Approaches to ICT management
IT management is a fairly recent „phenomenon‟. It borrows a lot (theories and models) from general management. Approaches to IT management, therefore, draws a lot from management science. Some approaches to management science are (Narayana, 1991; various Internet sources, including Wikipedia):
A historical approach. Lessons/conclusions are drawn from case studies and past experience. They are then applied to existing situations.
** Common in medicine. Same in management of IS/IT assets – hardware, software, people.
(Interpersonal and group) behaviour approach
Central theme of management is leading people to get things done. This requires understanding of individual psychology – to help in motivation, leadership and human relations. Group behaviour patterns and organisational behaviour/culture are also important. In this approach, psychological, cultural, and social factors are important for organisations. NOTE: motivation, communication, participation.
Cooperative, social and socio-technical systems approach
All organized human relationships are regarded as cooperative social systems – i.e. organizations are cultural systems with people working in cooperation. Some have machines and technology – as subsystems – all working for common goal. Multiple factors come into play – social laws, psychological conditions, rules/procedures, etc. ** Overall goal is important and all elements should work to achieve it.
This treats an organization as a complex unit of a number of interdependent, interconnected constituents, groups, and subgroups. Takes as total view (holism) and analyzes each component/function and how a change in any part affects other relationships.
NOTE: systems and features (Lucey, 2005: 35-).
Decision theory and operations research approach
This equates management with decision making at various levels – that managers are decision makers and problem solvers.
Problem discovery: What is the problem?
Solution discovery: What are the possible solutions?
Choosing solutions: What is the best solution? Solution Testing: Is the solution working? Can we make it better?
… and operations research approach
Management situations are analyzed mathematically and transformed into models. Problem is identified, different solutions are modelled, and the best possible solution is selected (so mgt is problem-solving). All management problems are treated as operations research problems (requiring modelling).
Contingency or situational approach
Management action is dependent on the context or situation prevailing in an enterprise. Interrelationships of various factors constituting the situation are analysed and solutions are devised based on them. (Approach common in IT management, we’ll take Wanyembi’s case study).
Managerial roles approach
Observation and study of what managers actually do provides a key to their roles. The roles fall in three categories (Mintzberg): Interpersonal; Informational; & Decision-making roles.
Basic management functions are universal – planning, organizing, staffing, leading/directing, and controlling. Considered as integrated approach to management – best aspects of other approaches are included esp. systems approach, socio-technical systems approach.
Systems approach is based on GST or systems thinking. Organisations are complex social systems that interact with their environment. They respond to numerous interdependent variables, including:
People; Tasks; Technology; Organisation structure; & Environment.
… contingency approach
Research has shown that there is no universal way of managing organisations (or technology). Effective...