISBN: 978-1-4020-7488-2
  • Kotler, Philip; Keller, Kevin Lane (2006). Marketing Management (12 ed.). Pearson Education.
  • Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J.P. Management Information Systems, (2nd edition), Macmillan, 1988.
  • Lee, Allen S. (2001). "Editor's Comments". MIS Quarterly 25 (1): iii-vii.
  • Markus, Lynne M. and Robey, Daniel (1983) The Organizational Validity of Management Information Systems. Human Relations, Vol. 36, No. 3, 203-225 (1983) DOI: 10.1177/001872678303600301
  • ManagementInformation Systems:Classic Models and New Approaches chapter 17. n.d www.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~kmchao/bcc03spr/Chap17.ppt [retrieved on 30th Nov. 2009]
  • Rockart, John F. Earl, Michael J. and Ross Jeanne W. (1996) Eight imperatives for the new IT organization. Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Management of Technology and Innovation. Sloan Management review.
  • Schaik, Edward A.Van (1985) Management System for the Information Business: Organizational Analysis. Prentice Hall
  • Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (2008). Information Systems. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Accessdate June 2, 2008.
  • Te, Eni D. Carey, J. Zhang, P. (2006) Human Computer Interaction: Developing Effective Organizational Information Systems Book Description. John Wiley & Sons
  • Trcek, D., Trobec, R., Pavesic, N., & Tasic, J.F. (2007). Information systems security and human behaviour. Behaviour & Information Technology, 26(2), 113-118

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