Key Information Systems Management Issues for the Public Sector

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Abstract

The public sector has multiple, conflicting, and often intangible goals. It produces “public goods” for problems that should be solved (like crime and poverty), even though these problems may have no known feasible solutions; and it is heavily impacted by politics and bureaucratic red tape. These and other features of the public sector make it potentially a much different setting for IS management than the private sector. This article reports on the first national survey of public sector managers identifying their most important IS issues. The survey, covering respondents from federal, state, and local governments, drew upon prior survey research in the private sector and the literature on public/private sector differences.

While most of the top public sector issues also appear on the top private sector issue lists, the rankings show a lag in public IS development as compared to the private sector. Perhaps the most interesting results of the survey, however, are from a deeper analysis. At the main effects-level, we have preliminary evidence that (1) middle-level (instead of top-level) public managers are critical for IS technology development; (2) small government agencies are more interested in IS technology transfer than large ones; (3) governments with a lot of red tape tend to have flexible IS; an d(4) local government IS issues are driven by transaction processing while state and federal governments have IS more suitable for their oversight mission.

Additional Details

Author Sharon L. Caudle, Wilpen L. Gorr, and Kathryn E. Newcomer
Year 1991
Volume 15
Issue 2
Keywords MIS managers, opinion survey, information systems management, key issues, management priorities
Page Numbers 171-188