Issues Facing General Managers

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Issues Facing General Managers

Issues Facing General Managers

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 What are the important structures and reporting relationships within the organization?

2. Who holds the decision rights to critical decisions?

3. What are the important people‐based networks (social and informational), and how can we use them to get work done better?

4. What are the characteristics, experiences, and skill levels of the people within the organization?

5. What are the key business processes?

6. What control systems (management and measurement systems) are in place?

7. What are the culture, values, and beliefs of the organization?

The answers to these questions inform the assessment of the organization’s use of IS. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 use the Managerial Levers model to assess the impact of information systems (IS) on the firm. Chapters 8 and 9 use this same list to understand the business and governance of the IS organization.

Brief Overview of Information Systems Strategy IS strategy is the plan an organization uses to provide information services. IS allow a company to implement its business strategy. JetBlue’s former Vice President for People explains it nicely: “We define what the business needs and then go find the technology to support that.”17

Business strategy is a function of competition (What does the customer want and what does the competition do?), positioning (In what way does the firm want to compete?), and capabilities (What can the firm do?). IS help

Organizational effectiveness


Organization Control


Performance measurement

and evaluation

Incentives and rewards


Formal reporting

relationships Planning

Business processes

Decision rights


Informal networks

People, Information, and



FIGURE 1.5 Managerial Levers model. Source: J. Cash, R. G. Eccles, N. Nohria, and R. L. Nolan, Building the Information Age Organization (Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, 1994).

17 Hogue et al., Winning the 3‐Legged Race, 111.

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27Brief Overview of Information Systems Strategy

determine the company ’ s capabilities. An entire chapter is devoted to understanding key issues facing general man- agers concerning IT architecture, but for now a more basic framework is used to understand the decisions related to IS that an organization must make.

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