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Executive Information Systems (Eis) Within The Organisational Context

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Executive Summary

Executive Information Systems (EIS) are successfully providing computer support for senior executives in a growing number of organizations. As previous attempts to support senior executives failed, what was learned from these attempts, should be incorporated in future efforts. The role of EIS within an organization depends on the context. Various factors-among them, including political and cultural, can contribute to the deployment of EIS. With the aid of an interpretive framework and relevant theories, this report will provide an analysis of the social context and processes which influence the use of an EIS. Furthermore, it will also address important issues involved in the role of EIS, particularly in response to radical change and its effect on the distribution of power within an organization. The example of a UK health authority, namely the Lakeshire Health Authority, will be explored for the identification of key issues on the impact of EIS on organizational change and managerial decision making. Furthermore, this assignment will endeavour to elucidate the relationship between information systems and the work of an organization.

Introduction

The target group for computer support in organizations has evolved over the years. Since the 70s, Decision Support Systems (DSS) provided assistance for specific decision-making tasks. Among the latest developments are expert systems, which capture the expertise of highly trained and experienced professionals in specific problem domains.

As far as the evolution of computer support for organizational personnel is considered, one group, the senior executives of a firm, is neglected from this process and for various reasons little support has been provided to them. However, Main (1989) argues that this lack of support is rapidly changing, as EIS are being developed in many organizations.

Executive Information Systems (EIS) or Executive Support Systems (ESS) have been developed to provide senior managers with a system that would assist them in making strategic and tactical decisions. Their purpose is to analyze, compare and highlight trends that would in turn contribute to defining the strategic directions of a company. EIS are commonly integrated in the operational systems, giving managers the facility to ЎҐdrill-downÐŽ¦ and to find out further information about a predicament.

An EIS can be defined as ЎҐa computerized system that provides executives with easy access to internal and external information that is relevant to their critical success factorsÐŽ¦ . Relevant research shows that most EIS:

„X Are tailored to individual executive users

„X Extract, filter, compress and track critical data

„X Provide online status access, trend analysis and exception reporting

„X Access and integrate a broad range of internal and external data

„X Present graphical and textual information

„X Are user friendly and require minimal training

„X Are used directly by executives without intermediaries

Based on Neil McBrideÐŽ¦s article , the two former characteristics of EIS are of great importance as it appears in the Lakeshire Health Authority (LHA) case study. These two characteristics will be under discussion, as they provide several implications, disadvantages and advantages to LHA.

Procedure/Research

For the literature search the Google Scholar and the ISI Web of Knowledge databases were explored by using the words ЎҐmanagement information systemsÐŽ¦ OR ЎҐexecutive information systemsÐŽ¦ as the key phrases. The combination ЎҐmanagement information systemsÐŽ¦ AND ЎҐcase studyÐŽ¦ was also used as a search strategy in order to reveal articles which elaborate on various information systems within the context of a specific company/organization. Several articles were yielded; however, there was an emphasis on the most recent ones.

Furthermore, the Management Information Systems Quarterly journal was also searched by using the same keywords as the ones stated previously. A cross-referencing strategy (i.e. the references of certain articles were then read) was employed, to confirm the accuracy of information found in secondary sources as well as to further the existing knowledge on the topic.

Finally, a books have been used to support some arguments in the analytical section of the assignment when that was deemed necessary.

Findings/Analysis

EIS are perceived as having an increasingly critical role in organizations. The development of EIS is embraced and accepted by many US and UK organizations. The role of EIS is crucial in organizational change and learning, decision-making, promoting the competitive ability of a firm and enabling it to look forwards as well as backwards.

The cultural position of EIS and their role point to the need to understand the organizational context within EIS are operating. As mentioned in the introduction, the literature has addressed the technical issues of EIS development, implementation, evaluation and their characteristics. EIS are commonly conceptualised as tools of organizational change and often appear in response to change.

In a contracting company the EIS were developed at a time of changing markets, triggered by the end of cold war. In a shoe company, the development of EIS followed a change in management and went hand in hand with the transformation of the companyÐŽ¦s role from being a manufacturer to being a retailer. In the case of Lakeshire Health Authority (LHA), EIS was introduces as a response to the drastic cultural and organizational changes brought about by legislation.

There are various frameworks and models which assist in explaining the development, implementation and role of EIS . Among

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