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CS507 - Information Systems - Lecture Handout 02

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Areas Covered

  • Introduction to Organization and
  • Role of Information in Organization, Management & Strategy

What is Organization?

Basically, an organization is group of people organized to accomplish an overall goal. Organizations can range in size from two people to hundreds of thousands -- some people might argue that organizations are even larger. Organizations have an overall goal (or mission) which is usually subdivided into various other goals (often called strategic goals) that, in total, will achieve the overall goal of the organization.

A structure through which individuals cooperate systematically to conduct business. It is a collection of people working under predefined rules and regulations to obtain a set of objectives. It is a stable formal social structure. It takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs.

"Organization" is understood as planned, coordinated and purposeful action of human beings in order to construct or compile a common tangible or intangible product or service. This action is usually framed by formal membership and form (institutional rules). Organization is a permanent arrangement of elements. These elements and their actions are determined by rules so that a certain task can be fulfilled through a system of coordinated division of labour.

An organization is defined by the elements that are part of it (who belongs to the organization and who does not?), its communication (which elements communicate and how do they communicate?), and its rules of action compared to outside events (what causes an organization to act as a collective actor?).

By coordinated and planned cooperation of the elements, the organization is able to solve tasks that lie beyond the abilities of the single elements. The price paid by the elements is the limitation of the degrees of freedom of the elements.

Need for Organization

As the volume of business expands, the need for disciplined approach to managing operations is required.
This results in formulation of organizational structures. The organizational structures are formulated in order to efficiently manage the business operations. This makes the structures a relative term to explain and define. Organizations have the freedom to chose / evolve the structures which best fits the management needs.

An organization’s primary aim is to achieve the objective that it lays down for itself and in pursuance of which various actions are undertaken. Such objective could be to generate profits or specific socioeconomic cultural objectives. What ever the objectives are, these activities interrelate and their occurrence generate a series of events which helps organization achieve its goal. The regular and timely recording of information is critical to the proper management of business operations.

Data vs. Information

Data represents facts of any kind. In the process of recording important particulars of any event, it is the discretion of the management, what should be recorded and how it should be presented. However when this data is processed or reformatted, it becomes information. Information is a subset of data which adds to the knowledge.

Information should be relevant so that it is valuable for the recipient. Although the processed form of information is more valuable than the raw form of data, still all information is not of value for every one.
Distributing common information to every one may result in waste of time and confusion. Irrelevant information has no value.

Information Quality Checklist

The information can also be ranked in accordance with the qualities it has in it. The experts have devised certain criteria to evaluate the quality of information. These are stated below:

  1. Is it clear who has written the information?
  2. Who is the author? Is it an organization or an individual person? Is there a way to contact them?
  3. Are the aims of the information clear?
  4. What are the aims of the information? What is it for? Who is it for?
    Does the information achieve its aims?
  5. Does the information do what it says it will?
    Is the information relevant to me?

List five things to find out from the information.

  • .......................................................................................
  • .......................................................................................
  • .......................................................................................
  • .......................................................................................
  • .......................................................................................
  1. Can the information be checked?
    Is the author qualified to write the information? Has anyone else said the same things anywhere else? Is there any way of checking this out? If the information is new, is there any proof?
  2. When was the information produced?
    Is it up to date? Can you check to see if the information is up to date?
  3. Is the information biased in any way?
    Has the information got a particular reason for wanting you to think in a particular way?
    Is it a balanced view or does it only give one opinion?
  4. Does the information tell you about choices open to you?
    Does the information give you advice? Does it tell you about other ideas?

Organization & Information Requirements

Organizations have various attributes which distinguish them from each other. No two organizations are similar in all respects. There have to have certain distinctive lines keeping them unique from each other.
Information requirements keep varying in accordance with

  • Size of organization
  • Its structure
  • The Culture it follows
  • Decision Making Structures
  • Interested parties both internal and external

An organization should consider the above mentioned requirements while devising a system which tailors for specific information needs.