1994 - Change, Organisations and Decision Making

San Sebastian, Spain, September

Proceedings edited by M.W. Mayon-White, S. Ayestarán & P. Humphreys.

Title Pages
Schlumberger, M.

This paper puts forth the thesis that, due to the evaluation of managers, project management is de facto a very conservative activity and that it naturally impedes organisational change. When such changes occur, if they are to succeed, they must be accompanied by dedicated training at all levels of management, in particular regarding the reporting procedures and the reward system.

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Garcia, O. and Orellana, R.

Computer and communication technology has been used extensively in organisations to enhance the management process. Experts and users report dissatisfaction with the design process and the support provided by technological systems. Increasing their effectiveness is not a question of more or better technology but one of re-interpretation of action and the manager's activity. According to developments in cognitive biology, human beings do not act based on a representation of the world. This contradicts the current foundation of the concern for providing information as accurate representation of relevant reality. The understanding of the human being as an observer in language opens a new perspective of management. Language as the recursive flow of consensual coordinations of behaviour that constitutes a manner of loving together, allows for the generation of the complexities that managers must cope with to take care of the viability of the Human Activity Systems under their responsibility. The continuous crisscrossing of consensual coordinations of behaviour follows the changing complexities of living together in a changing world. Learning and acquiring new and more powerful languages to observe and coordinate in the domains of action that characterize the identity of the Human Activity System is a practice concerning viability. Emotions are changed in language changing the disposition for action. Computer & Communication Technology can be reinterpreted as a conversational device enhancing the languaging and emotioning of the community sharing the concerns of the manager.

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Echevarría, S. G.
Sinas, E.

Introduction of major organizational and operational changes in a large organization is, under the best conditions, a difficult task. But when the organization to be transformed is a heavily bureaucratic, legally strangled Public Service, managed without clearly identified and measurable objectives, then the task becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible. The question is "which is the best approach for successful introduction of major organizational and operational changes in such a Public Service?" In this report, the Author attempts to answer this question, using as a case study the Hellenic Public Service, and more specifically the latest attempt for the reorganization of the Hellenic State's financial management system, through the THALIS project

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Murphy, C.

Many of the definitions of decision support systems take a very technological perspective. Yet within organisations the process of decision support involves personnel using systems to advise senior managers on the information that they should have, the issues that need to be addressed and the consequences of taking certain decisions. The technological platform that is used is very often the same across different organisations. The difference between successful and unsuccessful decision support is most likely to be influenced by the actions of the staff rathert han any technological platform. This paper reports on an in-depth study of ten of the largest Irish companies aimed at identifying the role and contribution made by decision support personnel to the major decisions that these organisations faced in the past three years. It draws conclusions as to the factors that are important in ensuring that decision support personnel are perceived by management to make a positive contribution to enhancing their decision making capability.

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Ferioli, C. and Migliarese, P.

This paper regards the role of Information Technologies and particularly of DSS and GDSS with respect to a specific kind of innovative organizational form: the network organizational form. Network organizations are among the most innovative emerging organizational models. Two different basic elements can be distinguished in the network organization: nodes (i.e. organizational units or agents) and links among nodes (i.e. organizational relations, contracts, communication channels or architectures). This paper explains the important role of IT and GDSS in providing tools for the network organizations. IT and especially GDSS extend nodes autonomy and provide instruments for supporting the links between two (or more) nodes. The paper proposes a method for the analysis of the network organization based on the concept of relation. The properties of both nodes and links are taken into consideration in the relation. The proposed method describes the relation according to four elements: the tools supporting the link, the goals of the node, the organizational rules and norms of the organizational group and the organizational culture. Moreover, the proposed method provides a "guide" based on the oppositions formal versus informal and society versus community for describing the role of IT (especially GDSS) in internal network organizations.

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Loebbecke, C. and Kronen, J. H.

This case study introduces a DSS run by a large department store chain in order to support the buying process. The "Fashion Information and Planning System" (FIPS) is a DSS, which is characterized by its inextricableness in other IT applications of the corporation as a result of established interfaces; it is integrated into AAA's warehouse management as well as financial planning, and comprises two modules called "Fashlon Information System" and "Purchase Planning and Control". In order to understand the strategic benefits of FIPS, its organizational impact is addressed from three perspectives: it is shown how FIPS leads to innovative business procedures, shifts functions and competencies within the company, and changes the role of IT for the corporation. Additionally, the paper discusses the strenghts and benefits of the FIPS system, which has already become indispensable for the daily work of the purchasing managers. The article also identifies potential design improvements and discusses further development perspectives of the system.

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Davies, C. A. and Campbell, T.

This paper presents a case study of the outsourcing process in the Central Information Systems Division of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. This was one of the earliest examples of a central government computing service being outsourced. The effects of outsourcing on the organisation are analysed. The findings are then compared with the potential benefits of outsourcing and the situational framework defined by Earl. The effects of the market testing initiative on the delivery of information systems are examined.

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Smart, C.

Assumptions about future behaviour are often implicit when considering a course of action. By making these assumptions explicit decision makers can enter into a rational debate about their importance and impact on the decision. This paper reports on the use of system dynamics modelling to explore behavioural assumptions and their consequences in supporting the decision making process in a small legal partnership.

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Taboada, C. M., Arrospide, J. J. and Ayestarán, S.
Lekuona, J. I. M.
Allwood, C. M. and Hedelin, L.
Lawrence, M. and O'Connor, M.

Forecasting decision support systems have not achieved a significant penetration in sales forecasting practice which continues to be dominated by judgemental approaches. One possible reason is the fact that the core statistical models in the DSS's are no more accurate than unaided judgement and so are not perceived to be valid alternatives. However, over twenty years research on cognitive biases and limitations has built a strong case demonstrating that a model of human judgement is superior to the judgement itself. This study builds a model of the judgemental forecaster (a "model of man") as an alternative approach to the construction of the core model of a forecasting DSS. The accuracy of this "model of man" is compared to the accuracy of the judgemental forecaster using a sample of 111 real life time series in order to assess its suitability for a forecasting DSS. Over the practical time series used, the model of man was, contrary to the overwhelming results to date, inferior to man when measured by forecast decision accuracy.

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McCosh, A. M.

The paper notes the problems companies can have with ethical episodes, and suggests they sometimes need to transform their operations to cope with a new level of public perception of ethical behaviour. The paper makes a very preliminary attempt to derive a DSS which will predict the path of an ethical episode, for the guidance of corporate transforming agents.

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Young, L. F.

The paper notes the problems companies can have with ethical episodes, and suggests they sometimes need to transform their operations to cope with a new level of public perception of ethical behaviour. The paper makes a very preliminary attempt to derive a DSS which will predict the path of an ethical episode, for the guidance of corporate transforming agents.

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