MIS Problems and Failiures: A Socio-Technical Perspective -- Part I: The Causes

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Abstract

Many of the problems and failures of Management Information Systems (MIS) and Management Science/Operations Research (MS/OR) projects have been attributed to organizational behavioral problems. The millions of dollars organizations spend on MIS and MS/OR developments are of little benefit because systems continue to fail. Steps can be taken to understand and solve these behavioral problems.

This article argues that in most cases these behavioral problems are the result of inadequate designs. These bad designs are attributed to the way MIS systems designers view organizations, their members, and the function of an MIS within them, i.e., systems designers’ frames of reference. These frames of reference cause faulty design choices and failures to perceive better design alternatives. Seven conditions are discussed which reflect current systems designers’ points of view.

The discussion of these conditions demonstrates the need to reframe MIS design methodology within the Socio-Technical Systems (STS) design approach and change systems designers’ perspectives. The STS approach is introduced as a realistic view of organizations and a way to change them.

Additional Details

Author Robert P. Bostrom and J. Stephen Heinen
Year 1977
Volume 1
Issue 3
Keywords MIS problems and failures, behavioral problems, MIS design and implementation, socio-technical design, systems designers
Page Numbers 17-32