Backbone or Helping Hand?

Cecilia Gullberg and Alf Westelius (2011) Backbone or Helping Hand? On the Role of Information Systems and Non-systematic Information in Managers’ Work. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, Volume 14, 139-160.

Information systems are often described as horizont al integrators, supporting and integrating core processes and providing vast amounts of real-time data in organisations. However, previous research indicates that managers use an “information mosaic” – a variety of pieces of information and information sources, rather than one centrally planned and unified information system – to control their work. In this paper, we explore recurring work activities among a number of managers with different responsibilities and the use of information associated with these activities. The purpose is to put the formal computerised information system into the context of the information mosaic, thereby providing insight into how formal information systems support and do not support these managers’ work. Personnel responsibility is a uniting factor in the way these managers handle information and is an area where information systems seem to mainly support minor activities. Furthermore, the use of formal and in formal information sources appears to be intertwined. The main contribution of this paper lies in charting managerial information behaviour in the light of technological development.

Keywords: information use, information sources, managerial work, management information

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