Case 1.2 Ackoff’s Management Misinformation System

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The Ackoff’s Management Misinformation Systems is a case written by Russell L. Ackoff and it appeared in Management Sciences. Ackoff identified five assumptions regarding Management Information Systems and he explained why he disagreed with the assumptions. The five assumptions were: 1) Management needs more Information

2) Managers need the information they want
3) Giving Managers the information they need improves their decision making 4) More communication means better performance
5) Managers need only to understand how to use an information system

On the first assumption listed “Management needs more information” and Ackoff’s contention I have to disagree with certain parts of it. The assumption that MIS systems are built because there is a critical deficiency with lack of relevant information is not correct. MIS systems are built to provide the relevant information needed to understand the processes and information that managers need to make decisions. I do agree that most managers do receive much more data that they can absorb. I can say as a manager I think sometimes too much information can be information overload. But to build the proper system you need the information to decide which information is relevant for the manager.

The second assumption “Managers need the information they want” and Ackoff’s contention I do agree. Managers need to have the proper information to be able to make proper decisions. They might not know all the information they want but what they ask for it should be provided. But based on Ackoff’s moral is that sometimes one cannot specify what information is required for proper decision making. The system can provide the information the manager needs if the requirement is clearly understood before it is developed. There is an Article “Do Senior Managers really know what they want” in which they carried out two consulting studies. The results were that “senior managers do know what they want but...
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