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1026049 Management, 2nd Year
IB242 Foundations of Information Systems
1) Understanding information systems and protecting it as a core asset in organisations
Show with examples how technology shapes and is shaped by its organisational context of use. Discuss implications of this on-going interplay between technology and organisational practices to CIOs responsible for managing technology in organisations. Extend this discussion to consider the changing nature of organisations driven by the adoption of social media and discuss the limitations in using technologies to mitigate new risks and threats emerging from a more distributed way of working.
Word Count: 2220 (Excluding references)
as it requires more and more capital in order to create a competitive and sustainable business. information systems can also have a negative impact on organisational structure and are a source of risks and threats. Technology has become the business in media and informationdependent organisations.154). support organisational strategies (Boddy.27). As a cost-effective and labour-efficient solution. these organisations use information systems. He also emphasizes on how technology gives businesses competitive advantage and more importantly. 2009. meaning buyers have better access to market information to make decisions. allow change within organisations and most importantly. 1985. p. we will examine the radical organisational changes.5). Technology shapes and is shaped by organisational context of use Universally. through an analysis of how technology shapes modern organisations and how the latter shapes it. p. p. As a result. as well as the risks and threats organisations face as a result of these changes.156). p. As Porter said in his 1985 Harvard Business Review article. information technology plays a dominant role in all aspects of 21st century life. p. and notably in the way businesses function. Information systems add value to products (Boddy. p. Lastly. through the use of complex software. However. It also raises barriers to entry. 2009. alter each of Porter’s five forces (Porter. technology is only going to continue to evolve within organisations due to the falling cost of hardware. and managers encouraging its use at all levels of the business (Porter. Technology first increases buyer power. 2 . 1985. and manufacturing businesses need technology to support their core business (Boddy.1026049 Introduction In the age of instantaneous and cross-border communication.12). we will have a better understanding of the effects of technology on organisational structure. information systems have been heavily adopted by organisations. We will then explore what managers should do at facing the interplay between technology and organisational practices. p.5). which are a “set of people. all businesses want to lower cost and enhance differentiation (Porter. considering the effects of the use of social media within organisations. 2009. 1985. such as Bloomberg. with a focus on the effects Intranets have on organisations.150). 2009. procedures and resources that collects data which it transforms and disseminates” (Boddy. More precisely.
Modern organisations have smaller self-governing units that have more autonomy. p. and are more efficient.P. given Bloomberg competitive advantage though lowering cost and enhancing differentiation. Similarly. As an information intensive organisation. his beliefs in the falling cost of technology support his theory on technology influencing the threat of substitution within the market. where companies are becoming more and more dependent on information technology. decision-making and many other aspects of the organisation (Boddy. and top management has a separate career. Bloomberg L.. As goods become cheaper and produced faster with the aid of computer-aided design. technology has.155). which she calls Sociomateriality. For instance. technology can also be shaped by its organisational context of use. p. structure. This is due to the substantial use of technology throughout the organisation.4953). Consequently. Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine and applications on smartphones and tablet computers. simultaneously.45). We speak of technological determinism.1026049 Additionally. but also threatened its position as market leader by the increasing buyer power and competition. culture. Orlikowski thinks that technology and organisations form a new identity. such as Bloomberg TV. thus enacting a flatter organisational structure. 2000. and are driven by the evolution of technology through the years. information systems impact heavily on organisational strategy. 1985. together with its continued innovation in its Terminal since its invention in the early 1980s. He also says that the increasing importance of technology within modern organisations mean that middle management is eliminated. Culturally.P. there will be increased rivalry between competitors (Porter. p. where all analysts are generalists. Preexisting organisational structure and needs from users remain to be dominant over the role of technology has on modern organisations. Drucker (2000. as per the example of Bloomberg L. has fully developed its information systems in order to support its wide range of information providing channels. However. 3 .46) points out that information systems reduce the number of management levels. thus creating separate careers for top management and specialists (Drucker. p. Porter’s words remain to be valid in modern organisational context. This is due to the ease of access to information through open-end and free sources such as Google. Bloomberg has implemented a flat hierarchy. 2009.
intranets are socially determined.295). We speak of an on-going interplay between technology and organisational practices. Managers need a suitable and precise approach to it in order to exploit its full potential – technology may determine organisational strategy. p. however we also need to consider its organisational context. p. Information technology is essential in modern organisations. rather than as part of an elaborate and conceived plan (Baptista. Intranets are “an internal method of document organisation and dissemination developed from groupware”.306). as well as a “more sophisticated and complex organisational tool” (Martini. 2009. Moreover. p.60) supports that information technology needs to be guided by “professional capacity” in order to exploit the full potential of the technology. 2009.318). Avgerou (2000. Baptista (2009. From a social determinist view. institutionalised behaviour emerges through culture and share value systems. More. 2009. p. implementation and success depend entirely on how it is received by individuals within the organisation. As an example. with the dominance of social media and web 2. how should management face this interplay? 4 . p. and have gained increasing attention recently. As they become embedded within. As a consequence.1026049 because technology reflects pre-existing organisation culture and interests (Baptista. Consequently. Moreover. 2009. For that reason. p. CIOs implementing the technology will shape it according to their own needs and objectives.306) suggests that technology reinforces this culture instead of transforming it.308) talks of institutionalisation of Intranets within organisations. as both parties influence each other throughout technological evolution. Furthermore. and are carried out in small steps. Baptista (2009.0 technologies (Baptista.306). This institutionalised behaviour spawns from organisational behaviour from individuals working within the organisation. the impact of the organisation’s pre-existing culture on technology will dominate over the impact of technology on organisations. Intranets have evolved since its invention in the early 1990s. p. Its conception. organisational changes induce changes in the technology implemented. such as culture and ways of doing business. The performance of the technology will also depend on the business environment. changes in the Intranet depend on user feedback.
2000. companies that consider social complementary change are more likely to be more successful that those that only consider the technical aspect of a technological project. They need to become specialists themselves (Drucker.. This requires technical and moral support. suggest that top management need to continuously raise awareness of the technology in order to prevent the loss of value.27). together with the involvement of top management. p. 2010.” (McAfee. 2009. CIOs must exercise control over this increasing embeddedness within the organisation.3). have shown to be effective in implementing technologies successfully (Martini. p.306). Baptista et al. p. A motivational approach to the project needs to be put into practice: CIOs will need to motivate individuals and the organisation itself in order to present the project as a value-adding project (Martini. 301). The technology needs to be continuously aligned with the business’ needs through innovation and improvement (Baptista et al. CIOs need to take charge and drive projects forward. at facing this interplay between technology and organisational practices. p. They no longer find it innovative. 5 . 2009. 2009. Therefore. 2009. p. p. and are taking it for granted (Baptista.1026049 What approach should CIOs adopt at facing this on-going interplay? “It is not enough simply to deploy the new technologies of interaction and collaboration and then sit back and wait for the benefits to accrue. due to the changing nature of organisations. p. as institutionalised behaviour reigns and intranets lose their strategic value. from the development team and the organisational culture. employees at Alliance and Leicester have developed institutionalised behaviour towards intranets.53).304). Companies that only consider the technical aspect of the project may see their projects fail partially or even completely (Martini. Communication and education destined to change individual behaviour regarding the implementation of the technology. Thus. p. from project conception to implementation. CIOs need to be cautious in implementing and managing technologies. The role of CIOs within organisations has never been more important. They also need to be supportive throughout the project. In particular. According to Boddy (2009.296). 182). 2009.
CIOs need to influence organisational culture and to encourage employees to use these tools. how will the future organisation look like? What consequences will the adoption of social media bring? New risks and threats emerging from organisational changes The changing nature and structure of organisations and increasing importance of the role of CIOs in technology give rise to new sources of risks and threats. invented to support online communities.15). The impact of the use of social media on modern organisations As businesses continue to embed technology within their core functions. recent cost-effective solutions have been introduced and have provided evidence that they could be hugely beneficial in organisational context. These technologies. p. Thus. 2010. The involvement of top management is necessary. The sharing of knowledge should also be universal. otherwise the project could fail completely. As organisations employ new community based tools such as Google PageRank. internal or external. Control is needed in order for the organisation to engage in the development process of the technology. CIOs should focus and persist through implementing projects. 2009. as McAfee (2009. 2010. Many organisations have adapted these tools to support their core business.1).23) puts it. they have further changed organisational culture through the sharing of information. in the manner of Intranets as mentioned previously. Twitter and Facebook (McAfee. across the entire organisation (McAfee.26-27). p. They have proven to change drastically.12). organisations become vulnerable as technology becomes 6 . such as Intranets. as the next technology to be infused in organisations. pp. Similarly. Therefore. They can generate content openly and promote the use of platform technologies.1026049 As a result. with rewarding schemes and transformed norms (McAfee. 2010.0” technologies. We speak of “Enterprise 2. and better visibility between departments (McAfee. p. managerial decisions are crucial in the development process of use of social media within organisations. Internally. allow greater autonomy for users. p.
Also. information systems should be protected through a number of practices. 2000. businesses need to understand the importance of security and risk management. As a valuable asset. p. in order to raise awareness throughout the organisation. These guidelines must be justified so as to persuade employees (Siponen. 2010. it is significant to understand that it may prevent external risks. Thus. “Procedures may be misused. 2000. where employees will neglect the guidelines.35). Education enhances employees’ incentives.” (Siponen.182). a detailed plan for raising awareness must be formulated. Perry (1985) suggests making the ISP a fashionable topic within the organisation – in the same manner of a campaign. making the ISP desirable to execute. 179). This is why education and motivation are important in the implementation of an ISP (Siponen. p. instead of adapting a laissezfaire policy (Siponen. making it even more fragile. the vulnerabilities of the technology itself (Baptista. 2010. 2000. 179). In the same manner as intranets. Therefore. Similarly. as the infusion of the technology can make the organisation rigid and less apt to change (Baptista. In the same way as intranets. 2010. 2000. social tools that are open-ended and community-based may be a source of serious risk. p. such as carelessness of employees and phishing. and anti-virus programmes in order to prevent and deter.35). 2000. pp. p. namely data theft and hacking. or negative effects may follow. this neglect of technology makes it hard to justify investment in the technology itself and its protection (Baptista. p. as well as technical tools such as monitoring systems. as an ISP is implemented. 7 . p. 2000. thereby losing their real usefulness.35).338-347). such as departmental intranets.1026049 embedded (Baptista. This ISP should be communicated across all platforms. CIOs need to formulate guidelines carefully. 174). it is a good measure for improving attitudes without the unwanted results a campaign may cause (Siponen. such as putting into practice a strong ISP (Internet Security Policy) (Nosworthy. 2010. This makes the organisation easy to penetrate. p. a successful ISP requires technical stability as well as a supportive organisational culture (Nosworthy.37). Top management starts taking technology for granted and eventually forget its strategic value and more importantly. as no businesses are exempt from these threats. misinterpreted and not used by end-users. p. p.337). In particular. but the organisation may not be protected against internal threats. It should provide employees with training. p.31).
pp. CIOs need to pay attention to the consequences of organisational change in both employee behaviour and external menaces.48-49). it also becomes a core asset in organisations that they need to guide and protect. focus less on information technology. p.1026049 For this reason. Any excessive amount of money spent on technology would be unnecessary (Carr.160). as technology transforms organisations culturally and structurally. 2003. 1985. reinforced by strong information security. whereas those that do not will fall behind and find themselves in a competitive disadvantage (Porter. what attitude should organisations adopt towards Carr’s view? The use of social media has shown that low cost strategies can be efficient in organisational context. Thus. According to Porter. No matter how controversial Carr’s view may be. what can we expect from technology in organisational context in the future? How will this further transform organisational strategies and structures? 8 . companies that anticipate the power of technology will be in control. In an information-dependent age. in contrary. as information has become a commodity. Carr argues that executives should. it only helps companies to survive in the business environment. However. we can deduct that technology can only evolve and take an increasingly important role within organisations. Conclusion As technology becomes institutionalised.
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