Information and Organizations
Course Composition and Objectives
- Organizational Strategy and Enterprise Architecture: Students will understand how organizational strategy drives business processes and technology decisions.
- Organizational Structure: Students will be able to analyze the organizational structure of a variety of organizations based on the characteristics of organizational design, information processing, and information flow.
- Organizational Culture: Students will be able to analyze an organization’s culture, including underlying rules, values, and norms regarding power and politics, gender and diversity, and global differences.
- Organizational Ethics: Students will be able to identify ethical issues underlying a given situation.
- Organizational Decision Making: Students will be able to identify relevant stakeholders and anticipate the types of information needed to support organizational tasks and decision-making at multiple levels in the organizational structure.
- Distributed Work: Students will be able to describe the difference between individual work and distributed work, including tasks, decision making, and information needs.
- Digital business: Students will be able to analyze the impact that digital business and the Internet of Things has on an organization’s strategy, structure, culture, and decision making.
- Instructors Choice: Instructors may choose topics and learning objectives that meet the spirit of the course as defined here. Instructors may choose to devote more time to the learning objectives listed above or to add additional, complimentary objectives. Supplementary material and objectives should not overlap with the defined content of other courses in the curriculum.
Organizations exist to help direct human and capital resources toward activities that support the organization’s goals. The organization’s structure helps to determine the division of tasks, the roles and responsibilities of individuals within the organization, and the reporting lines of staff through their managers. When the organizational structure matches with the tasks and the purpose of the organization, they are said to have achieved a strategic fit where the organization is operating at high levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
Information technology systems support organizations by linking the individuals within them to facilitate (1) communication, (2) decision-making, and (3) coordination. Information technology systems are designed by evaluating the culture of the organization and understanding the flow of tasks between individuals and between functional areas. Within the IT system design, it is very important to consider what the various stakeholders within the organization need of the system, including how they want to interact with the system and how their work is supported by the system.
In today’s complex and interconnected world where global commerce is supported by globally distributed work, IT systems are increasingly expected to also help coordinate activities across organizations. Moreover, successful organizations will leverage global differences to add value to their activities.
In IST 301, Information and Organizations, students will learn the basic principles of organizational design, including the various ways an organization can be structured, the importance of culture in determining underlying rules and values for the organization, and the relationship of tasks and information flows as they support decision-making and activity. Students will also gain a better appreciation for the importance of diversity within the organization, as well as explore the role that organizational ethics plays in the operations of the organization.
From an IT systems perspective, students will learn how IT systems can support individuals, teams, and distributed work. Students will explore the way that information collected in one part of the organization can be combined with information collected elsewhere to inform the organization’s employees and decision-makers. An important aspect of this includes how IT systems can create competitive advantage for an organization by enabling it to recognize important business, financial and/or market trends both within and outside of the organization and to act on this information more quickly than its competitors.