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Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 1 Critical Issues in Information Systems BUSS 951 Lecture 3 Organisations, Communities and Workplaces.

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Presentation on theme: "Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 1 Critical Issues in Information Systems BUSS 951 Lecture 3 Organisations, Communities and Workplaces."— Presentation transcript:

1 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 1 Critical Issues in Information Systems BUSS 951 Lecture 3 Organisations, Communities and Workplaces

2 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 2 Notices (1) General Make sure you have a copy of the BUSS951 Subject Outline BUSS951 is supported by a website (available from Tomorrow), where you can find out the latest Notices and get Lecture Notes, Tutorial Sheets, Assignments etc Pick up assignment 1 now!

3 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 3 Notices (2) Readings for Week 4 1.Watson, Rainer and Koh (1991) “Executive Information Systems: A Framework for Development and a Survey of Current Practices”

4 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 4 Agenda (1) Organisational Metaphors Machines Organisms Specific Organisational Theories Complex Organisations Network Organisations Population Ecology Models

5 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 5 Brief History of IS

6 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 6 Organisational Metaphors (1) Metaphors: conventional ideas about organisations and management are based on a small number of ‘taken-for-granted’ beliefs these ‘taken-for-granted’ ideas are referred to as metaphors but metaphors are ‘real’ in that they have real social consequences

7 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 7 Organisational Metaphors (2) metaphors are a way of understanding ‘reality’ in organisations need to understand them: affect type of management practices that occur determine what constitutes information

8 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 8 Organisational Metaphors (3) Several different metaphors. The most common in IS are: organisations as machines organisations as organisms organisations as brains organisations as cultures organisations as political systems the most important organisational metaphors are: organisations as machines organisations as organisms

9 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 9 Organisations as Machines a common IS Metaphor

10 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 10 Organisations as Machines carefully defined activities linked by clear lines of command & communication, and coordination & control designing organisations: managers design formal structure of jobs into which people can be fitted two types of management theory use this metaphor classical management theory scientific management

11 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 11 Organisations as Machines Classical Management Theory (1) unity of command chain of authority from superior to subordinate span of control distinction- staff and line (staff provides advise but must not violate management authority) emphasises initiative at all levels

12 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 12 Organisations as Machines Classical Management Theory (2) division of work- specialisation authority and responsibility (right of management to give orders and to exact obedience) centralisation of authority discipline subordination of individual interest to the general interest of the company stability of tenure- workers are rewarded with permanent jobs

13 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 13 Organisations as Machines Scientific Management (1) shift all responsibility for work from workers to management managers should do all the thinking relating to the planning and design of work workers are left to the task of implementation use scientific methods to determine the most effective way of doing work design workers tasks accordingly specify the precise way in which work should be done

14 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 14 Organisations as Machines Scientific Management (2) select the best person to perform the work train the worker to do the work effectively monitor worker performance to ensure appropriate work procedures are followed

15 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 15 Organisations as Organisms another common IS Metaphor

16 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 16 Organisations as Organisms (1) many varied ideas about organisations, as: open systems contingency theory: adapting the organisation to its environment organisational health, behaviour, development & ecology understand relations between organisations & environments understand organisations as ongoing processes rather than as collections of parts management looks at organisational ‘needs’ to help the organisation ‘survive’

17 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 17 Organisations as Organisms (2) organisations adapt to their environments environments select the organisations that will survive- but contrast this with the Complex Organisations work of Perrow who contradicts this tenant of IS Systems Theory assumes functional unity- but organisations are often in conflict

18 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 18 Organisational Metaphors Summary (1) dominant metaphor: Organisations as Organisms to understand why, need to understand the previous dominant metaphor of Organisations as Machines IS uses Systems Theory therefore it also uses the dominant metaphor metaphors are ways of thinking about organisations, determine: the way management is structured organisations are managed

19 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 19 Organisational Metaphors Summary (3) determines relationships between management & worker function determines what constitutes information therefore the types of systems to be developed and used

20 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 20 Complex Organisations Charles Perrow

21 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 21 Complex Organisations Industry & Environment Perrow points out, that organisational theory has always recognised the environment to some extent the Institutional School placed more emphasis on it than any other theory or school however, the Institutional School viewed the environment: fairly pragmatic, and poorly conceptualised. more recent theory and ideas are looking to better conceptualise the environment

22 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 22 Industry & Environment Culture Industry Perrow outlines his argument for the importance of environment in determining industry sector success and failure he starts by examining bias in the culture industry (such as TV, music, newspapers, theatre, movies, etc) and concludes that organisational owners and producers can and do shape the cultural products of the artists he argued that this is not just a matter of individual bias

23 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 23 Industry & Environment Culture Industry Perrow believes that these products are shaped by subtle selection processes that often involves corporate sponsors who attempt to maximise profits and instil their own brand of ideology on selected groups of the public he gives an account of the popular music industry over the period from the 1920s through to the late 1960s- a very interesting account Can we use this concept to explain Microsoft?

24 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 24 Industry & Environment Popular Music: Conclusions the conclusions Perrow draws from this study are as follows: while changes in the environment such as technological developments (TV, LP records, transistor radios) and product substitutions (TV for radio) do cause organisations to adjust, but the objective of such adjustment is to gain control over, and thus manipulate, the environment

25 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 25 Industry & Environment Popular Music: Conclusions the turbulence in the environment may result from their own efforts to rationalise the industry and introduce new products and services new technological developments do not determine cultural outcomes; but the way new technologies are used by the elite organisations of an industry can create ‘mass culture’

26 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 26 Industry & Environment Popular Music: Conclusions the most important environment of the elite organisations in an industry are the other elite organisations in the industry; despite competition between them, they collectively implement strategies to eliminate or absorb threatening smaller competitors the public is poorly served by this process; if we have to rely on the unlikely conjunction of a number of technological innovations to have diverse tastes satisfied, then we are in great trouble as a public! costs of these changes are generally displaced by the elite organisations onto other dependent parts of the industry

27 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 27 Industry & Environment Conclusions From this Perrow draws the conclusion that, in addition to the above list of observations concerning the environment, we add the following: the power of the state to regulate and give entitlements is probably the single most important means available to organisations to control their environment and a corollary: the power of the state to block attempts by organisations to control their environment (eg, anti-trust and monopoly laws) is substantial!

28 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 28 Industry & Environment Conclusions Perrow notes a major debate about the role of the state in capitalist societies is it a ‘tool’ for the capitalist class or an umpire reconciling diverse competing interests or an independent entity with organisational needs of its own, serving as a broker between the capitalist and other classes, while meeting its own needs for growth and power in the process?

29 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 29 Organisational Networks

30 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 30 Organisational Networks Perrow looks at various levels of organisational analysis suggests that a fairly recent idea is an extremely useful and powerful way of analysing and understanding organisational structure and behaviour... Perrow notes a number of key problems with the arguments he fears that sociologists are again wasting time and effort on infertile concepts

31 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 31 Organisational Networks... the network of organisations having influence over the target organisation as he points out, such an approach reveals rational explanations of many organisational behaviours and structural arrangements that would be entirely missed if the analysis was done purely at the organisational level

32 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 32 Population-Ecology Models

33 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 33 Population-Ecology Models Perrow briefly reviews more recent theory that analyses organisations in terms of social-Darwinism concepts of the struggle for survival Perrow notes a number of key problems with the arguments he fears that sociologists are again wasting time and effort on infertile concepts

34 Clarke, R. J (2001) L951-03: 34 Population-Ecology Models these look interesting but break down quickly when critically appraised in terms of what actually happens in organisations! dissappointingly, these ideas while not having much credence in sociology’ are getting recirculated in information systems views of organisations


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