Assignment: Information Ecology

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Assignment: Information Ecology

Assignment: Information Ecology

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FIGURE I-6 Comparison of data, information, and knowledge. Source: Adapted from Thomas Davenport, Information Ecology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Data Information Knowledge

Definition Simple observations of the state of the world

Data endowed with relevance and purpose

Information from the human mind (includes reflection, synthesis, context)

Characteristics • Easily structured • Easily captured on machines • Often quantified • Easily transferred • Mere facts

• Requires unit of analysis • Data that have been

processed • Human mediation


• Hard to structure • Difficult to capture on machines • Often tacit • Hard to transfer

Example Daily inventory report of all inventory items sent to the CEO of a large manufacturing company

Daily inventory report of items that are below economic order quantity levels sent to inventory manager

Inventory manager’s knowledge of which items need to be reordered in light of daily inventory report, anticipated labor strikes, and a flood in Brazil that affects the supply of a major component

6 Peter F. Drucker, “The Coming of the New Organization,” Harvard Business Review (January–February 1988), 45–53.

Top Management Middle Management Supervisory and Lower‐Level Management

Time Horizon Long: years Medium: weeks, months, years Short: day to day

Level of Detail Highly aggregated Less accurate More predictive

Summarized Integrated Often financial

Very detailed Very accurate Often nonfinancial

Source Primarily external Primarily internal with limited external


Decision Extremely judgmental Uses creativity and analytical skills

Relatively judgmental Heavily reliant on rules

FIGURE I-7 Information characteristics across hierarchical levels. Source: G. Adapted from Anthony Gorry and Michael S. Scott Morton, “A Framework for Management Information Systems,” Sloan Management Review 13, no. 1, 55–70.

At this level, information is focused on day‐to‐day activities that are internally oriented and accurately defined in a detailed manner. The activ- ities of senior management are much broader in scope. Senior management performs long‐term planning and needs


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