CHAPTER 1 1. Distinguish between a computer, a computer program, and an information system. What is the difference between data and information? The computer is one physical part of the information system. The program is what operates the computer. An information system is the physical system including computers and networks, software (programs), people who operate the system, and the procedures for operating the system. Data is the basic raw element of facts, information is the processed data that is useful and meaningful to people. . What activities convert raw data to usable information in information systems? What is their relationship to feedback? Input captures raw data, processing converts the input into more meaningful form and output transfers the processed information to people or activities where it will be used. Some of the output will be used as feedback that will be used to evaluate the data that was input and to correct any problems found. 3. What is information systems literacy?
Information systems literacy is a broad-based understanding of information systems — as opposed to computer literacy which is limited to understanding computers. Information systems literacy includes an understanding of the organization and management dimensions of information systems as well as the technology dimensions. 4. What are the organization, management and technology dimensions of information systems? Organization: Information systems are a part of organizations, and in some cases (such as credit card companies and financial market information services) they are the organization.
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Information systems will have imbedded within them the SOPs and the culture of an organization. Management: Information systems supply tools and information needed by managers to allocate, coordinate and monitor their work, make decisions, create new products and services and make longrange strategic decisions. Technology: Management uses information systems technology (hardware, software, storage and telecommunications) to carry out their functions. It is the glue that holds the organization together. . Distinguish between a behavioral and technical approach to information systems in terms of the questions asked and the answers provided. A behavioral approach to information systems focuses on questions such as behavioral problems of system utilization, implementation and system design, social and organizational impacts of information systems, political impacts of information systems, individual responses to information systems, and cognitive models of human reasoning.
Solutions to problems created by information technology are primarily changes in attitudes, managment, organization policy, and behavior. A technical approach to information systems emphasizes mathematically based, normative models to study information systems and the physical technology and formal capabilities of information systems. Solutions to problems deal with improvements in computer hardware, methods of computation, methods of efficient data storage and access, software quality assurance, application of “normative” models of management, and operations research models. . What major disciplines contribute to an understanding of information systems? The major disciplines that have contributed to an understanding of information systems from a technical standpoint are computer science, management science, operations research, and the more technical aspects of management information systems (MIS). The major disciplines approaching information systems from a behavioral standpoint are sociology, political science, psychology, and the more behavioral aspects of MIS. 7. Why should managers study information systems?
Managers should study information systems because contemporary information systems directly affect managerial decision making, planning, and the nature of products and services of the organization. Information systems are no longer limited to technical operational issues. 8. What is the relationship between an organization and its information systems? How is this relationship changing over time? Information systems are increasingly tied to the organization’s business strategy, rules and procedures. A change in strategy, rules or procedures requires changes in software, hardware, databases, and telecommunications, and vice-versa.
An organization’s present and future accomplishments depend in many respects on what its systems will permit it to do. Whereas early information systems addressed primarily technical or operational issues, contemporary information systems are integral to the management and strategic foals of the firm. Building systems today affects a much larger part of the organization itself — its products, objectives and structure. More and more business activities at all levels involve the use of information systems. 9. What is the Internet?
How has it changed the role played by information systems in organizations? The Internet is an international network of over 100,000 public and private networks used to exchange information or perform business transactions. The Internet has changed the role of information systems by allowing the separation of work from location through the virtual organization. Networks allow the flattening of organizations because line workers can make decisions formerly made by managers, increase the flexibility of organizations (see Table 1. 4), electronic commerce, and reorganize work flows. 0. What is the relationship between the network revolution and electronic commerce? Without the electronic linkage of buyers and sellers through networks and the Internet, there would be no way to transmit the many transactions of the electronic market. Otherwise, buyers and sellers would have to depend on paper transactions with their time delays and inaccuracies. 11. Describe some of the major changes that information systems are bringing to organizations. The flattening of organizations is probably one that students will cite, particularly with the concern over downsizing.
The parallel increase in information and in the decision power of line workers (empowerment), and their corresponding increase in work satisfaction, is often missed in media reports of downsizing. The flexibility of organizations in operations, for example, custom manufacturing and in linking customers and suppliers (thus reducing order time) are some of the major changes. 12. How are information systems changing the management process? Managers can have more information quicker. Therefore, they can respond quickly to changes in the market for product or in production conditions.
With the increased information available, managers can more easily make plans, forecasts, and decisions. The empowering of the line worker means managers can plan and make decisions at a higher level, that is, they can think more strategically. 13. What do we mean by the information architecture of the organization? The information architecture of the organization is the particular form which information technology assumes in an organization to achieve selected goals or functions. Aspects of information architecture re whether hardware, databases, and specific applications are, or should be, centralized or distributed. A technical approach to information systems emphasizes mathematically based, normative models to study information systems, and the physical technology and formal capabilities of information systems. Solutions to problems deal with improvements in computer hardware, methods of computation, methods of efficient data storage and access, software quality assurance, application of “normative” models of management and operations research models. 4. What are the key management challenges involved in building, operating, and maintaining information systems today? The key management challenges are: The strategic business challenge: How can businesses use information technology to design organizations that are competitive and effective? The globalization challenge: How can firms understand the systems requirements of a global economic environment? The information architecture challenge: How can organizations develop an information architecture that supports their business goals?
The information systems investment challenge: How can organizations determine the business value of information systems? CHAPTER 2 1. Identify and describe the four levels of the organizational hierarchy. What types of information systems serve each level? Operational-level is the lowest. Knowledge-level systems are next highest in the hierarchy, followed by management-level systems. Strategic-level systems are at the top. Transaction processing systems such as order-tracking, payroll, machine control, sales and marketing are examples of systems (or subsystems) that serve the operational level.
CAD/CAM workstations, Lotus Notes, systems with word processing software, engineering workstations, computer-aided, software engineering workstations, document management systems, spreadsheet and financial planning systems are examples of knowledge work systems and office automation systems that serve the knowledge level. Sales region analysis, cost analysis, production mix and scheduling, budgeting, facility location are examples of decision support systems and management information systems. Many of these systems are programs which students learn in their management cience or quantitative methods courses. Some are based on database management systems. Examples of executive support systems that serve the strategic level are sales trend forecasting, operating plan forecasting, profit planning, and manpower planning. 2. List and briefly describe the major types of systems in organizations. The major types are described in the question above: ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? Transaction processing systems that perform the major lower level work such as order entry, sales management, scheduling, accounting systems.
Office automation systems that support word processing, document management and storage, electronic meeting and planning (calendars). Knowledge work systems that support design and analysis such CAD or data analysis. Decision support systems such as cost analysis systems, pricing analysis. Management information systems such as sales and marketing management systems, inventory control, capital budgeting. ??? Executive support systems such as five-year sales trend, profit planning, strategic planning. 3. What are the five types of TPS in business organizations? What functions do they perform?
Give examples of each. The examples are given in the answer to 2, but let’s quickly reiterate: ??? ??? ??? ??? Sales / marketing systems– sales management, market research, pricing, promotion, new product introduction Manufacturing / production engineering, operations systems–scheduling, purchasing, shipping/receiving, Human resources system–personnel records, benefits, compensation, labor relations, training Industry specialize–university and registration, freight shippers and rates, property managemental and rent (In the computer trade, these are called vertical markets. ) 4.
Describe the functions performed by knowledge work and office automation systems and some typical applications of each. ??? Knowledge work systems help knowledge workers such as engineers, data analysts (Wall Street “rocket scientists” and arbitrageurs), and scientists. CAD systems for design, and engineering workstations are excellent examples. The new Visible Human Body Project is a recent example which may be familiar to students. The kind of things shown on MRIs and CAT scans are other familiar examples. Office automation systems help all those in the office, including knowledge workers and managers, manage office tasks.
Word processing and desktop publishing and presentation programs are prime examples. Some students may be familiar with the document imaging and management systems which have become almost a requirement for TQM and for seeking ISO 9000 certification. ??? 5. What are the characteristics of MIS? How does a MIS differ from a TPS? How does MIS differ from DSS? ??? MIS supports the management level by providing routine summary reports and exceptions reports (e. g. What was our profit per customer? Which students were here in the Fall who did not choose to return in the Spring? Decision support systems provide material for analysis for the solution of semi-structured problems, unique or rapidly changing problems. Typically they provide the ability to do “what if” analysis. DSS uses the data from MIS but is more a “right now” analysis than the long-term structured analysis of MIS. I like to tell students that DSS are the Vegomatic??? of data, “It slices, it dices the data in different directions and angles. ” This flexibility makes them different from MIS, with its structured, planned nature. MIS differs from TPS in that MIS deals with summarized and compressed data from the TPS. ??? 6. What are the characteristics of DSS? How do they differ from an ESS? A DSS provides material for analysis for the solution of semi-structured problems, unique or rapidly changing problems. Typically, DSS provide the ability to do “what if” analysis. ESS support senior managers with unstructured decision-making. They are less analytical than DSS with less use of models such as linear programming or forecasting. 7. What is a strategic information system? What is the difference between a strategic information system and a strategic-level system?
A strategic information system is one that fundamentally changes the goals, operations, products, services or environmental relationships of organizations–in effect, changing the very nature of the firm’s business. These strategic information systems should be distinguished from strategic-level systems which provide long-term planning information to senior executives. Strategic information systems are more far-reaching and deeply rooted, and fundamentally transform the organization itself. 8. Describe appropriate models for analyzing strategy at the business level and the types of strategies that can be used to compete at this level.
An appropriate model at the business level is value chain model. Types of strategies at this level are product differentiation, focused differentiation, and supply chain management. 9. Describe the various ways that information systems can be used to support business-level strategies. Datamining can be used to support searches for customer information. Information systems allow the organization to change products for product differentiation, and can be used to bind customers and suppliers through supply chain management and improved customer response. 10. Describe the role of information systems in supporting strategy at the firm level.
Information systems can enhance the integration of separate unites into a whole (synergy). Also, information systems can allow different business units to share information in the organization’s core competenticies. 11. How can the competitive forces model and network economics be used to identify strategies at the industry level? The competitive forces model says that firms have to enhance the firm’s ability to deal with customers, supplier, and substitute products and services. Standards and networking allow industries to reduce costs and share information.
Networking means that extra participants add much more to gains than they add to costs. Groups or communities of customers or suppliers can be created to tie the group to the organization. 12. How can industry-level strategies be supported by information systems? Information systems can make industry-wide information available on standards or products, such as electrical equipment web sites. Examples are the web sites that support the CORBA standards or Java or data warehousing, www. datawarehouse. com. The Web sites that support Java from Sun Computer are good examples of networking, www. gamelan. com or www. javasoft. com. 13.
Why are strategic information systems difficult to build? Strategic information systems are difficult to build because they entail massive sociotechnical changes within the organization. Organizational boundaries between the firm and its customers and suppliers, and between departments within the organization, must be broken down. New relationships among parts of the company and with customers and suppliers must be redefined. Sometimes entirely new organizational structures may need to be built (as with the Saturn division of General Motors). There may be resistance to such changes because they impact responsibilities and jobs.
Chapter 3 1. What is an organization? How do organizations use information? An organization is a stable, formal social structure that takes resources from the environment and processes these to produce outputs. Organizations use information to produce outputs, but are not designed primarily for processing information. 2. Compare the technical definition of organizations with the behavioral definition. The “technical” definition of an organization focuses on three elements: capital and labor, production and products for consumption. It highlights the formal and stable aspect of organizations.
The “behavioral” definition states that an organization is a collection of rights, privileges, obligations and responsibilities that are delicately balanced over a period of time through conflict and conflict resolution. This definition highlights the people within the organization, their ways of working, their relationships. The behavioral definition is the more “realistic” of the two. Universal characteristics of organizations include: Clear division of labor Hierarchy Explicit rules and procedures Impartial judgments Technical qualifications for positions Maximum organizational efficiency 4.
In what ways can organizations diverge? Organizations can differ in their: Organizational type Environment Goals Power Constituencies Function Leadership Tasks Technology 5. What is meant by a business process? Give two views. Business processes are the ways in which an organizations coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce the valuable products or services. There are two views???the technical-rational and the behavioral. The technical-rational focuses on activities and views business processes as concrete flows of material, information, and knowledge.
The behavioral model focuses on core competencies, management, and leadership, and views to the organization’s ways of coordinating work, information, and knowledge. 6. Describe the five basic kinds of organizational structure. Entrepreneurial structure: a simple structure, usually dominated by a single entrepreneur and managed by a single chief executive office. These are usually young, small firms operating in a fastchanging environment. Machine bureaucracy: the large, classic bureaucracy. It exists in slow changing environments, producing standardized products.
It is dominated by a strategic senior management that centralizes decision authority. It is likely to be organized into functional divisions. Divisionalized bureaucracy: a combination of many machine bureaucracies, each producing a different product or service, and all topped by a central headquarters. It is suited to a slow-changing environment and standardized products. The various divisions tend to operate in different environments. This type of organization is the most common found in Fortune 500 companies. Professional bureaucracy: depends on the knowledge and expertise of professionals.
These organizations are suitable for slow-changing environments and skill sets. They are dominated by department heads and have weak centralized authority. Professionals who have considerable information and authority create the product and service. Law firms, school systems, accounting firms, hospitals and other knowledge-based organizations are typical professional bureaucracies. Adhocracy: this “task force” type of organization must be able to respond to fast changing environments, markets and government contracts. They tend to be innovative and flexible while having sustained power.
They are characterized by large groups of specialists organized into shortlived, multidisciplinary task forces focusing on new products. They have weak central managements that understand little of the technical work. This type of organization is typically found in research organizations, aerospace companies, medical, biomedical, electronic and other high-tech firms. 7. Name the levels of analysis for organizational behavior. The levels of analysis for organizational behavior, and their special considerations, are: ??? ??? ??? Individual and small group level, where information systems apply to a particular job, task or project.
Department and division levels where information systems must deal with particular business functions, products or services. Organization, intercommunication and organizational network levels where the information systems support multiple products services, and goals, and they facilitate alliances and coordination between different organizations or groups of the firm. 8. Name the changing applications of organizational information systems that existed from the 1950s to the 1990s. How has the role of information systems in the organization changed over this time period?
In the 1950s, the predominant IS applications were limited to achieving efficiency in such accounting functions as Payroll, Accounts Payable or General Ledger. In the 1960s, applications emerged for monitoring and controlling in such areas as marketing, manufacturing, cash flow and budgeting. The 1970s saw applications developed for forecasting, planning and simulation. In the 1980s applications emerged that are customized decision-support systems, information systems to support strategic planning, end-user developed systems and applications to manage information as a strategic resource.
In the 1990s information systems are helping to create and disseminate knowledge and information throughout the organization through new knowledge work systems, applications providing companywide access to data and company-wide communications networks. Information systems have played an increasingly central role in the organization, starting from limited accounting functions and progressing toward support of all major business functions, various levels of management decision-making, and strategic objectives. The technical configuration of IS has changed rom “electronic accounting machines” in the Treasurer’s offices to support of major business functions on large centralized mainframes to a complex network of mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers that distribute computing power throughout the organization. 9. Name the three elements in the computer package. How has the role of each element in the organization changed over time? The three elements in the “computer package” are: a formal information systems department. a group of information specialists, consisting of programmers, systems analysts, project leaders, IS managers, and external hardware and software vendors. he information technology itself, both hardware and software. In its early years the information systems department provided primarily technical support to limited accounting functions. As more and more business functions and decision processes have become automated, the systems analysis has become a larger proportion of the staff. The IS group today often acts as a powerful change agent in the organization, suggesting new business strategies and information-based products, and coordinating the development of technology and of planned changes within the organization. The work of information specialists is no longer purely technical.
There is a growing need for systems analysts and business analysts who can understand and translate business problems into information requirements and information systems. The growing complexity and scale of IS activities requires a range of managers who can manage programmers and analysts, projects, physical facilities, telecommunications, office automation groups and computer operations. End-users, who are representatives of departments outside the IS groups that develop applications, play an increasingly large role in design and development of information systems.
The hardware and software will be discussed in later chapters (6 and 7). 10. Describe the two factors that explain why organizations adopt information systems. An environmental model sees organizations adopting information systems to deal with constraints and opportunities posed by the external environment. Environmental constraints inspiring a new information system might include the rising cost of labor and other resources, the competitive action of other organizations, or changes in government regulations.
Opportunities might include new technologies, new sources of capital, the development of new production processes, the demise of a competitor or a new government program. Student examples should vary. An institutional model sees factors internal to an organization as the stimuli for information systems. These include values, norms, or vital strategic interests. An example might be a top management of a corporation deciding that it needs to exercise much stronger control over the inventory process. Student examples should vary. 11.
Describe each of the three economic theories that help explain how information systems affect organizations. What are their limitations? Microeconomic theory views information systems technology as a factor of production that can be freely substituted for labor. Labor historically has a rising cost. Through use of information systems technology, less capital and less labor are required, reducing the need for middle managers and clerical workers. Transaction cost theory is based on the notion that a firm incurs “transaction” costs when it buys on the marketplace rather than making for itself.
Traditionally, firms sought to reduce transaction costs by getting bigger–hiring more employees, vertical and horizontal integration, small-company take- overs. Information technology helps firms lower the cost of market participation (transaction costs) and helps firms shrink in size. Agency theory views the firm as a nexus of contracts among interested individuals. The owner employs agents (employees) to perform work on his or her behalf and delegates some decisionmaking authority to the agents. Agents need constant supervision and management which introduces management costs.
As firms grow, management costs rise. According to this theory, information systems can permit organizations to reduce overall management costs by reducing the costs of acquiring and analyzing information. Economic theories are good at explaining how large numbers of firms act in the marketplace, but they are quite poor at describing or predicting the actual behavior of any one particular real-world firm. 12. Describe each of the behavioral theories that help explain how information systems affect organizations. What are their limitations? Decision and control theory states that the unction of the organization is to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty and risk and under the constraint of bounded rationality. The theory holds that managers never have complete information and knowledge, and they can never examine all alternatives even though they would like to. Organizations are decision-making structures, arranged so as to reduce uncertainty and to ensure survival. Organizations must centralize decision making because they have the information needed to make decisions. Middle management is necessary to gather information, analyze it and pass it up to senior managers.
Information technology could change this rigid structure by lowering the costs of information acquisition and broadening the distribution of information. IT could bring information directly from operating units to senior managers, thereby eliminating middle mangers and their clerical support workers and centralizing decision making further. Alternatively, IT could distribute information to lower-level workers who could then make their own decisions based on their own knowledge and information without management intervention.
Sociological theory focuses on the growth of hierarchical, bureaucratic structures and standard operating procedures as primary coping tools for organizations trying to cope in unstable environments. Organizations hone and refine SOPs until they become extremely efficient. However, organizations find it nearly impossible to change routines when their environment changes. This theory states that information technology has little independent power to transform organizations. Managers are always looking for better ways to implement existing rules and SOPs but will reject IT if it threatens existing routines or subunits.
Over time, IT becomes just another hard-to-change SOP. From this perspective, people and organizations control the impact of systems in their own interests. Change will come about because new organizations form around new technologies, and they are able to incorporate the new technologies in their SOPs. Post-industrial theory states that advanced industrial countries have entered a new kind of postindustrial economy where the service sector dominates and industrial manufacturing is shifted to lowwage countries.
According to this theory, the transformation to a post-industrial society results in authority relying more on knowledge and competence and less on mere formal position. Organizations will flatten because professional workers tend to be self-managing. Decision making should become more decentralized as knowledge and information become more widespread. Information technology should lead to “task force” networked organizations in which groups of professionals come together (face-to-face or electronically) for short periods of time to accomplish a specific task.
Managers are reduced. Organizations will look more like adhocracies. Under this scenario, the work will be business process oriented and IT will contribute to these processes by automating parts of them and making them more efficient. Cultural theories argue that IT must fit into the organization’s culture or they are unlikely to be adopted. Organizations work within basic assumptions that are rarely challenged. Culture only really changes when organizations supporting them die off or when radical fringe groups gain control and shift cultural assumptions.
IT can either threaten or support organizational culture. Political theories divide organizations into specialized subgroups (e. g. marketing, accounting, production). These groups have different values, and they compete for resources, producing competition and conflict. Information systems are the outcome of political competition between organizational subgroups for influence over the policies, procedures and resources of the organization. IT is bound up with organizational politics because it influences access to information which is a key resource in the political competition. 3. Why should the Web change organizational structure or process? The Web enlarges the potential to access information for all market and organizational participants, that is, nearly any information can be available anywhere at any time; it enlarges the scope, depth, and range of information and knowledge storage; it lowers the cost and raises the quality of information and knowledge distribution, that is, it lowers transaction and information acquisition costs. 14. What is the relationship between information systems and organizational culture?
Information systems are very bound up with the values of the organization. A new information system will normally be absorbed into the current culture, or it will be defeated. Information systems normally embody the organization’s values and SOPs. 15. What is the relationship between information systems and organizational politics? Information systems are intimately intertwined with organizational politics, because they help determine the access of specific subgroups and interests in the organization to information, which is a key resource.
An information system can determine who does what to whom, when, where and how in an organization. For example, a major study showed that FBI efforts to develop a national computerized criminal history system were successfully resisted by states that felt this information would give the federal government and the FBI the ability to monitor how states use criminal histories as well as to control the interstate dissemination of criminal history information. 16. Why is there considerable organizational resistance to the introduction of information systems? Describe two models that explain this resistance.
There is considerable organizational resistance to new IS because they change many important organizational dimensions — culture, structure, politics and work. Leavitt puts forth a model that says that changes in technology are absorbed, deflected and defeated by organizational task arrangements, structures and people. In this model the only way to bring about change is to change the technology, tasks, structure and people simultaneously. In a second model, authors speak of the need to “unfreeze” organizations before introducing an innovation, quickly implementing the new system and then “refreezing” or institutionalizing the change. 7. What aspects of organizations addressed by various theories of organizations must be considered when designing an information system? ??? ??? ??? The environment in which the organization must function. The structure of the organization. The culture and politics of the organization. ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? The type of organization. The extent of top management support and understanding. The level of organization at which the system resides. The principal interest groups affected by the system. The kinds of tasks and decisions that the information system is designed to assist. The sentiments nd attitudes of workers who will be using the system. The history of the organization: IT investments, skills, important programs, human resources. Chapter 4 1. Describe the key ideas in the technical-rational school of management. What are the five functions of managers described in the classical model? The organization is seen as a closed, mechanical system. The emphasis is on design of a system and managing for efficiency. The five functions of managers are planning, organizing, coordinating, deciding, and controlling. 2. Describe the key ideas in the behavioral perspective on management.
What characteristics of modern managers does the behavioral school emphasize? The key ideas are that organizations are seen as open, biological organisms like a cell, or animal. The organization’s survival depends on its ability to adapt to the environment and to ensure that all the parts are working together. As part of the effort to be successful, the members of the organization are satisfied and functioning well. The characteristics that are emphasized by the behavioral school are highly fragmented activities, changing activities rapidly, spending time pursuing personal goals, and shying away from sweeping policy decisions. . What specific managerial roles can information systems support? Where are information systems particularly strong in supporting managers, and where are they weak? They can support the liaison roles of managers through e-mail, and the information roles of nerve center, disseminator, spokesman, and resource allocator. They are probably strongest at the nerve center, resource allocator, and spokesman roles. They are particularly weak at figurehead, leader, disturbance handler, and negotiator roles. 4. What did Wrapp and Kotter discover about the way managers make decisions and get things done?
How do these findings compare with those of the classical model? Wrapp closely examined the characteristics of managerial decisions. He found that good managers rarely make forthright policy decisions, preferring to devote more time and energy to operational decisions. Managers tended not to set overall organizational goals but instead provided the organization with a general sense of direction. In this manner mangers maintain visibility without being forced into a policy straightjacket. Kotter’s research describes how managers get their work done.
They devote considerable time to establishing personal agendas and short and long-term goals. They spend a great deal of time building interpersonal networks throughout the organization, cultivating personal contacts and relationships. Managers then use these personal networks to execute their personal agendas. Computerized information systems that facilitate communication and networking help support these activities. Especially useful are electronic mail systems, voice messaging, and teleconferencing facilities.
The chapter also notes the value of systems that provide instant access to management-level information on sales performance and external data such as currency and commodity values. Contrary to the classical description, even senior managers shied away from grand sweeping decisions in favor of “muddling through. ” Contemporary managers prefer to implement plans piece by piece without drawing attention to an explicit comprehensive design. 5. Describe the key ideas of the cognitive perspective on management. The organization is a knowing, sentient organism. Organizations seek to make sense out of their environments and can “learn and “know. The efficiency and effectiveness of the organization depend on its ability to be correct in its learning and judgments, as well as the organization’s ability to gather and disseminate information. The manager’s role is to use his or her ability to properly define the situation of the organization and to build the information and knowledge infrastructure of the organization. 6. Define structured and unstructured decisions. Give three examples of each. Unstructured decisions are non-routine decisions in which the decision maker must provide judgment and evaluations for which there is no standard procedure.
Examples are: Deciding to start a new division, a new marketing campaign, a decision to invest in a country. Structured decisions are repetitive and routine with standard procedures for solutions. Examples would be: product mix, plant scheduling, facility layout. 7. What are the four kinds of computer-based information systems that support decisions? The four kinds of computer-based information systems that support decisions (from lowest to highest) are: Transaction processing systems (TPS Management information systems (MIS) Decision support systems (DSS) Executive support systems (ESS) 8.
What are the four stages of decision making described by Simon? Simon’s four stages of decision making are: ??? ??? ??? ??? Intelligence: identification of problems, where and why. Information systems can deliver a wide variety of detailed information. Design: designing a set of multiple solutions for problems. Small DSS systems operate on simple models that can be developed quickly and operated with little data to support the designers. Choice: choosing among alternatives. Larger DSS can be used to develop more extensive data on a variety of alternatives and use complex analytic models to account for all of the consequences.
Implementation: monitoring the progress of a specific solution. Reporting systems can be used to obtain information on specific solutions. 9. Describe each of the four individual models of decision making. What is the name, basic concept, and dominant inference pattern of each? How would the design of information systems be affected by the model of decision making employed? ??? Rational model???an individual has goals or objectives that have a payoff function allowing the ranking of all possible alternative actions by the action’s additional gain. The individual chooses the highest alternative.
The dominant inference pattern is rational ranking of possible choices according to some objective. Bounded Rationality and Satisficing???individuals are not assumed to be able to comprehend and rank all alternatives. Instead, individuals take the first alternative that moves them toward their goals. Individuals do not make actions that are too different from what they are doing currently. The inference pattern is still “hill climbing” moving toward a goal. Muddling Through???individuals make limited successive comparisons with trade-offs among values.
The dominant inference pattern is limited comparisons, incremental decision making, with agreement among other people as the final test of the decision. ??? ??? Implications for information system design are that decision-making is a very complex process, even when a rational model is assumed. Decision situations are high variable, depending on individual frame of reference, nature of goals and types of decision-makers. Information systems are more useful for supporting the decision-making process than for making decisions in place of people.
Therefore, IS design should be flexible, with many options for handling data, evaluating information and supporting a variety of decision styles and skills. IS should, wherever appropriate, use powerful models for evaluating data with the ability to track many alternatives and consequences. 10. Describe each of the four organizational choice models. How would the design of systems be affected by the choice of model employed? The subsection of 4. 4, Organizational Models of Decision Making summarizes the four “models of organizational decision making. The four models are: 1) Rational model – assumes that human and organizational behavior is based in value-maximizing calculation within certain constraints (profit maximization or expected utility maximization in decision theory). 2) Bureaucratic models – the most important goal is the preservation of the organization, with reduction of uncertainty a major goal. Organizations following this model change incrementally. 3) Political model – what occurs in the organization is the result of power relations and political interest groups. ) Garbage can model – assumes that organizations are not rational, and decisions are accidents. 11. How has the management process changed? What is the role played by information technology? Managers now have to manage entire processes as in the Lantech Window on Organization in Chapter 3. Managers have to treat the knowledge and core competencies of the organization as the key assets. Further, managers have to adapt to current regulatory rules and social mores. Managers are responsible for enabling employees to meet their goals and the organization’s. Information technology allows the reengineering of usiness processes and management of workflow. Information systems allow managers to share information more easily and learn the state of the world more easily. Chapter 8 1. Why is file management important for overall system performance? Information cannot be used effectively if it is stored in a unorganized, inflexible manner. Without proper file management, it may be difficult and even impossible to extract information from an automated system. File management must also be flexible enough to accommodate new pieces of information or to combine different pieces of information in changing ways.
When computer files are poorly managed, poor performance, high costs and minimal flexibility will result. 2. Describe how indexes and key fields enable a program to access specific records in a file. An index, like an index in a book, provides a means of finding a specific record’s storage location. The index is a list of the key field of each record and the address where the record is stored. Key fields provide a means of uniquely identifying records, such as a social security number or a product number. Being unique, the key field is the key to an index table which associates the storage address of each record with its key. . Define and describe the indexed sequential access method and the direct file access method. The indexed sequential access method (ISAM) is a way of storing data records on a physical storage device in sequential order for sequential processing (such as in payroll applications). However, ISAM also allows any specific record to be directly accessed without searching through the file sequentially by using the record’s key field to find its storage address in an index. The direct file access method does not store the records in sequential order, as with ISAM. It uses a key field to determine the location of each record.
However, rather than carrying that location in an index, the location is calculated each time using an algorithm that translates the key field directly into the record’s physical storage address. 4. List and describe some of the problems of the traditional file environment. Data redundancy is the presence of duplicate data in multiple data files. In this situation confusion results because the data can have different meanings in different files. Program-data dependence is the tight relationship between data stored in files and the specific programs required to update and maintain those files.
This dependency is very inefficient, resulting in the need to make changes in many programs when a common piece of data–such as the zip code size–changes. Lack of flexibility refers to the fact that it is very difficult to create new reports from the data when needed. Ad hoc reports are impossible; a new report could require several weeks work by more than one programmer and the creation of intermediate files to combine data from disparate files. Poor security is a problem resulting from the lack of control over the data because it is so widespread.
Sharing of data can be virtually impossible because it is distributed into so many different files around the organization. 5. Define a database and a database management system. A database is a collection of data organized to service many applications efficiently by centralizing the data and minimizing redundant data. A database management system is special software that permits an organization to centralize data, manage it efficiently, and provide access to the stored data by application programs. 6. Name and briefly describe the three components of a DBMS.
The three components of a database management system (DBMS) are: ??? ??? The data definition language which is the formal language used by programmers to specify the content and structure of the database. The data manipulation language, which is used to manipulate the data in the database. It contains commands that permit end-users and programming specialists to extract data from the database to satisfy information requests and develop applications. The data dictionary, which is an automated or manual file that stores definitions of data elements and data characteristics such as usage, physical representation, ownership and security. 7. What is the difference between a logical and a physical view of data? A logical view of data is the way data is perceived by end users or business specialists. A physical view of data is the way the data are actually organized and structured on physical storage media. 8. List some of the benefits of a DBMS. ??? ??? ??? Complexity of the information system environment can be reduced. Data redundancy and inconsistency can be reduced. Data confusion can be eliminated. ??? ??? ??? ??? Program-data dependency can be reduced. Program development and maintenance costs can be radically reduced.
Flexibility of information systems can be greatly enhanced. Access and availability of information can be increased. 9. Describe the three principal database models and the advantages and disadvantages of each. The hierarchical database model stores data logically in a vertical hierarchy resembling a tree-like structure. An upper record is connected logically to a lower record in a parent-child relationship. A parent segment can have more than one child but a child can only have one parent. Hierarchical DBMS are good for treating one-to-many relationships.
They can store large numbers of segments and process information efficiently, but they can only deliver information if a request follows the linkages of the hierarchy. Their disadvantages are their low user-friendliness, inflexibility and complexity of programming. They are good for high volume rapid response systems, such as airline reservation systems. The network model stores data logically in a structure that permits many-to-many relationships. Through extensive use of pointers, a child segment can have more than one parent. Network DBMS reduce redundancy and, like hierarchical databases, they process information efficiently.
However, they too are inflexible and are very complex to maintain and program. The relational structure overcomes many of the limitations of these other structures. Data are organized into two-dimensional tables, each of which can be considered a file. The relational model can relate any piece of information in one file to any piece in another file as long as the two tables share a common data element (such as an employee number). Because relational DBMS can easily combine information from different sources, they are more flexible than the other DBMS structures.
Access paths to data are not pre-specified, so that they can easily respond to ad-hoc inquiries with less extensive programming. The main problem with relational DBMS is poor processing efficiency. Response time can be very slow if large numbers of accesses to data are required to select, join and extract data from tables. Developments in relational technology are starting to overcome this problem, such as indexing. 10. What is normalization? How is it related to the features of a will-designed relational database. Normalization is to streamline the database design to remove redundant data such as repeating groups.
A database which is not normalized will have inefficient queries and will delete information when it should not or update only part of the information on a person. 11. What is a distributed database, and how does it differ from distributed data processing? A distributed database is one that is partitioned, or distributed among more than one physical location. Parts of the database are stored in one location and other parts are stored and maintained in other locations. One main central database can be partitioned into multiple local databases. These databases can be updated locally and later justified with the central database.
Alternatively, the central database can be duplicated at various remote locations. Another possibility is to maintain a central index and have complete records stored at local levels. Distributed data processing means using microcomputers, minicomputers and small mainframes at remote locations to process information in a central database rather than relying entirely on a central mainframe. However, unless the database itself is distributed, the data are still stored in one central location. 12. What are object-oriented, hypermedia and multidimensional databases?
How do they differ from a traditional database? Traditional databases store only homogeneous data that can be easily structured into predefined data fields and records. They are not well suited for handling other types of data such as procedures or graphics. Object-oriented databases store data and procedures together as objects. Hypermedia databases store chunks of information in linked nodes. These nodes can contain text, graphics, sound, full-motion video or executable computer programs. These databases will be less structured than in traditional DBMS and contain a wider array of data.
The nodes of a hypermedia database can be linked in any kind of relationship established by the author. 13. Describe the capabilities of on-line analytical processing (OLAP) and multidimensional data analysis. On-line analytical processing and multidimensional data analysis allow the analysis of large volumes of data from many perspectives, for example, sales by item by department by store by region, in order to find patterns in the data. Such patterns are difficult to find with normal database methods, which is why a data warehouse and data mining are usually parts of OLAP. 4. What is a data warehouse? How can it benefit organizations? A data warehouse is a database with archival, querying and data exploring tools (i. e. , statistical tools) for storing historical and current data of potential interest to managers throughout the organization and from external sources (e. g. competitor sales or market share). The data originate in many of the operational areas and are copied into the data warehouse as often as needed. Date warehouses support looking at the data of the organization through many views or directions.
To complete the Vegamatic (TM) analogy used earlier, a data warehouse allows managers to look at products by customer by year by salesperson — different “slices” of the data. Normal operational databases don’t permit such different views or slices of the data. 15. What are the four key elements of a database environment? Describe each briefly. The critical elements in a successful database environment are: ??? ??? ??? ??? Data administration: the policies, procedures and tools for managing and planning for information as a corporate resource. A data planning and modeling methodology from an enterprise-wide perspective (for the entire organization).
Users: end users have a wider role with DBMS than in traditional systems and so must be trained. Database technology and management: DBMS software maintained by the firm’s database administration group. 16. Describe and briefly comment on the major management challenges in building a database environment. Answers will vary with individual students. Some of the major management challenges in building a database environment are: ??? Organizational obstacles to a database environment: Implementing a database requires widespread organizational change.
Individuals and interest groups who do not want to relinquish control over information or share data with other groups in the organization can offer political resistance. Cost-benefit considerations: Implementation of a database environment entails considerable cost and effort, and most benefits are long-term. Many of the benefits of DBMS are also intangible. Management may resist moving to a database environment because the benefits appear overshadowed by short-term costs.
Organizational placement of data management function: Often a low-level technical group is charged with implementing databases rather than assigning this mission to a group with strong senior management and end-user backing high in the organization. The result of low-level placement can be a piecemeal approach to database use and a failure to address the key organizational issues. ??? ??? Chapter 9 1. What is the significance of telecommunications deregulation for managers and organizations? Deregulation of telecommunications means that organizations do not need to rely on the telephone company for telecommunications services and devices.
Organizations can choose from many different companies and services selling telecommunications services and equipment. To use telecommunications wisely, organizations must develop expertise in telecommunications and may need to employ their own telecommunications specialists. Managers must know alternative telecommunications technologies and systems and the costs, benefits and capabilities of various technologies, as well as a method for determining the organization’s telecommunications requirements. 2. What is a telecommunications system?
What are the principal functions of all telecommunications systems? A telecommunications system is a collection of compatible hardware and software arranged to communicate information–text, graphic images, voice or video–from one location to another. The principal functions of all telecommunications systems are: ??? ??? ??? ??? Transmission of information. Establishing an interface between sender and receiver. Routing messages along the most efficient path. Processing information to get the right message to the right receiver. ??? ??? ??? Checking and editing transmitted information for errors and formats.
Converting messages from the speeds and codes of one device to those of another. Controlling the flow of information, routing messages and maintaining overall network structure. 3. Name and briefly describe each of the components of a telecommunications system. The components of a telecommunications system are: ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? Computers: to process information. Terminals and other input/output devices: to send or receive data. Communications channels (using such media as telephone lines, fiber optic cables, coaxial cables, wireless transmission): to link sending and receiving devices in networks.
Communications processors (such as modems, multiplexers, front-end processors): to provide support functions for data transmission. Communications software: to control input and output activities and to manage other functions of the communications network. 4. Distinguish between an analog and a digital signal. An analog signal is represented by a continuous wave which passes through a communications medium. A digital signal consists of separate discrete waves. 5. Name the different types of telecommunications transmission media and compare them in terms of speed and cost.
Medium Twisted wire Microwave Satellite Coaxial cable Fiber optic cable Speed 300 BPS-10 MBPS 256 KBPS–100 MBPS 256 KBPS–100 MBPS 56 KBPS–200 MBPS 500 KBPS– 10 GBPS High Cost Low 6. What is the relationship between bandwidth and the transmission capacity of a channel? Bandwidth is the range of frequency (difference between the highest frequency and the lowest frequency) that can be accommodated on a particular telecommunications medium. The greater the range of frequencies that the telecommunications transmission medium can accommodate, the greater the medium’s telecommunications transmission capacity. . What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous transmission? Between halfduplex, duplex and simplex transmission? Asynchronous transmission transmits one character or byte at a time over a line. Each string of bits comprising a character is framed by control bits. Synchronous transmission sends characters in blocks, framed by header and trailer bytes called flags. Synchronous transmission is used for transmitting large volumes of data at high speeds because groups of characters can be transmitted more rapidly as blocks with no start and stop bits between characters.
In simplex transmission, data must always travel in only one direction. Half-duplex transmission allows two-way flow of data, but data can only travel in one direction at a time. Full-duplex transmission can send data in both directions simultaneously. 8. ??? Name and briefly describe the different kinds of communications processors. A front-end processor is a small computer (or programmable minicomputer) dedicated to communications management. It is attached to the main or host computer in a computer system.
It performs such special communications processing as error control, formatting, editing, controlling and routing, and speed and signal conversion. A concentrator is a programmable telecommunications computer that collects and temporarily stores messages from terminals to send them in economical batches. A controller (often a specialized minicomputer) supervises communications traffic between the CPU and peripheral devices such as terminals and printers, managing messages from these devices and communicating them to the CPU and routing output from the CPU to the appropriate peripheral device.
A multiplexer enables a single communications channel to carry data transmissions from multiple sources simultaneously. It divides up the telecommunications channel into multiple channels so that it can be shared by multiple transmission devices. Modems translate a computer’s digital signal into an analog form for transmission over ordinary telephone lines, and it translates the analog signal back into digital form for reception by a computer at the other end. ??? ??? ??? ??? 9. Name and briefly describe the three principal network topologies. ) Star network – involves a central host computer connected to a number of smaller computers or terminals. All communication between points in the network must pass through the host computer. 2) Bus network – links a number of computers by a single loop circuit made of twisted wire, cable or optical fiber. All messages are transmitted to the entire network and can travel in both directions along the cable. There is no need to have a host computer controlling the network. 3) Ring network – similar to a bus network except that the connecting wire, cable or optical fiber forms a ring.
Data are passed along the ring from one computer to another, flowing in a single direction, and the network does not rely on a central host computer. 10. Distinguish between a PBX and a LAN. The PBX (private branch exchange) and the LAN (local area network) are similar in that they both serve a restricted setting of several hundred feet and both use the same kind of telecommunications media (twisted wire, coaxial cable or fiber optics). However, the PBX utilizes the firm’s own telephone system, is based on the firm’s internal telephone network and requires no special wiring.
A LAN is more general purpose and is not tied to a telephone network, but requires special wiring, installed by the organization. 11. Define a wide- area network (WAN). A wide-area network (WAN) spans a broad geographical distance, ranging from several miles to the span of an entire continent. WANs are provided by common carriers, companies such as AT&T and MCI which are licensed by the government to provide communications services to the public. With a WAN the user is responsible for establishing the most efficient routing of messages, error checking, editing, developing protocols and managing telecommunications. 2. Define the following: modem, baud, Gateway, value-added network (VAN), packet switching, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM). ??? ??? A modem is a device to translate digital signals into analog signals and back again so that they can be transmitted through telecommunications media that handle only analog signals. Baud is a binary event, corresponding to a switch in voltage. At lower frequencies one baud generally sends one bit of information across a telecommunications medium but at higher frequencies, more than one bit is needed.
A file server is a computer dedicated to storing data files or programs used by other computers in a network. Value-added network (VAN) is a private, multi-path, data-only, third-party managed telecommunications system that can provide economies in the cost of service and in network management because they are used by multiple organizations. The VAN “adds value” to communications by providing these additional telecommunications management services. Packet switching maximizes utilization of telecommunications lines by dividing up lengthy blocks of data into bundles (of approximately 128 bytes each) called packets.
Control information is attached to each packet rather than each bit, increasing speed and efficiency of transmission. ATM technology parcels information into uniform “cells,” eliminating the need for protocol conversion and so enabling the user to switch seamlessly between voice, data, images and video; it also ties LANs and WANs together more easily. ??? ??? ??? ??? 13. Name and describe the telecommunications applications that can provide strategic benefits to businesses. Telecommunications applications that can provide strategic benefits to businesses include: ??? Electronic mail (e-mail): computer-to-computer exchange of messages. Voice mail: a system that digitizes spoken messages, transmits them over a network and stores the message for later retrieval. The system includes a range of capabilities including saving and routing to other parties. Facsimile (FAX): transmission of documents containing both text and graphics over ordinary telephone lines using a scanner to digitize the document. Teleconferencing: electronic meeting of people hundreds or even thousands of miles apart via telephone or electronic mail.