Management and Information Technology
Value: 0.5 ( Michaelmas Term)
ECTS: 8 credits
This module considers several important transformations that have arisen in contemporary organisations as a result of the introduction and use of information technology. Though the focus of this course is on information technology, we focus on the social and organisational implications pertaining to the nature and use of information technology in organisations, NOT the technology per se. Each of these topics represents important developments in the nature and use of information technology in organisations. The module has a strong case study and independent research focus as is discussed further below. The module is assessed by a two hour closed book exam (70%) and a group presentation (30%).
To consider how information systems have been implicated in these transformations, this module will focus on five themes:
Knowledge Management and IT
This topic will consider the area of knowledge work and the role of information technology in this process. We will examine the question of whether knowledge can be stored and transferred though information technology. We will consider on the use of Lotus Notes, the leading groupware technology, in a UK based Pharmaceuticals Company. We will explore how issues such as location, patterns of work, political and normative issues and workarounds are implicated in knowledge sharing activities.
Electronic government is described by Gordon and Gordon (2004:214) as being a model of government where information technology facilitates interaction between: “the government and its suppliers, government and the public; government and its employees, and among government agencies and different government bodies.” Though we will discuss the broad context of electronic government, the focus of this topic will be on how local government are seeking to modernise their service provision through the use of information technology. We will discuss the challenges and opportunities that surround efforts to introduce electronic modes of organising in local government. Further we will consider what the social and organisational implications for introducing this form of working may be. These issues will be discussed with reference to several e-government projects in the UK (and Greece).
Globalisation and Software Outsourcing
Information technologies are inextricably interlinked with the processes of globalisation. This topic will first consider what we may understand globalisation to be and the relationship between globalisation and IT. We then specifically consider global software outsourcing as an important form of global work in many contemporary organisations. We will consider the case of a venture between the UK and an Indian company and examine the opportunities and challenges associated with global software outsourcing in the context of a developing nation.
Ethical issues in Information Systems
The introduction of information systems in organisations, raise many ethical dilemmas that managers and developers may need to consider. We will explore what constitutes ethics, as well as several of the key ethical issues raised by the use of information systems. This will include a discussion on computer crime such as theft and cyber threats. We will then focus on the relationship between privacy and surveillance, paying specific attention to workplace surveillance.
The Digital Divide
The digital divide refers to the differences in the availability of computing resources between different groups of people. These differences may be between different ethnic groups within a country, different social groups in a country, between ages, between geographic locations, or indeed between the developed and the developing world (George, 2003). The latter will be the primary focus of this topic.
Case Study Focus
Each theme is developed in relation to insights into specific cases, so as to gain an in-depth understanding of these developments, second to explore the challenges that the introduction and use of information systems may pose in organisations, and finally to consider the scope for management action. You are required to produce a group presentation. This will require your group to undertake your own independent research in and around one of the topics covered. In keeping with the theme of the module, this will include an analysis of one or more case studies. The aim of this is to develop techniques, methods of analysis and research expertise that can be applied to a variety of real world settings. Developing techniques of this sort is advocated by many leading industrialists, and bodies such as the ICAEW (1990) who stated that:
“...case studies require a number of skills and abilities to be developed. The student is required to read and comprehend the information, identify the problem, analyse the whole situation and diagnose solutions, and finally present his or her own ideas and recommendations in a form usable by others... Particular emphasis is placed upon analytical skills, commercial awareness and communication skills, including presentation skills.”
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
Subject-specific learning outcomes:
- Gain an in-depth insight into how and why information systems may fail
- Develop a critical perspective on some contemporary areas of information systems such as e-government and knowledge management
- To gain an insight into the use of information systems from a multi-cultural perspective
- To apply theoretical perspectives to real world cases so as to understand what management can do.
Cognitive abilities/Non-subject-specific learning outcomes:
By the end of the course you should be able to:
- Work in groups and clearly present ideas
- Demonstrate the application of theoretical concepts
Lectures and seminars
Contact Time: 20 contact hours consisting of 20 lecture hours; 10 seminar hours.
Term Taught: Lent
Outline Lecture Plan
- Knowledge management and information technology
- Electronic government
- Globalisation and software outsourcing
- Ethics and IT
- Digital inclusion and exlusion: IT in developing countries
The total workload for the course is expected to be about four times the number of lecture hours, i.e. about 80 hours. This includes time to complete the assessed presentation and to prepare for the examination.
The course will use the Moodle web site for posting lecture notes, readings and general information.
Students will be required to undertake an assessed presentation accounting for 30% of the marks, and the final 70% accounting for a two-hour exam during the normal examination period. The exam is closed book and as such you are allowed to take your notes and books into the exam.
Walsham, G. 2001: Making a World of Difference: IT in a Global Context. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.