Information is one of the most important contentions of the managers in the modern world. Various technological developments have taken place to help the managers in the processing of information. The result has been the advent of Management Information System (MIS) and other developments. The article by Russell L. Ackoff titled “Management Misinformation Systems” published in Management Sciences is one of the classic examples in this regard. The paper will deal in the article by Ackoff on the contentions of the management and the various myths.(Ackoff, n.d.)
MANAGEMENT NEEDS MORE INFORMATION
It has been stated from the older days that the success of the management depends to a large extent on the supply of information. However, according to Ackoff the failure of the management in the modern world depends a lot on the overburdening of irrelevant information. The irrelevant information wastes the time of the managers. An example carried out by Ackoff and his associates stated that it is possible to filter out the unnecessary information from the system. (Ackoff, n.d.)
The job of the management system is to take control of the whole business. It is not possible to take care of all the information. In most of the cases, the information supplied is irrelevant. Therefore, the need to filter out the information is necessary. This has been responsible for the growth of the MIS. However, the filtering of the information has not been cultivated to a great extent in the case of the MIS. The business world is obsessed with the growth of information. However, it has to be stated that overdose of information burdens the management to take the right decision and decrease the ability of the management to think freely. (Galliers & Leidner, 2004: 11)
MANAGERS NEED THE INFORMATION THEY WANT
In the case of the MIS, the system asks the managers the type of information they want. According to Ackoff, the managers must be well educated and must know the relevancy of the information. In most of the cases the managers are not qualified to do so.
This is true to a large extent because the advent of the information systems have made the managers fully dependent on the information. One of the most key ingredients of the managers is to make decisions and for this they must be open to new ideas. In the modern business environment, the managers have stereotyped the decision making process. The growth of the information technology has resulted in the decrease of the thinking prowess of the managers. (Decision making for managers, n.d.)
GIVING MANAGERS THE INFORMATION THEY NEED IMPROVES THEIR DECISION MAKING
This is another well constructed myth. The managers tend to do well when they are given old problems not dealing with real life cases. However, in the real life examples, they tend to suffer. If the managers would have performed the same way as in the case of the theoretical problems, cases like Enron would not have happened. In the case of Enron, the accounting information was the main problem. Several papers were written about the problems in the case of the deficiency of the accuracy in the accounting department. However, the managers in Enron did not pay any heed. Enron scandal at a glance, 22 August, 2002)
MORE COMMUNICATION MEANS BETTER PERFORMANCE
This can never be possible in the case of the modern day business environment. The modern day business arena is highly competitive. In the case of a single company also there is a system of divisions and transfer pricing. Each department transfers goods to the other at a price. In this scenario, it is not possible that the competing divisions or companies would be communicating with each other in the case of strategies and pricing.
MANAGERS NEED ONLY TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE AN INFORMATION SYSTEM
Managers are normal human beings like most of us. They do not know everything in the system and they have to learn throughout their whole life. In the case of MIS, the managers must know every other thing of the system. In the case of the MIS, the technology may change at the drop of the hat and they must be updated about the changes. Otherwise, the performance of the managers and the businesses will be hampered.
The managers must learn to use the MIS like any other people in the organization. It is not possible the managers will know everything. They only know when they practice it. It has to be remembered that it requires heavy practice to be adept in the decision making process and any wrong input can catapult into a major crisis for the company.
- Ackoff, R. (n.d.). Management Misinformations System. Management Sciences.
- Galliers, R and Leidner, D. (2004). Strategic Infoemation Management. Oxford. Butterworth- Heinemann.
- Decision making for managers. (n.d.) . Thinking Managers. Retrieved on 9th July, 2010 at: http://www.thinkingmanagers.com/business-management/decision-making.php
- Enron scandal at a glance. (22 August, 2002). BBC News. Retrieved on 9th July, 2010 at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1780075.stm