Discussion: Knowledgeable Participant

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Discussion: Knowledgeable Participant

Discussion: Knowledgeable Participant

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A second, perhaps controversial, assumption is that the roles of a general manager and of an IS manager require different skill sets and levels of technical competency. General managers must have a basic understanding of IS in order to be a knowledgeable participant in business decisions. Without that level of understanding, their decisions may have serious negative implications for the business. On the other hand, IS managers must have more in‐depth knowledge of technology so they can partner with general managers who will use the IS. As digital natives take on increasingly more managerial roles in corporations, this second assumption may change—all managers may need deeper technical understanding. But for this text, we assume a different, more technical skill set for the IS manager and we do not attempt to provide that here.

Assumptions about Management Although many books have been written describing the activities of managers, organizational theorist Henry Mintzberg offers a view that works especially well with a perspective relevant to IS management. Mintzberg’s model describes management in behavioral terms by categorizing the three major roles a manager fills: interper- sonal, informational, and decisional (see Figure I-3). This model is useful because it considers the chaotic nature of the environment in which managers actually work. Managers rarely have time to be reflective in their approaches to problems. They work at an unrelenting pace, and their activities are brief and often interrupted. Thus, quality information becomes even more crucial to effective decision making. The classic view is often seen as a tactical approach to management, whereas some describe Mintzberg’s view as more strategic.

Assumptions about Business Everyone has an internal understanding of what constitutes a business, which is based on readings and experi- ences with different firms. This understanding forms a model that provides the basis for comprehending actions, interpreting decisions, and communicating ideas. Managers use their internal model to make sense of otherwise

cintro.indd 8 11/26/2015 7:38:30 PM
9Basic Assumptions

FIGURE I-3 Managers’ roles. Source: Adapted from H. Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (New York: Harper & Row, 1973).

Type of Roles Manager’s Roles IS Examples


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