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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Management Information and Information Systems

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Information and communication systems and technologies (ICTs) are part of our daily lives, at home and at work. Public sector organisations increasingly adopt ICTs to improve their service delivery. Policies to better serve citizens, businesses and patients, among others, are continuously issued by government. However, Public Service Industries (PSOs) need to translate such policies into practical action. Too often, ICTs are implemented but their potential is never realised, and the end users do not easily perceive their benefits. Failure occurs, creating a massive waste of public finance, public servants’ time and effort, and depreciated infrastructures.

While the course focus on public sector organisations, the course material is also relevant to the circumstances and staff of non-governmental (NGO) and non-profit organisations.

This course seeks to address three issues:

  • the great potential of information systems and technologies in the public sector;
  • the reasons behind the widespread failure to achieve that potential;
  • the possibilities of, and constraints on, closing this gap between potential and actuality through appropriate management.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight ‘course units’. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Online Study Centre.


Richard Heeks (2006) Implementing and Managing eGovernment, Sage Publications, London
José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón (2010) Systems Practice in the Information Society Routledge


You will receive two volumes of Readings as part of the course materials. These are mainly case studies of computerised information systems in public sector organisations from around the world.

Online Study Centre

You will have access to the OSC, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OSC, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OSC also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

When you have completed all your work on this course, you will be able to

  • describe, define and handle confidently at a managerial level the latest information technology- and information systems-related terms
  • analyse actual and potential roles of information systems in your organisation in relation to knowledge and decision making
  • diagnose the causes of computerised information systems success or failure in your organisation
  • appropriately incorporate knowledge from managerial practices of technology in the private sector to PSOs
  • make an effective contribution to the management and development of new information systems in your organisation.

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: An Introduction to Information Systems in Public Sector Organisations
  • 1.1 Data and information in Public Sector Organisations (PSOs)
  • 1.2 Defining Information Systems I: The Process Model
  • 1.3 Systems and Systems Thinking
  • 1.4 The importance of knowledge
  • 1.5 The Reality of Information Systems in Public Sector Organisations
  • 1.6 Analysing Information Systems' Case Studies
  • 1.7 Defining Information Systems II: The 'Onion Ring' Contextual Model
  • 1.8 Information Systems and the Organisational Rationality-Reality Gap
  • 1.9 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 2: Information and Communication Technologies in the Knowledge Era
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 The Network Society
  • 2.3 The Structure of Networks
  • 2.4 Software Applications
  • 2.5 E-commerce: Supply and Sell
  • 2.6 Emerging Trends in ICTs
  • 2.7 Summary
Unit 3: Knowledge and Decision Making
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Data, Information and Knowledge Revisited
  • 3.3 Knowledge and its Management
  • 3.4 Decision Making
  • 3.5 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 4: People and Information in Organisations
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 People as Knowledge Workers
  • 4.3 Defining Organisations
  • 4.4 Management Roles and Management Information
  • 4.5 The Role of People in Information Systems
  • 4.6 The Impact of Computerised Information Systems on Organisations
  • 4.7 Emerging Issues of Information in Public Sector Organisations
  • 4.8 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 5: Types of Information Systems
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Types of Information Systems
  • 5.3 Knowledge Systems
  • 5.4 Structured Decisions: Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • 5.5 Unstructured Decisions: Decision Support Systems (DSS)
  • 5.6 Executive Information Systems (EIS)
  • 5.7 Information System Trends: CRM in the Public Sector
  • 5.8 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 6: Planning and Managing Information Systems
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 The Day-to-Day Responsibilities of IS Managers
  • 6.3 Revisiting the Information Society
  • 6.4 Dealing with Transformations
  • 6.5 Engagements
  • 6.6 Unintended Consequences
  • 6.7 A Final Consideration
  • 6.8 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 7: Information Systems Development
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Types of IS Development
  • 7.3 System Planning Revisited
  • 7.4 System Analysis
  • 7.5 System Design
  • 7.6 System Implementation
  • 7.7 System Support
  • 7.8 Closing the Reality-Rationality Gap in System Development
  • 7.9 Summary and Review Questions
Unit 8: eGovernment Strategy
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Key Messages So Far
  • 8.3 Defining eGovernment
  • 8.4 eGovernment in Practice
  • 8.5 Developing an eGovernment Strategy
  • 8.6 Summary and Review Questions

Method of assessment

You will complete two assignments, which will be marked by your course tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the course, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Online Study Centre. You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published in April of each year.