Management Information Systems
Information Systems (IS) are the collections of people and machines that make products and
services in supply chains and individual firms. This is in both the public and the private
sector, and at work and in people's free time. The study of Management Information
Systems is concerned with how managers build, change, specify, design, upgrade, improve,
control and maintain Information Systems. Here we focus upon how firms can use people
and technology to create business value. This is a commercial and MBA perspective rather
than a technical or engineering perspective.
The overall aim of the module is to equip participants with the knowledge and conceptual
tools to address the various management challenges involved in the effective design,
implementation and management of an organisation's Information Systems and business
processes. The course will highlight the strategic and competitive advantages of linking
Information Systems to the business needs of the organisation.
Theory and practice are a single solution system, like two sides of the same coin, and the
omission of either detracts from the management of any organisation. Similarly, the tacit and
experiential business knowledge of students is valued and students are expected to add this
to the class discussion.
There is no single core reference for this module. The course will be taught via a mixture of
general texts, specialist books, research papers, and other web-based documentation.
Specialist papers (journal articles in particular) will be published on this site in the resources
section for each lecture. With some of the readings it is indicated whether the reading is
Essential (E), Highly Recommended (HR) or for General Interest (GE).
Like all MBA modules you are expected to read around the subject and this module page is
just to help you start. Evidence of reading around the subject and appropriate use of the
ideas you find will help you in the module assessments.
The following two books provide broad coverage of the area, especially Laudon and Laudon,
and both are full of useful case studies. The companion web-site for Laudon and Laudon
also provides a valuable resource, including material for practical exercises (see below).
Either text would be a useful purchase. Given its general coverage, if you are only buying
one book, then we would advise Laudon and Laudon.
- Applegate, L., Austin, R., and McFarlan, F., (2006). Corporate Information Strategy and
Management: text and cases (7th edition), McGraw-Hill.
- Laudon, J. and Laudon, K. (2004 or 2005). Management Information Systems
(International Edition, 8th or 9th edition). Prentice-hall.
General texts are inevitably superficial and often uncritical in some areas. The course will
draw on the following supplementary sources to provide more depth and nuance. Whilst
these specialist books are useful, if you have a particular interest in a topic area, individual
purchase is not required.
- Ciborra, C. (2002). The Labyrinths of Information: challenging the wisdom of systems.
Oxford University Press.
- Galliers R., and Leidner D., (2003). Strategic Information Management (third edition),
Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 2003.
- Hammer, M and Champy, J. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business
- Kalakota R and Robinson M (2003) Services Blueprint: Roadmap For Execution, Addison-
- Ross J. Anderson (2001) Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed
There is a wealth of useful material available on the web: white papers, technical
documentation, case studies, practitioner publications, blogs, and web magazines. Here are
Rough Type Nicholas Carr's Blog
Information Age is another useful site with news, analysis and briefing material.
www.wikipedia.org a multilingual open source encyclopaedia. IMPORTANT: this is a great
site to start on but it sometimes has been wrong or biased so never use this as a source in
www.CIO.com a general source
Business 2.0 on CNN Money
Computing, a weekly newspaper for IT professionals, including useful reports and analysis.
Companion web-site for Laudon and Laudon.
This module is assessed by Group Presentation (30%) and Individual Report (70%).
Group Presentation assessment
Individual Assessment Report
Groups - You are responsible for loading your MS Power Point files before the lecture starts
Notes on suggested individual report structure
Introduction to Management Information Systems and basic concepts
Lecturer and student introductions, module overview and discussion of outcomes.
This lecture introduces the idea of an information system as a socio-technical system, the
basic systems concepts that are useful in modern business management and the
characteristics of an e-business.
Laudon and Laudon, chapters 1 and 2.
1995-2005: The making of the information age, accessed 29th September, 2005.
[Background to the MIS sector]
The Long Tail: basic examples
Chris Anderson's original Long Tail Article
Music charts, Snow Patrol and the Long Tail
Sharecropping the long tail by Nicholas Carr - user-generated content in a Long Tail context.
Ten strategic tricks for CIOs, Director Magazine, August 2007 - cutting edge IT strategies.
YouTube video about the evolution of text into the web - interesting ideas set to very dodgy
IS and E-business models: Web 1.0 to Web 2.0
This lecture deals with how IT strategy, business infrastructure and business processes
assemble into a firm's business model. Business models are a relatively new area of
management theory with extreme practical significance because they describe firms as
Topic 1 was about breaking things into smaller pieces to prioritise the use of resources.
Topic 2 is about mixing things together to create new value.
Osterwalder A, Pigneur Y and Tucci CL (2005) Clarifying Business Models: Origins, Present,
And Future Of The Concept, Communications of the AIS, 16 (1).
Magretta, J (2002) Why Business Models Matter, Harvard Business Review 80(5): 86-92.
Hedman J and Kalling T (2003) The business model concept: theoretical underpinnings and
empirical illustrations, European Journal of Information Systems, 12, 49-59.
Hedman & Kalling's paper on the components of a business model. Note: The components
of Hedman and Kalling's model are based upon some key strategic management concepts
so the references are well worth reading as well.
New dotcom entrepreneurs are lacing together bright ideas with shoestring budgets - How do
their different business models work?
Face Book's new business model: a platform strategy. Don't be the gold miner, be the person
that organises picks and shovels.
Google's business model.
Manchester United Case.
Zopa matches up borrowers and lenders in a peer-to-peer online lending service - a
disruptive business model
More Zopa articles
The mash-up future of the web.
Tagging: user-generated categories and editing of content.
Social production / Share cropping - This is when users generate content for free.
Time magazine article: Getting Rich off Those Who Work for Free
Yahoo Pipes – mash ups
Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us - YouTube video
Nicholas Carr/ William Davies: key difference of Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0
Nick Carr article on informal (myspace) and formal (company database) organisation and
software in firms that underline knowledge management issues
Some drivers of e-business models
Examples of Web 2.0 in business
The virtual organisation of an e-business
Most businesses use Information Systems (IS); so most businesses are e-businesses. This
lecture looks at the organisation of people and machines from a fully IS perspective: in terms
of both Information and Systems. The focus of this lecture will be on the generation of value
by business processes in single organisations.
Introduction: Information Systems and Systems Theory
How businesses create value using business processes
-What are business processes?
Where IT and business processes fit into a business
-Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP)
Increasing business flexibility (agility and viability)
-Business Process Management systems
Please read before lecture:
LexisNexis? order fulfilment system.
The Brain Behind The Big, Bad Burger And Other Tales Of Business Intelligence.
Haeckel S H and Nolan R L (1993) Managing by Wire, Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct
[Early and basic ?Sense and Respond? functionality delivered to businesses by MIS, via
University of Nottingham Library Online Catalogue].
The Trouble with Enterprise Software [Cynthia Rettig, MIT Sloan Management Review,
August 8, 2007]
LexisNexis? order fulfilment system. [An automatic BPMS]
The Brain Behind The Big, Bad Burger And Other Tales Of Business Intelligence. [Example
of the use of Business Intelligence]
ERP Market 2006 - short article
Reel-time analytics - example from a DVD retailer
No business is an island; they are all connected to customers and suppliers by business
processes and information systems. Organisations exist within the 'ecosystem' called the
global economy. The focus of this lecture will be on the complexity generated by inter-
organisational business processes and how this can be managed for sustainability and
Relationships between organisations
A systems view of supply chains & business networks
Inter-organisational coordination: ?managing dependencies?
Two examples of managing inter-organisational complexity
- standards: BP Exploration and Production case
- standards: Electric Co case
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Modular architectures & e-business networks
The dangers of unprotected relations
Please read before lecture:
Shaw, D. R., Snowdon R., Holland, C. P., Kawalek, P. and Warboys, B. (2004) The Viable
Systems Model Applied To A Smart Network: The Case Of The UK Electricity Market,
Journal of Information Technology, 19.
[Pages 1135-1140 only] Child J and McGrath R G (2001) Organizations Unfettered:
Organizational Form in an Information Intensive Economy, Academy of management
Journal, 44 (6). [Emerging core challenges to organisational form mostly driven by
information systems, via University of Nottingham Library Online Catalogue].
Richard P J and Devinney T M (2005) Modular Strategies: B2B Technology and Architectural
Knowledge, California Management Review, 47(4), summer. [Different network forms of
organising supported by information technology, via University of Nottingham Library Online
The extended enterprise Phil Jones, Infoconomy.com, 19 September 2005.
Holland C P, Shaw, D R and Kawalek P (forthcoming) BP?s Multi-Enterprise Asset
Management System, Information and Software Technology.
Hagel J (2002) Leveraged Growth: Expanding Sales Without Sacrificing Profits, Harvard
Business Review, 80(10) 69-77. [Li & Fung the global supply chain orchestrator, via
University of Nottingham Library Online Catalogue]
Holland, C. P., Shaw, D. R. and Westwood, J. B. (2004) Marketing Translation Services
Internationally: Exploiting IT to Achieve a Smart Network, Journal of Information Technology,
19. [The paper on TheBigWord, via University of Nottingham Library Online Catalogue]
Ward M (2005) Deadly plague hits Warcraft world, BBC News website.
Lethal guinea pig kills virtual people, Friday, 12th May, 2000, BBC News website.
Tétrault J, Taoufiki M, and Tazi-Riffi A O (2005) Morocco's offshoring advantage, McKinsey
Shaw, D. R., Holland, C. P., Kawalek, P., Snowdon R. and Warboys, B. (2006) Electronic
Commerce Strategy In The U.K. Electricity Industry: The Case Of Electric Co And Dataflow
Software, International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, 2 (3), 38-60.
The extended enterprise Phil Jones, Infoconomy.com, 19 September 2005. [Evolving IT
outsourcing to business process outsourcing to services]
Holland C P, Shaw, D R and Kawalek P (forthcoming) BP?s Multi-Enterprise Asset
Management System, Information and Software Technology. [A technology-led solution to a
highly complex, high pressure environment]
Ward M (2005) Deadly plague hits Warcraft world, BBC News website. [Example of
Loosening up: How process networks unlock the power of specialization, John Seely Brown,
Scott Durchslag, and John Hagel III in HBR.
Topic 5: Security for e-businesses
Previous lectures have demonstrated the importance of information systems in the
successful functioning of modern business processes, both intra- and inter-organisationally.
However, from a security perspective e-commerce is immature in its relations with external
businesses and consumers, and this immaturity is increasingly being taken advantage of by
different business, criminal and private entities.
This lecture introduces some of the different perspectives on e-business security that
managers need to be aware of. The importance of security is justified and the links to
information systems technology and social systems are explained. The multiple and evolving
threats to business are developed into an overall architecture for a security policy.
Introduction: why security is an important issue
- the technology
- the people
Business process view
Please read before lecture:
Laudon and Laudon chapter 10
PWC Information Security Breaches Survey
Dutta A and McCrohan K (2002)
Sophos white paper
Whitman M E (2003) Enemy at the gate: Threats to information security, Communications of
the ACM, 46(8), p. 91. [Main threats, scale and seriousness from a survey of IT managers
and staff, via University of Nottingham Library Online Catalogue]
Dutta A and McCrohan K (2002) Management's Role in Information Security in a Cyber
Economy, California Management Review, 45 (1), p67. [Key components of an information
Sophos white paper [What spam filters look for and the dirty tricks that spammers use. Spam
filters use simple rules to recognise spam email but spammers try to get around these rules
and thus precipitate an 'arms race']
The Spamhaus Project url
Software security market 2006
BERR Information Security Breaches Survey 2008. [Latest survey giving illustrations of
business security risks and their trends]
Hackers booby trap legitimate sites.
Net criminals shun virus attacks
Apple iPhone issue highlights security debate.
Cyber crime tool kits go on sale
Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, September 2008
Malware in the safezone: Illegitimate code embedded in seemingly safe websites is replacing
email as the main method of delivering malware
The wider business implications of risk and complexity
Spamalytics: An Empirical Analysis of Spam Marketing Conversion
Topic 6: Can firms leverage IT/S to gain competitive advantage?
Topics 6 to 9 form the second part of the module. They provide the theoretical knowledge
and technology-based insights needed to manage effective problem solving with information
technologies/systems (IT/S), and to extract most value from an actual and potential use of
IT/S. The second part combines lectures and case studies to help participants develop
insights into the issues and complexities of managing IT/S.
Topic 5 begins by providing the setting and the context of whether firms can leverage IT/S to
gain competitive advantage. It examines the relationship between IT investment and firm
productivity. It underlines the importance of studying the relationship at firm rather than
macro economic level. It goes on to examine the types of firms that are most likely to benefit
from IT/S. The lecture ends by providing a general framework to guide firms to realize
Carr's article on 'IT doesn't matter'
Responses to Carr
Another polemical piece from Carr (O)
The end of Corporate Computing
This paper by Joe Peppard et al. (2007) introduces the Benefits Dependency Network (BDN)
and illustrates how firms can use BDN to better realize business benefits from IT.
Responses to Joe Peppard et al. article.
Taking RFID with Wal-Mart's CIO
RFID Progress at Wal-Mart
Wal-Marts New CIO Says Hell Back RFID
The CRM article by Goodhue et al. (2002).
The limits to IT value by Chircu and Kauffman (2000).
Ppt slides for "Realizing IT Values"
How to better align IT/S with business strategy?
This lecture introduces the concept of alignment; identifies the factors that influence
alignment; examines the intermediaries between alignment and firms' performance; and
introduces the 'practice approach' including the use of balanced scorecard to provide a more
realistic evaluation of IT/S as part of a performance measurement system in translating
strategy to outcomes and in achieving sustainable business-IT alignment.
Introduces the concept of alignment, covering many
Luftman (1999) "Strategic alignment"
Reports SIM survey of CIO key issues, plus more
useful material on alignment (HR)
Luffman (2005) Key issues for Chief Information
Important case study cited in lecture slides (HR).
First America case study, full paper (PDF)
Interesting research paper with several short cases
Reich and Benbasat (2000) "Social dimension of
Package of optional further readings. Ciborra is HR!
Note Sabherwal is in misc. section
Note this is a ZIP file
Interview with CIO of major financial services
organisation, pseudonym "Acme". Very interesting
observations on alignment and other issues on the
contemporary CIO's agenda. Much wisdom and
insight to be found herein (E).
Interview with GP (CIO, Acme) full transcript
Extract from the recent "Best Value" report of a
nameless City Council. Shows how essential IS/IT
has become to the strategic agenda in local
Alignment in Erewhon City Council: Best Value
Most recent article by Chan et al. (2007)
Rom's article on balanced scorecard