Assignment: Thermostats Register

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Assignment: Thermostats Register

Assignment: Thermostats Register

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the business to form a team to share their knowledge on a topic (e.g., cloud computing, Web analytics). For nonbusiness related topics, the employees can join conferences to talk about the topic and get to know one another better. The hope is that they will start thinking beyond their work silos.9

However, not all informal relationships are a consequence of a plan by management. Some networks unintended by management develop for a variety of other factors including work proximity, friendship, shared interests, family ties, and so on. The employees can make friends with employees in another department when they play together on

7 For more information on zero time organizations, see R. Yeh, K. Pearlson, and G. Kozmetsky, ZeroTime: Providing Instant Customer Value Every Time, All the Time (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2000). 8 For more information on elastic enterprises, see N. Vitalari and H. Shaughnessy, The Elastic Enterprise (Longboat Key, FL: Telemachus Press, 2012). 9 T. S. H. Teo, R. Nishant, M. Goh, and S. Agarwal, “Leveraging Collaborative Technologies to Build a Knowledge Sharing Culture at HP Analytics,” MIS Quarterly Executive 10, no. 1 (March 2011), 1–18.

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63Information Systems and Management Control Systems

the company softball team, share the same lunch period in the company cafeteria, or see one another at social gath- erings. Informal networks can also arise for political reasons. Employees can cross over departmental, functional, or divisional lines in an effort to create political coalitions to further their goals. Some informal networks even cross organizational boundaries. As computer and information technologies facilitate collaboration across distances, social networks and virtual communities are formed. Many of these prove useful in getting a job done, even if not all of the members of the network belong to the same organization. LinkedIn is an example of a tool that enables large, global informal networks.

Information Systems and Management Control Systems Controls are the second type of managerial lever. Not only does IS change the way organizations are structured, but also it profoundly affects the way managers control their organizations. Management control is concerned with how planning is performed in organizations and how people and processes are monitored, evaluated, and compensated or rewarded. Ultimately, it means that senior leaders make sure the things that are supposed to happen actually happen.

Management control systems are similar to room thermostats. Thermostats register the desired temperature. A sensing device within the thermostat determines whether the temperature in the room is within a specifi ed range of the one desired. If the temperature is beyond the desired range, a mechanism is activated to adjust the temper- ature. For instance, if the thermostat is set at 70 degrees and the temperature in the room is 69, then the heater can be activated (if it is winter) or the air conditioning can be turned off (if it is summer). Similarly, management control systems must respond to the goals established through planning. Measurements are taken periodically and if the variance is too great, adjustments are made to organizational processes or practices. For example, operating processes might need to be changed to achieve the desired goals.

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