Searching and Scanning: How Executives Obtain Information From Executive Information Systems

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Abstract

Executive information systems may be used in different ways by managers in retrieving information. Two common modes of use are scanning, or general browsing of data; and focused search, or seeking answers to specific questions or well-defined problems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the antecedents of these two different modes of EIS use and also to examine their implications for perceived performance changes.

The results show that, whenexecutives focus their use of EIS to answer specific questions or solve well-defined problems, they help to fine-tune operations and verify assumptions -- in other words, they help to make the organization more efficient. However, an EIS may also lead an executive to challenge fundamental managerial assumptions and preconceptions when using it to scan through information without having specific questions in mind. In this mode, an EIS may be used to help formulate problems and foster creativity -- thereby improving organizational effectiveness.

EISs were found to contribute to gains in efficiency much more frequently than to gains in effectiveness. Companies that want to achieve greater effectiveness should pay attention to the role of the EIS in the scanning behavior of their managers. Factors that influenced the extent to which managers would engage their EIS in scanning included the extent to which EIS scanning was undertaken by others in the organization and the characteristics of the EIS itself.

Additional Details

Author Betty Vandenbosch and Sid L. Huff
Year 1997
Volume 21
Issue 1
Keywords Executive information systems, information search behavior, information scanning, focused information search, IS performance
Page Numbers 81-107