The information system at Wright Company has been developed in stages over the past 5 years and has been fully operational for the last 12 months. When the system was being designed, all department heads were asked to specify the types of information and reports they would need for planning and controlling operations. The systems department attempted to meet the specifications of each department head. Company management specified that certain other reports should also be prepared for department heads. During the 5 years of systems development and operation, there have been several changes in the department head positions due to attrition and promotions. The new department heads often made requests for additional reports according to their specifications. The systems department complied with all these requests. Reports were discontinued only on request by a department head and then only if it was not a standard report required by top management. As a result, few reports were, in fact, discontinued. Consequently, the system is generating a large number of reports each reporting period. Company management became concerned about the quantity of information that was being produced by the system. The internal audit department was asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the reports generated by the system. The audit staff determined early in the study that more information was being generated than could be used effectively. They noted the following reactions to this information overload:
i. Many department heads would not act on certain reports during periods of peak activity. The department head would let these reports accumulate with the hope of catching up during a subsequent lull.
ii. Some department heads had so many reports that they did not act at all on the information, or they made incorrect decisions because of misuse of the information.
iii. Frequently, action required by the nature of the report data was not taken until the department head was reminded by someone who needed the decision. These department heads did not appear to have developed a priority system for acting on the information produced by the data processing system.
iv. Department heads often would develop the information they needed from alternative, independent sources rather than using the reports generated by the system. This often was easier than trying to search among the reports for the needed data.

a. For each of the observed reactions, indicate whether they are functional or dysfunctional behavioral responses. Explain your answer in each case.
b. Assuming that one or more of the preceding were dysfunctional, recommend procedures the company could employ to eliminate the dysfunctional behavior and to prevent its recurrence.

  • CreatedFebruary 26, 2015
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