Managers and Their Information Needs
Information is needed for decision making at all levels of management.
Managers at different organizational levels make differenct types of decisions, control different types of processes, and have different information needs.
Three classical levels of management include:
Titles have different values in different organizations.
For example, a vice president at a financial organization may not even be a middle manager.
Strategic managers operate in a highly unstructured environment and use EISs, and DSSs.
Historically, the most common (organizational structure) was a generic pyramid shaped hierarchy with a few leaders at the top and an increasing number of workers at each subsequent lower managerial and operational level.
The pyramid is getting flatter.
In 1993 in the U.S. alone, some 450,000 middle managers lost their jobs.
Some small, knowledge-intensive companies have adopted a matrix pattern as their organizational structure, with no one leader and leadership distributed among many more people, varying by project, product, or discipline.
Matrix management includes having multiple bosses.
Technology aside, the politics of information within an organization can undermine optimal business decision making if it is not taken into account when developing systems, and deciding how people will support these systems.
Sub-optimization -- the optimization of an individual or a department at the expense of the larger organization.
In many organizations, clerical and shop floor workers make up the largest group of workers.
Operational managers are responsible for daily operations. They make decisions concerning a narrow time span about the deployment of small groups of clerical and/or shop floor workers.
Middle, or tatical, managers receive strategic decisions from above as general directives. Using those directives as guidelines, they develop tatics to meet those strategic directives. That is, they make decisions concerning how and when specific resources will be utilized. Usually, a middle manager will be responsible for several operational managers.
Responsible for finding the best operational measures to accomplish their superiors' strategic decisions.
While a tactical decision concentrates on how to do something, a strategic decision focuses on what to do.
Strategic managers, and directors, that make decisions that affect the entire organization, or large parts of it, and leave an impact in the long run.
People in different management levels have different information needs.
Most of the information that managers require is used to make decisions.
The decision making process of middle managers and above is less structured than that of operational managers;
In general, strategic decisions have no proven methods for selecting a course of action that guarantees a predicted outcome.
Data Characteristics determine where and how the data will be used.
Data range refers to the amount of data from which information is extracted&
Time span refers to how long a period of time the data covers.
Level of detail is the degree to which the information generated is specific.
Internally or externally sourced.
Structured data are numbers and facts that can be conveniently stored and retrieved in an orderly manner.
Unstructured data are drawn from meeting discussions, private conversations, textual documents, graphics, graphical representations, and other non uniform sources.
The higher the manager, the less structured the decisions that a manager faces.
Managers plan and control.
Planning' s main ingredients include:
Budget is the most important part of business planning.
The plan is the basis for operations. Control is the activities that ensure operations according to the plan.
Both planning and control involve decision making.
A decision is a commitment to act.
Most of a manager's day is devoted to meetings that produce decisions.
Managers control actual activities by comparing actual results to expected results.
When discrepancies between the planned and actual performance are found, managers determine the reason for the variance.
Management by exception is where a manager only reviews those areas that have deviated from the expected.
Characteristics of Effective Information
Certain types of information can be grasped more quickly when presented graphically.
Many applications allow the user to select how the data will be selected.
Three dimensional graphics are an option now as well.
Dynamic representation usually includes moving images that represent either the speed or direction of what is happening in real time.
Type of Information Systems
POS and other TPS . Clerical and Shop Floor Workers
TPSs are interfaced with applications that provide clerical workers and operational managers with upt to date information.
They are also used by operational managers to generate ad hoc reports.
Transaction Processing Systems --- Operational
Decision Support and Expert Systems . Middle Managers
Executive Information Systems (EIS) . Provide managers with timely and concise information about the performance of their organization.
Online analytical processing (OLAP) applications are designed to let a user view a cube of tables showing relationships among several related variables.
Politics is the decision to act in the interest of the individual decision maker rather than in the interest of the organization as a whole
Political tactics include the insistence on adding features that will afford the manager more control, trying to derail the development effort by not cooperating with the developers, and promotion of alternatives to the system.
Enterprise wide systems are shared by many business units and managerial levels.