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Review and conclusions
A final puzzle

The final section of the course is an opportunity for you to review the material that was covered and to come to some conclusions about the relationship between managing in a large business organization and the technology that is used in doing this.


For the purposes of this course a number of basic assumptions were made:

The nature of this world was discussed in some detail as were some of the strategic imperatives and the tactical responses to change. This material was reviewed and various models of the relationship between technology and change were examined. From this review a simple 2 x 2 matrix was derived which was used to help deal with diversity of views of the relationship between managing a large business organization and the technology that is used to do this.

A simple 2 x 2 matrix
Technology Model
Managerial Model
Cost/Process Driven
Structure/Value Driven

The course then looked at two solutions to the problems of managing in a large business organization that were primarily based on technology. These were characterized as Information Systems and Knowledge Management and corresponded to cells 1 and 2 in the above matrix. These technologically based approaches were contrasted with two approaches that were primarily managerial: the Bureaucratic Organization and the Networked Organization which corresponded to cells 3 and 4.

Having developed the matrix and become familiar with its use, the course then went on to consider the sort of organizations and groups that might be found in the environment described earlier. The Virtual Organization was taken as a starting point for this. Three more specific and closely defined forms of work organization were also considered in this context. These were home based work and telework, virtual and distributed teams and Communities of Practice.

Having established the forms that work might take the course then went on to consider some of the problems of managing it. The course returned to the topic of Knowledge Management discussed earlier and examined two broad classes of approach to it. The first was that of the Knowledge Repository where explicit knowledge is stored in a durable and re-usable form in an Organizational Memory. The second approach dealt with the problems of the creation and exchange of tacit knowledge between group members; here Communities of Practice were seen to have the potential to play an important role.

Finally, the course considered some of the implications of the above for systems designers. A selection of material on Groupware was examined in the light of three high level views that inform the design of Collaborative Systems for use in the workplace: HCI, CSCW and CMC.


You might like to look at the picture below and think about the implied classification. Do you agree with it? How might you label the cells in the image?

The final puzzle


Sources of information for further revision

Having now developed a more sophisticated understanding of the relationship large business organizations and the technology used in managing them you might like to look through some of the material that can be found in the sites on the MIS links page would be a good place to start.

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