Name : Fiona N Chirwa (L0140205P)
Faculty : Commerce
Department : Human Capital Development
Programme : Human Resource Management
Topic: The Role of Management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness in the private sector. A case study of Kango Products
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Human Resource management offered by Lupane State University
DEDICATIONThis project research is dedicated to my family which have my first love and which l will always love, the one which encouraged me and have given me the hope and support to carry on. With all gratitude thank you for your unwavering support
Undertaking a research study needs help, no one has ever done a research study on her own. A lot of support and resources have been inputted in terms of time, hope, trust, talent and ideas by various men from various institutions and departments as this will be evident by the depth and wide coverage of the research study.
To Kango Products I would like to extend my gratitude to all the managers and employees for their dependable and usual cooperation. In particular l would like to express much appreciation to Mr G. Moyo for allowing and giving me the opportunity to carry out my study at Kango products of this sensitive issue, thank you sir may the gracious Lord grant you the desires of your heart. Many thanks to all that took part during the data collection stage of this research study. It is my wish that you continue to have that cooperative spirit to others and may all your wishes be fulfilled by God.
To my supervisor Mrs S. Manzini, l extend my heartfelt gratitude for sacrificing a lot of time to make this project a success and your invaluable expertise, enthusiasm and commitment in directing my efforts during the making of this distinctive research project.
The state university of Lupane l am grateful, my sincere appreciation to the department of human capital development for granting the opportunity to reveal the scholarly skills they imparted to me during my four years at the institution.
I would like also to recognise the efforts made by my friends and my classmates and all those in my life. Thank you for encouraging me. You made my life easier in many issues, and your sacrifice will be rewarded by the Great One. What you did to me, do not tire to do unto others.
To my family for the ever continual unconditional support and love, thank you so much.
Above all, glory and praise be unto God who gives wisdom, understanding and grace which makes all things possible and the strength that made me push through excellently above what l thought, imagined and ever hoped for by his power that is ever at work in me.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis research investigates the role of Management Information System (MIS) in a private sector at Kango products as an organisation and how it enhances operational efficiency and effectiveness in the organisation’s performance.
The study encompassed 5 main objectives that centred around finding out the type of information system(s) that is used, determining the benefits of the system to the motivation of workers, finding out if there were any challenges related to the system(s) in use, how operational efficiency is measured and getting to know what can be done to improve the role of management information systems.
The research also collected primary data from observations and through conducted interviews. The sample population in this study consisted of forty respondents, and data collected was presented using tables, graphs and pie charts. The research used qualitative and quantitative research design and a non-random sampling method. The research findings have shown that management information system have a crucial role in enhancing organisational performance, though not fully utilised by the organisation probably due to lack of resources to acquire more of such equipment.
Results obtained from the study showed that, there are mixed feelings towards the system as rated by different groups of respondents as managerial employees gave the impression that it was generally effective, whereas non-managerial workers thought it was rather ineffective. However the challenges that were made known to the researcher revealed that it was more on the part of the employees not operating the systems correctly.
From the data collected, the researcher established the following conclusions: the system in use, though old but not obsolete, is particularly favoured by the managerial workers as they see it fitting with the line of business, which the researcher observed. However, non-managerial employees did not favour the system due to their own faults and weaknesses.
This study recommends that Kango as an organisation must fully adopt and invest in the implementation of MIS/IT such that it make use of information technology to help managers ensure a smooth and efficient running of the organization.
CHAPTER ONE1.0 Introduction
MIS as noted by Saogy (1989), seeks to know the motive for work and to find ways by which their realization can be helped and encouraged to ensure effectiveness. MIS is of immense importance in today’s world. During this age of liberalization and globalization business firms are required to compete not locally but globally. In such a circumstance a manager has to take quick decisions to capitalize the opportunities as and when it arises. Efficiency and effectiveness is possible only with the aid of a system like MIS which provides systematically analysed information of high quality in the form of personalized reports.
Secondly today, in this age of high speed internet access and low cost, highly capable hardware components organizations are provided with abundance of data from both external and internal sources, but at present there are only a very few organizations that are capable of capitalizing this advantage. So today MIS is considered to be named the centre of a successful organization because it ensures operation efficiency and effectiveness at operational level. Management information systems are used to monitor results, control activities, and assess and plan new services, while at strategic level they are used to summarise trends and processes that enable senior management to effectively manage the strategic direction of an organisation, Cloete (2003).
Odger and Keeling (2000) stipulates that one way businesses meet information needs is through the use of MIS. The reason why Management Information Systems are very important in the day to day operation of companies is because these systems work with people, organizations, technology and relationships among the people and organizations affecting the company. This means that when properly implemented, Management Information Systems will help achieve a high level of efficiency in a company’s management operations.
In addition to that, Charles (2002) brings to light that just like energy and politics, technology is changing the ways in which information is captured, processed, stored, disseminated and used. Information, therefore like any other resources in an organization, should be properly managed to ensure its cost effective use. It is an ingredient that is vital to good management and if it is properly managed it should rank in importance with the organization’s personnel material and financial resources.
Abdullahi (2004), points out that management information system is generally thought of as an integrated user machine system providing information to support operations, management and decision-making functions in an organization. As a matter of fact an MIS is a special-purpose system useful for management in an organization. MIS is an accessible and rapid conveyor belt for appropriate high quality information from its generation to its users. The heart of an effective MIS, therefore is a carefully conceived, designed and executed database. Its level corresponds to adaptive decisions.
The role of management information systems has been the centre of attention for the past years. Failure of private sector’s to adapt to change and lack of understanding changes in operating procedures from the old to the new system and users viewing information systems negatively and therefore not giving it full support made the researcher to consider the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency with special reference to Kango products.
Kango Products is a member of Treger Group of companies founded by Morris Treger in 1934. Kango Products consists of two manufacturing divisions, namely Hollowware and Appliances. The total staff compliment presently stands at just over 1500 with 70% of the labour employed in the Hollowware Division. A vast range of products in both enamelled steel and aluminium are manufactured by the hollowware division. At the Kango Foundry, quality cast iron is produced including casserole dishes, frying pans and steak grillers. All Hollowware is marketed under the Kango brand which is a household name throughout the region. Hollowware is exported to regional countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. Kango as a big company with many workers also faces a challenge when it comes to operational effectiveness.
The Appliance Division manufactures a range of domestic cookers and minor appliances. The cookers are marketed under the brand names Superior, Monarch and Fuchs ware and models include a 2plate, 3plate and 4plate standard, 4plate deluxe. In addition to this range various designs of ovens, hobs and under counter units are also manufactured and also include single and double hot plates and enamel kettles. They also manufacture 2kg, 4kg and 5kg gas cylinders, as well as gas stoves and burner tops. The Appliance Division exports a considerable quality of its out-put to South Africa as well as Botswana and Zambia. In these products being manufactured at Kango the role of management information systems is very essential in order to ensure operational effectiveness to produce quality goods that satisfy customers.
The range is further supplemented by an imported range of minor appliances including mini ovens, microwaves, and washing machines, two bar heaters, kettles, toasters and irons which are marketed under the Fuchs ware brand.
The company is ISO 9001:2015 Certified, with all its operations being done to provide quality world class products and services. Hence it becomes difficult to manage information systems in all these departments as workers focus on different aspects and the fact that Kango is a manufacturing industry adapting to new systems is a challenge. The structure of the company has got many different sections as a result it takes time to train all the workers to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness as some departments are located far hence users of information do not understand fully the implications of their roles.
As technology advances and regulations change, Kango continues to improve systems to reduce waste, impacts, risks and effectively utilize resources to meet the S. H.E.Q challenges of the current and future generations and exceed customer expectations.
1.2 Statement of the problem
According to Parker and Case (1993), due to rapid technological advancements, change-sometimes disruptive change is a fact of life for computer professionals, users and managers. In the organization employees are asked to adapt to new systems, hardware, software and regular basis. The use of technology has many positive and effective advantages that are reflected on the organization itself such as technological development, competition, the desire to improve work and others, which leaves various outcomes and results on the organization, both at the level of work and the services provided. So the problem of the study is illustrated by the lack of awareness, failure to advance and knowledge of the impact of using management information systems to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Akinola (2003), points out that despite utilization of MIS in its various forms there still seems to be some problems that infringe on the operational efficiency and effectiveness of employees in an organization. Failure to train the workforce when applying an Information Systems in a company, without a proper understanding of how the system works, it can be hard to reap the full benefits of using it. This further cultivates selection of wrong type of information system because of lack of understanding especially in operating procedures from the old to the new system.
The problem of the study lies in the fact that Kango Products has not accommodated change towards the use of technology in performing its functions and operations; it rather remained in the same position away from progress and excellence, due to the intensification of competition between private and public organizations as a result of the multiplicity and diversity of services and organizations that provide such services on one hand, and the high level of their needs and expectations and desires, and different standards of judgment of the quality of services that they consume the other hand. A change in the bigger system or any of these subsystems causes an organisation to realign itself with the change. Such realignment is effected by continuously scanning the environment for possible changes in the business environment and by choosing new strategies for the organisation, Smit, Cronje ; Vrba, (2007).
Parker and Case (1993), proposes that some people no matter what is done to encourage or coax them, are reluctant to change or may outright refuse to do so. Resistance to change were users view information systems negatively and therefore not giving it full support is also another problem at Kango products. Failure of users to understand implications fully of their role promote inadequate and incomplete documentation it is also another problem at Kango products. These problems overwhelmed the researcher to embark on a research of the role of management information systems to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness.
1.3 Objectives of the study1) To establish the management information system in place at Kango Products.
2) To identify the benefits of MIS in the motivation of workers.
3) To determine how the operational efficiency is currently measured.
4) To determine problems associated with MIS.
5) To recommend best practices to improve the role of management information systems.
1.4 Research questions1) Which management information system is in place at Kango?
2) What are the benefits of MIS in the motivation of workers?
3) How the operational efficiency is currently measured?
4) What are the problems associated with MIS?
5) What can be practiced to improve the role of management information systems?
1. 5 Statement of hypothesesIn the research the hypotheses which will be subject to testing are:
Ho = Management of information systems does not ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness at Kango Products.
Ha = Management of information system is positive or negative in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness at Kango products.
1.6 Purpose of the studyThe researcher deemed it necessary to evaluate the role of management information system as some users do not understand fully the implications of their roles. The hope was to motivate and create an awareness of giving full support to view information system positively and flexible to adapt to changes that occurs. This paper seeks to abreast managers at Kango Products to provide adequate training so there is understanding in terms of changes in operating procedures from the old to the new system.
According to Baskerville and Myers (2002), MIS is the development use and application of information systems by individuals, organizations and society. The hope is that employees would see the needs to equip and avail themselves of the knowledge of MIS in modern technologies to fit into the challenging world of work. The study also seeks to provide directional guidelines to the organization that will improve the role of management systems in ensuring operational effectiveness. This study seeks to help the researcher get an in-depth understanding of information systems as they work with people, organizations, technology and relationships among the people. The purpose of this research is to explore the extent to which the role of management information systems are used to make effective decisions in ensuring operational efficiency at Kango products.
The study intends to make a contribution towards addressing the challenges of managing information and management information systems used to measure organisational effectiveness in the private sector. The purpose of the study is to describe the current state of management information systems in place in the department and establish their ability to enhance organisational effectiveness. The study explores and describes management information systems currently in place in the department and how they are used to measure operational efficiency. The study aims to provide readily tools for managers to make the effective and efficient decisions on MIS.
1.7 LimitationsThere were considerable setbacks and constraints which the researcher was subject to when carrying out the study and these affected on the objectivity and dependability of the results.
Financial resources and material resources reduced the depth of the scope of the study since it was not availed to her in her research timely, it reduced on the number of visits the researcher made to the related research company.
The researcher did not do this research study only, she was doing it concurrently with other lectures of other courses which resulted in divided attention and number of visits to the organizations being reduced. Lack of practical skills and experience also was the limiting factor, since it was the researcher’s first time to undertake the study of this magnitude. Moreover, unwillingness to disclose some vital documents to the researcher, possible limited access to confidential information, which was useful for the purposes of the research and also lack of expected cooperation from the selected respondents.
Scarcity of relevant textbooks in the library also limited the researcher to get the information she wanted to work on her research. However despite the constraints outlined above the researcher tried to reduce their negative impact on the study by securing all the funds and materials needed prior starting the project.
1.8 AssumptionsThe researcher had the assumption that selected interviewees will respond in time, before undertaking research. The hope was that respondents have a general understanding of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness. More so the assumption was that information collected from respondents was accurate, relevant and can be relied on. The researcher looked forward to the sample going to be used that it would be the best representation of the total population. The researcher was also hoping to get enough resources which would enable her to carry out the study effectively (enough time and financial resource would be available to carry out the research and meet necessary costs). The other assumption was less bias in as far as the responses are concerned, that the responses and how the researcher was conducting the research will reduce the element of bias.
1.9 Scope of the studyThis research’s main focus is on the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness in the private sector. Other systems outside information systems will not be discussed or addressed in detail. This will allow the researcher to clearly focus on the role of management information systems accordingly to the research topic.
Although most of the findings of this research will apply to all private sectors, the focus mainly is on Kango Products. It will also focus on the measure of operational efficiency and effectiveness in the organization. Most of the information upon which the study is based will be sourced from the Human Resource Management Department, as well as the Information Technology department. However, due to informational and transport constraints this will be restricted to the branch of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
1.10 Definitions of key terms, concepts and variablesManagement information systems, According to Langemo (1980), MIS has been defined as the organization wide capability of creating, maintaining, retrieving and making immediately available the right information, in the right place, at the right time, in hands of the right people, at the lowest cost, in the best media, for use in decision making. In the same vein, Best (1988) defines information management as the economic, efficient and effective co-ordination of the production, control, storage and retrieval and dissemination of information from external and internal sources, in order to improve the performance of the organization.
Information system, an information system is defined as a set of interrelated elements that collect, manipulate, store and disseminate data and information with a feedback mechanism, Stair and Reynolds (2012).
Information, Stonecash (1981) also defines information by stating that information is simply symbols (data, text, images, voices) that convey meaning through their relative ordering, timing, shape, context, information is the raw material for making decisions for creating knowledge and fuelling the modern organization.
Effectiveness, According to Smith and Clark, (2007) is a measure of the ability of a system to meet its specified needs or requirements from a particular viewpoint.
Operational efficiency, is the capability of an enterprise to deliver products or services to its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible while still ensuring the high quality of its products, service and support.
The previous chapter provided an overview of the study; this chapter covers the theoretical framework to address the research problem of determining the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness. In this section, the researcher analysed and made a thorough review of literature available concerning the effectiveness of management systems. The literature review is based on both empirical and theoretical evidence thus it looks into what various scholars say about the role of management information system(s) to ensure operational efficiency.
2.1.1 Simons’ frameworkSimons (1994) interprets management information systems as formal and information based routines and procedures used by management to control the activities of an organisation. He further points out that the system is based on four types of controls. The first is a belief system, which is a formal system used to communicate values and purpose that the top management wants to enforce. The second type of control is the boundary system which includes rules that must be respected.
The third system is the diagnostic control which includes a formal feedback system used to monitor outcomes. The fourth control system is the interactive control system which enables top management to interact with the subordinates. According to Ferreira and Otley (2009), Simon’s framework addresses the elements of performance management which are: core values, identification of risks, critical performance variables, and strategic uncertainties. The framework is focused on top management control and it does not work where there is less formal control. It can be noted that this theory is applicable to this study as it looks at the role of management information systems to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness.
2.1.2 Melville et al. frameworkMelville et al. (2004) propose an integrative resource based model of IT business value which comprises focal firm, competitive environment and macro environmental domains. The authors support the argument that information technology contributes to business value and they further argue that the extent and dimensions of IT value depend on internal and external factors (Melville et al., 2004:284).
In addition to that the framework points out that internal factors include IT types, organisational structure, and management practices, while external factors are the macro-environment and competitive environment. The study focuses on focal firm domain only, because it is limited to internal factors of an organisation. The focal firm domain is the internal environment of an organisation. The focal firm domain refers to deployment of IT and other resources to achieve IT business value within an organisation. The focal firm domain includes IT and other complementary resources, business processes, business process performance, and organisational performance (Melville et al., 2004).
Melville et al. (2004) further asserts that information technology resources consist of IT infrastructure and human capital. IT infrastructure includes shared technology and services within an organisation, specific business applications, and hardware and software. Human capital refers to an organisation’s expertise and knowledge. Expertise includes IT skills such as application development, integration and system maintenance, managerial expertise required to mobilise resources, and project management.
Complementary organisational resources include non-IT physical and non-IT human and capital resources, structure, policies, rules, workplace practices, and culture. Business processes refer to activities where inputs are converted into outputs IT makes it possible to improve business processes by synthesising and integrating activities across the organisation for better performance, (Melville et al.,2004).
2.1.3 Petter et al. frameworkThe determinants of information system success summarised by Petter et al (2013) are tasks, characteristics of users, projects, and social and organisational determinants. The task determinant relates to work activity supported by an information system. For the purpose of the study, work activity constitutes measuring organisational operational efficiency. The
determinant focuses on the fit between the task and the information system; the importance of the task within the business process; the level of clarity of the task supported by information system; and task interdependence which further leads to operational efficiency and effectiveness.
DeLone and McLean’s (1992) information success model is based on six interdependent variables, which are information quality, system quality, system use, user satisfaction, individual impact, and organisation impact. The user variable relates to the individual user’s attitude towards technology and change. This includes expectations, experience, role in the organisation, education, age, and tenure in the organisation (Petter et al., 2013).
Social determinants refer to the social network’s influence on an individual, for example, the user’s perception of how others view him or her owing to the use of information systems. The project determinant relates to the process of identifying, developing and implementing an information system. The organisational determinant of information system success is the most relevant variable for this study. The variable relates to all-encompassing organisational procedures and the environment with regard to management support, management processes, organisational competence, IT infrastructure, IT investment, IT governance and organisational size (Petter et al., 2013:18).
2.1.4 System theory and system thinkingMingers and White (2010) states that primary concepts on systems thinking were introduced in disciplines like biology, physics, psychology and they include sub-concepts such as: parts/wholes, environment, structure/process, positive and negative feedback, information and control, open systems, holism, and the observer.
More to that, Mashayekhi (2000) interprets that system approach in operations management generally, applying systems thinking within the field of operations management is based on viewing the organisation as a system that aims at improving efficiency and effectiveness. Many other researchers have shown how systems dynamics thinking can be the basis for analysing complex organisational operations, like supply chain management, Beth et al. (2003)
2.2.1 Conceptual framework41939314396Operational efficiency
1964690279400057785053975Management information system
00Management information system
The comprehensive review revealed that limited research has attempted to measure effectiveness at an organisational level. This particular stream of research has been criticised for its inability to create a common theoretical base and incompatibly across the information systems studies. In simple words, there are few research studies and frameworks that measure the impact of MIS on firm effectiveness and those attempting to measure it produced conflicting findings. The frameworks states mostly the concepts of management information systems the role is not clearly stated.
2.2.2 Effectiveness at an organisational levelThe limited research on IS effectiveness at the organisational level has produced contradicting results. Some researchers found a significantly positive impact from IT implementation on performance. This relationship was further supported by Brynjolfsson and Hitt (1996) who studied 367 large firms and found that the investment in Information systems had made a statistically significant contribution to firm performance.
Other researchers, however, produced different results. Another stream of research found no relationship between IT investment and organisational performance. Woolridge, (1990)
Weill (1992) categorised IT investment on behalf of management objective strategic, informational and transactional and tested it against the following four measures of performance: two measures of labour productivity, sales growth and return on assets. His results were different for each objective because the transactional IT investment was found to be significantly associated with strong firm performance whereas, use of strategic IT was found to have no connection in the long term and was associated only with relatively poorly performing firms in the short term.
2.3.1 Management Information system(s)According to Davis (2000), information systems consist of information technology infrastructure, application systems, and personnel that use information technology to deliver information and communications services for transaction processing, operations, administration and management of an organisation. An information system infrastructure consists of system applications, data, servers and the network. However Gu and Jung (2013) argue that information system resources are a combination of attributes which comprise an organisation’s knowledge and expertise; internal and external relationships between the ICT component with business units and external stakeholders; technical skills; and infrastructure.
According to Hasan et al (2013) management information system is a type of information system that take internal data from the system and summarize it to meaningful and useful forms as management reports to use it to support management activities and managerial decision making. Al-Mamary et al (2014) proposes that management information systems basically concerned with converting data from internal sources into information which is then communicated to managers at all the levels in all functions to make timely and effective decisions for planning, directing and controlling the activities for which they are responsible.
Nath and Badgujar (2013) asserts that management information system(s) provide reports to various managers among the middle and low level managers of the organization. Especially, for middle level managers’ management information system provides the organizational
performance reports, which in turn help predicting the future performance of the organization. More so management information system provides several benefits to the business organization to come out with appropriate responses to a business situation; the means of effective and efficient coordination between different departments at all the levels of the organization; access to relevant data and documents; use of less labor; improvement in organizational and departmental techniques; management of day to day activities. Management information system provides a valuable time-saving benefit to the employees. Employees do not have to collect data manually for filing and analysis. Instead, that information can be entered quickly and easily into a computer program. Access to the information needed is faster which highlights operational efficiency and effectiveness.
In addition to that, Babu & Sekhar (2012) points out that the primary purpose of management information system is to help an organization achieve its goals by providing managers with insight into the regular operations of the organization so that they can control, organize, and plan more effectively. It can also be noted that management information system provide the right information to the right person in the right format at the right time as a result where they is effective flow of information the organization becomes effective.
Al- Najjar (2010), proposes that management information systems play a strategic role in the life of organizations, it helps the management to do various functions of planning, and organizing, directing, controlling and decision-making .Every business organization in this era needs management information system to keep track of all business activities.
Nowduri and Dossary (2012), further points out that managers cannot ignore management information systems because they play such a critical role in contemporary organizations. Today’s systems directly affect how managers decide, plan, and manage their employees, and, increasingly, they shape what products are produced, and where, when and how.
Nevertheless Simonova (2012), states that an information system solution should take indicators into consideration. This include identification of data content for each business activity that is to be supported by the information system. The author recommends that when identifying data content, input from people responsible for activities, process managers and quality managers, should be taken into consideration. Identification of data content informs requirements for the information system development to ensure that the information system is designed to support work activities and provide data required to measure the quality of performance of work activities.
Furthermore Kumar (2011) highlight that management information system used in organization for its business operation provides strong advancement in the field of information technology through which an organization can easily achieved the strategic objectives. It helps in decision support, venture management, resource and people management and data base retrieval application. The use of management information system in business organization support business processes, competitive strategies and business operation which result and impact the operational efficiency of the work force of the specific organization.
Aral (2010), illustrates that MIS plays the life blood role for an organization as no human can survive without it. Investment in MIS by the organization support it in core competencies, it also help in production process, human resources records, financial records and controlling and monitoring of the various activities which in turn impact the organization growth and development and also provide sound basis for strategic decision making process. Proper implementation of the technology in the organization can help in three dimensions one is Management information system, employee’s act, payroll structure or systems, control and monitoring of the employees and over all organization activities.
Olsson, (2010) notes that overall management can be best managed and controlled and by the appropriate execution of the MIS tools. Each and every departments work with full strength. He further says that the overall activities of the organization largely depends on main three things the proper use of equipped machinery, trained men power and good organization structure which in turn should be supported by best and sound supervision and control system all these bustles can only be best organized and managed when there is more conscious Management information system implemented, not only that but also trained IT specialist employees play an important role in the financial and payroll system of the organization where all the activities carrying on with best possible monitoring system.
Olsson, (2010) goes on to state that large productivity premium totally depends on the management information system of the organization. And also training employee’s management is related with great extent to productivity. Employee’s motivation is not enough for the complementarities but it should be explained through talent selection of employees. He says that all the managers and executives are afraid of different hazard analysis. It may be firm low yields, low output, time prediction errors (Alan D. Jagolinzer, 2006). All these things can only be controlled when trained employees with Technology that is Management information system so that they can best exercise times which have effects on financial reporting and also improve the estimates and forecasting decisions.
Consequently, the manager or system operator can use the time and resources he/she would have used in monitoring or fixing problems for other key uses. By routinely programming a Management Information System, the business is bound to make positive progress since time and resources can be easily channelled into rightful business paths (Allen, et al., 2010)
As a fundamental point, a good number of MIS used today can perform multiple tasks all at the same time. This potential to multitask increases efficiency in a company since several business operations can be conducted simultaneously. With special regards to decision making, the capacity to multitask ensures that decisions are made speedily when compared to those systems which can only handle one task at a time. In contributing to the arguments regarding role of MIS in improving decision making.
Rhodes (2010) also adds that management information systems give managers quick access to information. This can include interaction with other decision support systems, information inquiries, cross referencing of external information and potential data mining techniques. These systems can also compare strategic goals with practical decisions, giving managers a sense of how their decisions fit organizational strategy. In summary, Rhodes simply believes that management information systems are a huge contributing factor in the getting of viable information from organizations. Sadly, very few organizations have been able to ardently take up on this role and even lead other organization in the society in doing the same. It is for this reason that there has been a limited improvement in decision making based on the tailoring of viable information.
More over by blending the duties of these two extremes, Jahangir states that, this will ensure that both ends of the organization continue to actualize together while maximizing the potential for each side through check and balances of operations done by the management. Again, MIS is renowned for vesting its operations on systematic methods of operations. Crucially, this ensures that decisions made in a business are orderly and well-planned which, in effect, encourages objectivity during decision making. As a result, businesses and the decision making process are improved through its systematic and orderly formula of operating Jawadekar (2006).
An information system utilises computer and communications hardware and software, manual procedures, and internal and external repositories of data, Davis (2000). Stair and Reynolds (2012) define data as raw facts, and information as a collection of data that is organised and processed in a meaningful manner that adds value to the user. Converting raw data into information involves a process which results from performing logically related tasks to produce an outcome. The authors further define a system as a set of elements that interact to achieve a certain goal.
In order to improve the industry’s organizational capability and enhance its level of competition in the market, private sectors should understand the dimensions of the Information Management, and clearly define and develop the resources in case of human, technological, and internal operations, among others, and manage them well across the organizational boundaries. However, establishing the link between Information System Management, efficiency and operational effectiveness are at best, tricky.
However, conversely, there are many literatures approving the positive impacts of Information systems expenses on business value. Organizations that do not have formal Information sharing practices will fail to leverage their manager’s intellectual capital for business innovation and growth (O’Neill ; Adya, 2007). MIS enables the exchange of experiences, which transfers the required information to the management levels to sustain competitive advantage since it affects operational level to improve the quality of services provided.
Therefore, Barachini et al. (2009) supported that it is imperative that these organizations continuously motivate their employees to share valuable information so that their intellectual capital can be leveraged. Hence if training is well implemented at Kango products to engage all the employees to understand and easily adapt to changes that occur the company will better improve its operational level and be effective.
More to that, Obi (2003) suggested that MIS is indispensable in the area of operational effectiveness as it can monitor by itself the instability in a system, verify a course of action and take action to keep the system in control. Adebayo (2007) explained that the existence of MIS is needed to improve and enhance effectiveness on the issues affecting human and material resources. From the literatures presented, we can easily perceive that the importance of the role of both middle and top management to maintain a consistent approach to develop use, and evaluate MIS systems within the institution.
2.4 TYPES OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS2.4.1Transaction Processing Systems
Laudon (2006) points out transaction processing systems as basic business systems that serve the operational level of the organization. These systems have been designed to collect, process and store transactions that occur in the day to day operations of a company. The system can also be used to cancel or modify transactions done in the past if the need arises. One property of this system that enables them to work effectively is the ability to accurately record multiple transactions even if the different transactions take place simultaneously. They are built to be able to handle large volumes of transactions. Examples include stock control systems, payroll systems, order processing systems.
2.4.2 Decision Support Systems Khanore, et al (2011) proposes that decision support systems are specifically designed to help management make decisions in situations where there is uncertainty about the possible outcomes of those decisions. These systems help decision makers to make the best decisions by generating statistical projections from analysed data. Although it does not eliminate the need for the manager’s judgment, it significantly improves the quality of the decision by offering forecasts that help determine the best course of action. These systems compile information from several sources for purposes of aiding in decision making. Examples of these systems include computer supported cooperative work, group decision support systems, logistics systems and financial planning systems.
2.4.3 Executive Information Systems According to Patterson (2005), an executive information system provides senior managers with a system to assist in taking strategic and tactical decisions. It is a tool used for reporting enterprise-wide data to top executives. These systems provide quick and easy to use reports that are presented in graphical displays that are easy to compare. They can be taken as specialized decision support systems because they provide information necessary to help improve the quality of decisions. Owing to the high expectations from such a system, these systems need to be highly individualized hence they are usually custom made for specific clients. They are also customizable to fit the specific needs of the clients
2.4.4 Management Information SystemsKumar (2011) notes that Management information system used in organization for its It provides strong advancement in the field of information technology through which an organization can easily achieved the strategic objectives .These systems make use of information technology to help managers ensure a smooth and efficient running of the organization. Information collected by these systems is structured so that the managers can easily evaluate the company’s current performance previous outputs. Some of the common types of Management Information Systems include process control systems, human resource management systems, sales and marketing systems, inventory control systems, office automation systems, enterprise resource planning systems, accounting and finance systems and management reporting systems.
2.4.5 Human Resource Information SystemsAccording to Khanore, et al (2011), Human Resources Information Systems are process of producing, organizing, storing and distributing manpower information to help the organization managers at various levels, in order to make proper decisions. Nowadays the majority of successful companies are using human resource information systems to support daily operations of human resources. The human resources function is responsible for attracting, developing, and maintaining the firm’s work force. Human resources information systems support activities such as identifying potential employees, maintaining complete records on existing employees, and creating programs to develop employees’ talents and skills
2.4.6 Manufacturing and Production Information SystemsHernandez ; Rivera (1997) asserts that the production information system is a computer program that manages a database of information related to production. The manufacturing and production function is responsible for actually producing the firm’s goods and services. Manufacturing and production systems deal with the planning, development, and maintenance of production facilities; the establishment of production goals; the acquisition, storage, and availability of production materials; and the scheduling of equipment, facilities, materials, and labour required to fashion finished products. Manufacturing and production information systems support these activities.
Shim (2000) points out that the mission of a manufacturing information system is to apply computer technology to improve the process and the efficiency of a manufacturing system, thus raising quality of products and lowering the manufacturing costs. In other words, a manufacturing system is a system that takes material, equipment, data, management, and information systems technology as the input and uses manufacturing and information process to generate better final products as output.
2.5 Components of management information systems2.5.1 Information SystemAccording to Stair and Reynolds (2012), an information system is defined as a set of interrelated elements that collect, manipulate, store and disseminate data and information with a feedback mechanism. This is a combination of software, hardware, personnel and infrastructure. This component helps in the collection of data that is stored in the MIS. The hardware includes computers, scanners, printers and network devices. The software elements include the company’s enterprise software and any other software that is used in the running of the company’s network. This component makes it possible for employees to interact with the system and thus information can be collected.
2.5.2 Database Management SystemStair and Reynolds (2012), define data as raw facts and information as a collection of data that is organised and processed in a meaningful manner that adds value to the user. This component is primarily made up of computer programs that help in the storage and retrieval of data. It also includes the actual physical databases where the information is stored after it has been captured. There are several different database management systems that can be used in Management Information Systems. The suitability of the systems will depend on the amount of data that will need to be processed and stored in the system. There are small database management systems that can comfortably work on personal computers and there are huge ones that will need larger and more complex machines like mainframe computers.
2.5.3 Data Processing
In this process data is transferred from its initial structure to meaningful and valuable information. This process is divided into data classification, summarization, processing and testing as well as extracting results so that they are ready for timely use by beneficiaries.
2.5.4 Data collectionIn this process, data is obtained from different sources, taking into consideration the availability of reliability (correctness, accuracy, comprehensiveness) flexibility and appropriateness of cost and value.
2.6 Role of management information systemsAral (2010) proposes that proper implementation of the technology in the organization can help in three dimensions one is Management information system, employee’s act, payroll structure or systems, control and monitoring of the employees and over all organization activities.
The main role of Management Information Systems is to report on business operations with the purpose of supporting decision making. This is to ensure that the organization is managed in a better and more efficient way so that it can be able to achieve full potential thus gain competitive advantage.
To provide information readily to company decision makers
Kumar (2006) suggest that management information systems provides a fitting platform for good decision making. He further points out that MIS lays a firm foundation for the establishment of concrete decisions through its systematic tool, timely information and adequate managerial policies and regulations. Management Information Systems enhance this by strategically storing vast amounts of information about the company in a central location that can be easily accessed by managers over a network. This means that managers from different departments have access to the same information hence they will be able to make decisions that collectively help solve the company’s problems in the quickest way.
Management Information Systems also help in data collection
Data from everyday operations in the company is collected and brought together with data from sources outside the organization. This enables a healthy and functional relationship between distributors, retail outlets and any other members of the supply chain. It also helps keep good track of performance since production and sales numbers will be recorded and stored in a central database that can be accessed by all members of the MIS. Access to this information also helps ensure that problems are detected early and decisions are made quickly using the latest information
To promote collaboration in the workplace.
In any large company, there are many situations that call for input from several individuals or departments before decisions can be made. Without an efficient communication channel, these decisions can take a very long time. Even with good communication channels, if the different stakeholders do not have access to all the available data, the process would hit a number of snags before it is complete. Management Information Systems ensure that all the members of the decision-making group have access to all the data that is required to make the decision even if they are working from different physical locations.
To run possible scenarios in different business environments.
Before making a decision that will affect the overall standing of the business, a lot of precaution must be taken. There is a need to check and verify that the company will not suffer after making a decision. Management Information Systems enable executives to run what-if scenarios so that they can see how some of the important metrics in the business will be affected by a given decision. The data is presented in an easy way to understand reports and graphs that make interpretation easy. For example, a human resource manager will be able to tell what will happen to the revenue, production, sales and even profit after reducing the number of workers in a manufacturing department. Another example would be the effect of a price change on profitability. Once executives have been able to see whether or not the decision will be beneficial to the company, it is easier to make good decisions that will not leave the company in chaos.
Management Information systems give accurate projections of the company’s standing in the short and long term
Most of the decisions made by top executives in companies have an effect on the company strategies. As a result, some of them may need some modifications done on the company goals or strategies. Most Management Information Systems come with trend analysis features that will enable you to project the performance of a business with the current configuration and how they will be affected once you have implemented any changes that you are considering. The Management Information Systems that do not have the trend analysis feature will still provide you with enough information to accurately carry out the analysis using external tools.
Management Information Systems help track the implementation of particular decisions in a company
Before making a decision, executives use these systems to make projections of the expectations from the particular decision. If they decide to go ahead with the changes, there will be a need to keep monitoring the performance to see if you are on track to achieving the desired results. Management Information Systems give detailed reports and recommendations so that the evaluation of the goals moves smoothly and effectively. You get data that shows if your decisions have had the desired effect. If not, you will be able to take the necessary corrective measures early so that you can get back on track.
To improve on the company’s reporting
One of the reasons why Management Information Systems are favored by large companies is the effectiveness of the reporting features. The decisions can be made quickly because the information is presented in an easy format to understand. The fact that the system is accessible by people from different parts of the organization makes it an effective reporting and communication tool. Findings can be shared among colleagues with all the necessary supplementary data. It is also possible to create brief executive summaries that sum up the whole situation for review by senior company executives in situations that need their approval.
2.7 BENEFITS OF MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMSThere are many benefits that come with applying Management Information Systems. Some of these benefits help make work easier for management while the rest of them help the organization as a whole.
All stakeholders in the company have access to one single database that holds all the data that will be needed in day to day operations. If the MIS is used for project management, the contractor, client and consultant will be able to achieve a high level of transparency hence it will be easy to develop trust. Operations will also be smoother because information will always be readily available and data collection methods like forms or questionnaires will be standardized.
Employees and other stakeholders in the organization will be able to spend more time doing productive tasks. This is because a big chunk of their time is saved thanks to the more efficient information system. This time would have otherwise been spent setting up or retrieving traditional information recording systems such as forms and files. As a result, the company is able to save on manpower costs, while at the same time producing more output in a fixed time span will now be spent productively.
Another benefit of Management Information Systems is that they bring the power of data processing tools that help significantly improve the quality of decisions made in the company. A majority of Management Information Systems have built-in data processing tools that are able to draw conclusions based on the inputs received from the different sources. This helps make better plans for material management, manpower allocation and even the overall execution of the project.
Owing to the flexibility that is brought by the use of mobile devices such as tablet computers and smart phones, Management Information Systems ensure that employees have easier and closer interaction with information about the progress of any process within the organization. This also ensures a higher degree of accuracy in data collection since it will be possible to record the progress in smaller milestones throughout the day on mobile devices as opposed to recording once at the end of the day. As a result, management is able to get a better idea of the progress due to the availability of the latest information.
Inputs and modifications in these systems are logged and the authors noted. The time when the change has been made is also recorded for future reference. This means that the company is able to achieve a higher degree of accountability since all the actions can always be tracked back to the particular individuals who initiated them. This also means that the best performing employees can also be easily identified since information such as production numbers per shift and sales reports are always available and well presented in the system.
Management Information Systems help reduce the amount of paperwork that departments have to deal with thanks to the central database that’s accessible from the company network. This means that in addition to making processes simpler and faster, the company is able to go paperless while at the same time reducing its carbon footprint. The bills also go down since the need for items like plain papers, ink and toner cartridges will be reduced significantly. Transportation costs are also reduced since there will be no need for shipping documents back and forth for approval and signatures. Shelf space will be saved and used for other tasks. Company wastes will also be reduced when the company goes paperless.
Reports make it easy for companies to easily identify their strengths and weaknesses in carrying out various tasks. Management Information Systems provide revenue reports, performance reports for employees, expenses tracking reports and many others. When companies use these reports, they are able to improve their operations.
From a top executive perspective, Management Information Systems help give an overall impression of where the company stands financially. These systems can also give overall status reports for specific projects within the organization. This enables top executives and managers to easily tell if the company is on track towards achieving its goals.
Most Management Information Systems provide a channel for customers to collect and store vital data and feedback from customers. With this data, companies can easily adjust their products and marketing campaigns to better suit the needs of the customers hence improving on sales.
With management information systems, a company gains competitive advantage. This is because operations are faster and smoother and thus results are achieved faster and more efficiently. Customers will be happy with the service delivery because they will be getting the answers that they seek faster and employees will be motivated because most of the tasks will become easier with better access to data.
MIS helps eliminate redundant roles. When information is stored efficiently, it’s possible to identify parts of a system that are unnecessary. This means that any efforts that were duplicated are eliminated hence the company is able to better use the available resources.
2.7.1 Measurement of operational efficiencyRasaouli (2011) stipulates that operational efficiency is the minimizing of waste and the maximizing of resource capabilities in delivering quality services to stakeholders. Services are delivered to stakeholders through processes, as a result the organization gains operational efficiency and the processes have to be optimized. More so he also notes that obtaining optimum performance requires the right balance among people, processes and technology. It is also along this line that the integration of information system is essential to achieve operational efficiency.
In addition to that, Spring (2000), suggest that in order to achieve operational efficiency organizations must determine their chain, the core organizational processes that create value for stakeholders. He further points out that accompanying the core processes will be management and support processes. A process change initiative has to demonstrate some quick wins regarding performance improvement, as a result it is therefore important to commission process improvement initiatives for those processes which gain value added done for the organization.
Furthermore, Mahmood (2004) in his study on operational efficiency notes that the impact of IT systems on organizational performance demonstrated a positive and significant relationship between the operational efficiency of IT systems and organization’s performance and productivity.
More to that the studies of Dehning (2010) for private businesses revealed that investments in information technology infrastructures and resources are driving force in enhancing organizational performance. However findings of Dehning study indicate a confirmation that the contribution of information system capabilities as a source of advantage, enables the organization to create positional advantages to gain superior performance and have a positive effect on market responsiveness which propels sales performance.
2.7 CHALLENGES WHEN APPLYING MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Even with the numerous benefits, there are a number of challenges that companies are likely to face when applying Management Information Systems in their businesses.
The first challenge is in the cost of equipment
For a big company to successfully incorporate a Management Information system, there is a need to purchase devices that the employees and management executives will be using to interact with the system. These devices include servers, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. In addition, the company needs to invest in a good network that will connect these devices in order for the system to work effectively.
Training of the workforce
It can also become a problem when applying Management Information Systems in a company. Without a proper understanding of how the system works, it can be hard to reap the full benefits of using it. This therefore makes it necessary for the company to ensure that employees and their managers are well trained on how to use the system. This can be an expensive and time consuming exercise.
The systems are expensive to purchase
Owing to the unique needs of each organization, Management Information Systems have to be customized for each company. This means that there has to be brainstorming sessions where the vendors sit with management officials seeking to understand the needs before they can develop the system. As a result, the cost of the system goes up, thus taking it out of reach for small and medium companies.
Many companies end up purchasing systems that lack the features they need most
As mentioned by Davies (2009) that mangers of the organization have to understand the effects of the system in order to design and run systems that provide only benefits for the organization and to avoid risks that occur. It is noted that each company has its own unique needs when it comes to management information systems as a result if the company purchase a system that is not meant for it, it will have better access to data that does not help improve its operations. As a result it will not be able to get the best return on investment.
There is also a need for trained personnel to keep the system in good working order at all times.
Like any other system, management information systems need proper maintenance in order for them to produce the best results. This means that you will need to add specialized personnel for system maintenance in your company. Without these people, using the system will be a challenge since errors will go unresolved and this will result in inefficiencies in the operations.
Management Information Systems are heavily affected by large changes in the company
Davies (2009), points out that information system(s) implementation creates both positive and negative effects for an organization that use it. This means that before you make any change in the way you run the company, there will be a need to consider the impact of the changes on the information system. Sometimes, it becomes impossible to make some changes without changing the Management Information Systems hence having the system in place ends up being a limitation. However, most small changes should easily be incorporated in a good MIS.
Management Information Systems will result in the loss of employment for a number of employees in a company
Lucey (2005), notes that technology alters the skills requirements for individuals, jobs and working protocols. People like office messengers and traditional registry clerks will need to be reduced or eliminated after the system has been incorporated since some of these tasks will be automatically done on the system. These employees will not be happy about the changes and this can easily result in lawsuits or other problems with trade unions when large numbers of employees are retrenched.
As a cautionary point, organizations should not entirely rely on automated systems especially when the decisions to be made have adverse implications to the organization. This is based on the alleged observation that auto systems may sometimes be faulty and thus require frequent periodic monitoring (Demetrius, 1996). So in order not to fall a victim of over-relying on automated systems, Jahangir (2005) advices managers and company owners to ensure that they find a balance in utilizing the human element in operating while assigning some duties to the automate system.
Chapter three seeks to explore methods and techniques that were used in collecting data and information. Methods of data collection for the study are outlined as well as the techniques which the researcher applied to ensure that the objectives of the project would be achieved. This chapter overviews the research population and sample size used together with the approach, which the researcher used in retrieving the data and information. The chapter explores the research instruments and philosophy employed in order to address the research objectives outlined in the review of literature.
3.1 Research approachEvidence from literature shows that there are two main approaches that researchers can utilise. As given by Saunders (2007), these are known as the deductive and the inductive approaches. Deductive approach is concerned mainly with quantitative analysis and hypothesis testing whereas inductive approach is more on the qualitative side. In the current research both approaches were employed although generally the whole research was qualitatively inclined.
The qualitative approach is more appropriate considering the design of the research which will be a case study. However, the use of statistics in data collection will bring in the quantitative element. As noted by Smith et al (2012), the inductive approach has the advantage that it enables one to make informed decisions about research design and strategies that will work for one’s research and there are fewer generalisations unlike with the deductive approach. By so doing the study will enable the researcher to proffer solutions to the problem under study since it emphasises on gaining a deep understanding of the meanings humans attach to phenomena (Saunders, et al, 2007).
Though the inductive approach is being considered a good approach in the research study, it is necessary to however highlight that the approach has its own weaknesses. The main weakness of this approach is that it is time consuming as compared to the deductive approach. The researcher however, came up with measures to deal with this problem. This included among other measures, binding the case in terms of both time and place which helped in reducing both time and resources spent in the research.
3.2.1 Research DesignSekaran (2000) states that research design involves a series of rational decision-making choices. The decisions will be made regarding the purpose of the study, where the study will be conducted, the type of study it should be, the extent to which the researcher manipulates and controls the study, the temporal aspects of the study and the level at which the data will be analysed.
The study used a case study approach which is descriptive in nature. According to Yin (1994), a case study is an enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident. It is perceived descriptive since the study tries to search as much information as possible on the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness.
3.2.2 Population of the studyBryman and Bell (2003) defines a population as the universe of units from which the sample is to be selected. The population is the grand total of what is measured. It is made up of all the members of the group that the researcher is interested in. A sample according to Leedy (2008) represents a proportion of the target population for research purposes. The population of the research will be the management and employees of Kango products . A sample size of 50 was selected from the population which was considered as the true representation of the participants.
3.2.3 Sampling techniquesSaunders (2000), points out that sampling techniques provide a range of methods that enable one to reduce amount of data needed to collect by considering only data from a subgroup rather than all possible cases. Sampling involves identifying a subset of target population from whom information can be gathered. They are used to determine the objects of study from the population study. There are two broad categories of sampling which are probability and non- probability sampling. The non- probability methods have distinguishing characteristic that subjective judgement plays an important role in the selection of the sample.
3.2.4 SampleWegner (1998) explains a sample as a subset of population on which observations are made or measurements taken. A sample is a subset of the population of interest. A sample was chosen to access all members of the population.
3.2.5 Simple random samplingIt involves the researcher selecting the sample at random from the sampling frame. The reason for random is to avoid subjective bias from a personal choice of sampling needs. This technique is the best if there is an accurate and easily accessible sampling frame which lists the entire population. Highly representative if all subjects participate, Saunders et al (2000).
The researcher made use of this sampling technique when selecting subordinates to include in the sample frame. The researcher firstly chose the managers which he knew that they have the information she needed and after that she selected two subordinates under the chosen manager for each department, but it was done at random basis.
3.2.6 Judgmental SamplingThis sampling techniques enables the researcher to use her judgement to select cases which best enable her to answer her research questions and meet her objectives. This form of sample is often used when working with very small samples, such as in case study research, and when she wishes to select cases that are particularly informative, Neuman (1991). Purposive sampling was used in this research as a sampling strategy. Respondents were also selected on the basis of the individual judgement where permitted on the ground that they could provide the necessary information needed for the research.
In this study judgmental sampling and random sampling where used to gather information the targeted population.
3.2.7 Sample sizeSample size is the smallest number of entities or observations required in each sample to ensure that any variation between the characteristics of the sample and those of the entire population are due only to chance. The sample size of the study is 50 managers and employees from Kango products.
3.2.8 Data Collection
According to Alvesson and Deets (2000), data is an outcome of interpretation and construction, for example the researcher has to actively use knowledge, intellect and intuition in order to give comprehensive impressions and meanings. The researcher must also actively intervene and ask questions, negotiate and check meaning with interviewees, prevent from addressing at length themes of title relevance for the research project. In other words, data should be constructed to interpret. A data collection plan specifies details of the task of data gathering. It answers the questions which, what, how and where. These questions indicate what qualifies a participant to be studied and whether each participant should meet a given criteria. 3.2.9 Primary sourcesPrimary research consists of collecting original data. It is data that has been originated by the researcher specifically to address a problem at hand such as interviews, observation, action research, case studies, questionnaires and life histories Cohen, Manion, and Morrison, (2010). Primary data involves gathering first hand data through the use of interviews or questionnaires from respondents. The researcher undertook primary data collection after gaining more insight into the issue by reviewing secondary research and by analysing previously collected primary data.
3.3.1 Secondary sourcesIn the words of Saunders and Thornhill (2009), a secondary source is an account or record of an historical event or circumstance one or more steps removed from an original history. Secondary sources are the reports of a person who relates the testimony of actual witness of, or participant in an event. The writer of the secondary source was not on the scene of the event, but merely reports what the person who was there said or wrote. Secondary sources of data are usually of limited worth for research purposes because of the error that may result when information is passed on from one person to another.
3.3.2 Interviews and Questionnaires Questionnaires were chosen for the identified sample because of their advantage of ensuring privacy and anonymity of respondents. The researcher chose the questionnaire method because it does not reveal the identity of the respondent, thereby ensuring that the responses are given freely and without any fears of identification. The questionnaire method is also cost effective to use in data collection compared to other methods because of the numbers of respondents involved. It is also noted that a questionnaire could extract very rich data that is undiluted by the manipulation of the research setting or environment. They are also important for record keeping and for future reference, Yin (2003).
The researcher used the standard questionnaire as a research instrument. This is a technique of data collection in which the respondents are asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order. A wider range of differing responses were obtained from the questionnaire which will show the different variables linked to management information systems. Each variable’s influence will be examined in an effort to establish the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. It will explain that the results will be confidentially presented with no reference to the participants name and will maintain anonymity.
The interview is the primary data collection technique for gathering data in qualitative methodologies. Interviews vary based on the number of people involved during the interview, the level of structure, the proximity of the interviewer to the participant, and the number of interviews conducted during the research, Cooper and Schindler (2011). An interview can be conducted individually or in groups and requires a trained interviewer or the skills gained from experience which include making respondents comfortable, probing for detail without making the respondent feel harassed, remaining neutral while encouraging the participant to talk openly, listening carefully, following a participant’s train of thought, and extracting insights from hours of detailed descriptive dialogue (Saunders et al, 2007).
Two types of interviews will be conducted for the research study namely personal interviews and telephone interviews.
3.3.4 Personal interviewsAccording to Cooper and Schindler (2011) a personal interview is a two way conversation initiated by an interviewer to obtain information from a participant. The interviewer generally controls the topics and patterns of discussion. The participant is asked to provide information and has little hope of receiving any immediate or direct benefit from the cooperation. An interview can be structured in which case the interviewer has a planned series of questions or can be unstructured with very informal talks on topics desired by the interviewer. The researcher will make use of structured interviews.
3.3.5 Advantages of personal interviewsAccording to Saunders, et al (2007) personal interviews have the following advantages that of good cooperation from respondents. The interviewer can answer questions about the survey, probe for answers, use follow-up questions and gather information by observation. Illiterate and functionally illiterate respondents can be reached. The interviewer can pre-screen respondents to ensure they fit the population profile. Special visual aids and scoring devices can be used. CAPI-computer assisted personal interviewing: Responses can be entered into a portable microcomputer to reduce error or cost. The depth of information and detail that can be secured far exceeds the information secured from self-administered studies.
3.3.6 Disadvantages of personal interviewsThere are longer periods needed in the field collecting data and not all respondents are available or accessible.
3.3.7 Telephone interviewsPeople selected to be part of the sample are interviewed on the telephone by the interviewer Cooper and Schindler, (2011). Telephone interviewing is the best method for gathering information quickly and it provides greater flexibility than mail questionnaires, Armstrong and Kotler, (2000).
3.3.8 Advantages of telephone interviewsAccording to Saunders, et al (2007), telephone interviews have the following advantages:
There is reduced interviewer bias, fastest completion time, better access to hard-to-reach respondents through repeated call backs, lower costs than personal interviews and CATI-computer-assisted telephone interviewing: Responses can be entered directly into a computer file to reduce error and cost.
In the research, interview guidelines will be used to guide the discussions. The researcher will be tactful in that she will deliberately not tell the respondents about what she knows about the issues she will be investigating. The researcher will also give respondents ample opportunity to tell her their experiences without interruption.
3.3.9 ObservationThe researcher will also make use of observations of different respondent’s non-verbal body language when she conducts interviews. Through this she will be able to see and observe the conduct of the respondents and this will be very informative in the sense that at times it can become clear to the researcher that a respondent is probably tired, or is not interested in proceeding with an interview. The researcher will be able to tell from the actions of the interviewees whether they will still be concentrating or not. In instances where the respondents will show signs of lack of concentration the researcher will suggest postponement of the interviews to a future date.
3.4.1 Cell phone methodThe researcher will also make use of her cell phone to make and to confirm appointments with her respondents. The researcher also proposes to collect statistics and information using her cell phone. This method will be useful because, in order to save time and costs the researcher will use her cell phone to call and get the information using her cell phone.
3.4.2 Issues of Reliability and validityBryman (2001) notes that validity of data refers to the truth that it tells about the subject or phenomenon being studied. Validity addresses the problem of whether a measure measures what it is supposed to measure. Thieart (2001) further illustrate that the main concerns with the validity are whether the measured data is relevant and precise. In the research study it will bring up the question of whether the interview will measure the role of management information systems in ensuring efficiency and operational efficiency and also measure whether the questions will be proper and go well with the research’s objectives and purpose.
Reliability concerns consistency and the accuracy of the results obtained and it is achieved if the results can be repeated, Collis and Hussy (2003). It means dependability or consistency. The research study will use many sources of data which will be cross checked and interviews will be performed with several employees to gain insightful data. The data which will be obtained from the interviews and the data from secondary sources will be compared to confirm the reliability of the data. Sampling theory forms the basis of most research by survey. This is because of its practicality. The sample must be designed properly for it to be representative of the whole group. One has to consider reliability and validity of the design. It is in view of this that selection of the researcher’s target population was on the basis of knowledge, flexibility, availability and convenience. The targeted population included credit analysts, risk managers, account relationship managers, credit committee members, credit and risk management departments as well as corporate banking departments.
3.4.3 Method of analysisCreswell (2003) defined quantitative research as an inquiry into social or human problems, based on testing a theory composed of variables, measured with numbers and analysed with statistical procedures in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory hold true. In contrast, he alludes a qualitative study as inquiry process of understanding a social or human problem, based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducted in a natural setting.
Moreover Denzin and Smith (1998) added that qualitative research is multi-method in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Quantitative and qualitative research methods differ primarily in their analytical objectives, the types of questions they pose, the types of data collection instruments they use, the forms of data they produce, the degree of flexibility built into study design.
Although the objectives of quantitative and qualitative research are not mutually exclusive, their approaches to deciphering the world involve distinct research techniques and thus separate skill sets. When using qualitative research methodology, experience in quantitative methods is not required, but neither is it a disadvantage. Whatever a researcher’s experiences in either approach, a general grasp of the premises and objectives motivating each helps develop and improve competence in qualitative data collection techniques.
ConclusionThis chapter showed data sources which the writer used in collecting information for the success of this undertaking. It was in light of the advantages of interviews that they were chosen for the purposes of this undertaking. The chapter also outlined how the whole research was carried out. It also addressed all the issues that form the backbone of the research.
CHAPTER 4: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS4.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter presents, analyses and interprets the data collected from this study towards assessing the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness. Data is presented by using Excel to form graphs and pie-charts, and other relevant diagrams. The information would help in answering the research questions and achieving the research objectives. The main area of concern was the perception of management and employees towards the information systems. The data was analysed using both qualitative and quantitative data.
4.2 Questionnaire and interviews response rateThe collection of data from Kango managerial and non- managerial employees and the response rate is presented below in tabular form. The data shown is based on the returned questionnaires and the actual interviews that the researcher successfully conducted. From 50 questionnaires distributed to both the managerial and non-managerial staff, 40 were successfully completed and returned, these are going to be used in the analysis of data by the researcher. The questionnaires yielded 80% success response rate while interviews yielded 40% rate.
This can be presented in the table shown below:
Table 4.1 Questionnaire and interviews response rate Targeted response Actual Response Success Rate
Questionnaires 50 40 80%
Interview 10 4 40%
Total 60 44 73.3%
Source: primary data
According to Saunders et al (2007), when the response rate is above 75 percent the results of the study should be considered and taken as a representation of the population. In this study the response rate of 80 percent was achieved hence the results can be an indication of the population under study. From the 80 percent that responded, the researcher went on to quantify the different percentages of the responses that was from managerial level and from non-managerial level since the research was based on the two groups’ perspectives. The high response rate was as a result of a number of factors namely:
The researcher had to first discuss the subject at hand during administering the questionnaire. Furthermore, the questions were simplified making them easier to respond to. Moreover, the good rapport existing between the researcher and respondents greatly assisted.
The study sought to establish education level of respondents. The information gathered by use of the questionnaire and also interviews is as below.
4.2.1 Education level of respondents
Basing on data presentation in Table 4 above, the study found out that, certificate/ diploma and degree holders were the most into the administration section and the ones mostly with experience were in the manufacturing section.
Management information systems usedTwo sub-programmes responded that they use an electronic management information system. Both sub-programmes responded that they use electronic MIS to capture and process daily transactions and to generate management reports. Of those sub-programmes who reported the use of manual systems, two indicated that they used information generated from manual MIS to generate management reports.
In terms of quality of information generated from the management information system, one component responded the systems used generate accurate, relevant, timely, appropriate and complete information. One component responded that the MIS used generate accurate, relevant and appropriate information but the information is not always timely and complete. One of the two components using electronic MIS responded that their system always meets their information needs and the other component responded
Fig 4.2 Benefits of Management Information systems
Source: primary data from Kango Products
4.2.1 Accurate informationHalf of the respondents stated that they are motivated by the information system in their section because it produces accurate information. Overman (1992), alludes that that the potential advantages of MIS are faster information processing, greater information accuracy, improved planning and program development, and enhanced employee communication. This points out that with an MIS, employees can communicate with each other, HR team and leadership in an easy and consistent way. It can be difficult to keep things straight when communication is occurring using phone because one might not be in the office by then, email, text, and notice boards because some employees do not get time to check notice boards. An MIS provides one simple mode of communication that is easy to use and organize. This not only allows employees to talk with colleagues about ongoing projects, but also request shift changes, explain absences, and put in for annual leave or vacation.
4.2.2 Relevant information systemThe researcher found out that more than 50% respondents disagree about the motivation of relevant information system. It can be noted that relevant information is vital to effective decision-making in almost every aspect of human endeavour, whether it be undertaken by individuals, community organizations, businesses or governments. It is an essential component of any effort to persuade individuals, businesses or governments to make different decisions from the ones which they might make in the absence of particular pieces of information.
4.2.3 Appropriate information
The researcher wanted to find out whether the role of management information system leads to production of appropriate information which benefits employees and ensures operational efficiency and effectiveness. However the researcher discovered that very few employees are motivated by the benefits of appropriate information in their section and many stated a neutral position and also almost half of the employees disagree about the system producing appropriate information which benefits them.
4.2.4 Complete information
The researcher found out that many respondents disagree and state that they are not motivated by the benefits of complete information by the information systems which is in place in their sections. On the other hand few respondents strongly agree that the system bring forth complete information. It can also be noted that with complete information there is operational efficiency and effectiveness and if the system does not produce complete information it becomes difficult to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness.
4.2.5 Timely information
The researcher after conducting interviews with respondents and analysis of self-administered questionnaires found out that many respondents strongly disagree about the system producing timely information in their sections. In the absence of timely information, people and organizations will make bad decisions; they will be unable to help or persuade others to make better decisions; and no-one will be able to ascertain whether the decisions made by particular individuals or organizations were the best ones that could have been made at the time.
Fig 4.3 Measurement of operational efficiency.
The researcher found that 35% of respondents strongly agreed that they accommodate change towards the use of technology in their performance, also 20% shows that the information system provide periodic reports that facilitate problem search activities and 23 % agreed and some were not sure respectively that MIS provide supervisors with the necessary control reports to ensure operational efficiency. On the other hand 10 % stated that MIS provide necessary conditions for employees to perform duties effectively and also 12 % agree that MIS is useful in achieving the organization’s objectives and development through proper application.
Fig 4.4 Problems associated with MIS
4.3.1 Challenges or draw backs of the systemAlmost more than half of the respondents strongly agreed that the MIS which is in place has got challenges and draw backs. They stated that the system have been used for too long, most respondents have been using this system for at least 6 years or more; others have used the system for more than 10 years., the system does not create any room for change and advancement if used for too long.
4.3.2 Training for using the information systemIt can be noted from the above graph that very few respondent strongly agree about getting proper training for using MIS. Managerial employees seem to be the ones who stand a chance to be trained, hence lack of training among other employees leads to less operational efficiency and development. Most employees strongly disagree about being properly trained for using the MIS in place at Kango.
4.3.3 Challenges affect operational efficiency and effectivenessThe researcher noted that more than half of the respondents strongly agree that MIS challenges affect operational efficiency and effectiveness. On the other hand a few disagree that MIS challenges affect operational efficiency and effectiveness they state that it will only be the employee’s failure to use the information system.
4.4.1 Improvements of MIS
The researcher noted that many respondents were proposing training and development as a way of improving MIS in order to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness in the organization.
This chapter presented and analysed the data collected by the researcher. The data collected from Kango Products enabled the researcher to deduce that MIS to a greater extent has a positive impact on the organization’s operational efficiency.
CHAPTER FIVE FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The last chapter covered the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data which was collected, but this chapter comprises with three sections which will see the research study concluded. These are the summary of findings, the research based conclusions and recommendations. After reading this chapter the reader becomes informed of the research problem that was understudy, the research methodology used and its limitations, major findings of the research study and their implication in the world of work.
5.2 Research questions revisited
In attempt to dissect the main problem the researcher used the following research questions trying to explore the research and ensure that the study remain focused and it brought about results useful to the university, the public and private sector organizations as well as to the researcher. The research questions used to explore the study are:
1) Which management information system is in place at Kango?
2) What are the benefits of MIS in the motivation of workers?
3) How the operational efficiency is currently measured?
4) What are the problems associated with MIS?
5) What can be practiced to improve the role of management information systems?
The research findings and conclusions are based on the data collected using the above listed research questions.
5.3 Summary of findings and conclusionsThe researcher attempted to make this study taking into consideration employees at Kango products it was set out to evaluate the role of management information system(s) to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Literature from other authors on the subject under study was reviewed and critically analysed since they have different models and theories explaining how MIS ensures operational efficiency and effectiveness.
To gather data used to explore this research study a sample of 50 from Kango, managerial and non-managerial employees was used. The researcher made use of self-administered questionnaires and interview guides as research instruments in evaluating the role of management information systems in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness. This enabled the researcher to gather data from Kango, the data was analysed qualitatively, in doing all this, tables, diagrams, statistical inferences, data reductions and quotations were used.
Due to the sensitivity of the issue of Management information systems in organizations it was not an easy study to carry as some managers were so defensive and unwilling to divulge information while other employees pretended as if they lack knowledge about the systems in place so as to be seen as if they do not have dependable data about their managers.
Despite of such constraints, interesting findings and observations were made and the following conclusions were made:
5.3.1 Management Information system in place at KangoThe researcher found out that the information system in place at Kango depends with the department and the section. There is MIS used to make use of information technology to help managers ensure a smooth and efficient running of the organization. There is also transaction processing system which is designed to collect, process and store transactions that occur in the day to day operations of the company. There is also the decision support system which help decision makers to make the best decisions by generating statistical projections from analysed data.
5.3.2 Benefits of MIS in the motivation of workers
From the data collected, the researcher established the following conclusions: the system in use, though old but not obsolete, is particularly favoured by the managerial workers as they see it fitting with the line of business, which the researcher observed. However, non-managerial employees did not favour the system due to their own faults and weaknesses. Moreover, an impact of ineffective control which leads to low organizational performance in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.
5.3.3 Measurement of operational efficiency
Results obtained from the study showed that, there are mixed feelings towards the system as rated by different groups of respondents’ as managerial employees gave the impression that it was generally effective, whereas non-managerial workers thought it was rather ineffective. However the challenges that were made known to the researcher revealed that it was more on the part of the employees not operating the systems correctly.
5.3.4 Problems associated with MIS
Most respondents have been using this system for at least 6 years or more; others have used the system for more than 10 years. With this in mind, it is worth noting that the system has been used for a particularly long period of time. By using this system, especially for such a long time, the company seems to be satisfied by this system. However, on determining the effectiveness of the system, some challenges were both observed and mentioned by the researcher and the respondents respectively. These challenges, as discussed in the preceding chapter, have a bearing on the whole concept of management information system, hence the system can be said to be somewhat ineffective to a certain extent.
5.3.5 Best practices of improving MISThe researcher found out that many respondents were bringing forth change and training and development as a way of improving the role of management information system in ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness.
5.4 Recommendations The researcher, based on the data collected has the following recommendations to the managers and non-managerial employees at Kango Products
5.4.1 Technological AdvancementIt is important to note that, with the high rate of technological advancements, it would be wiser to use modern technology that is being used, especially with the phenomenon of globalization that has made it easier to adopt best practices in order to achieve operational efficiency. Currently, there are many advanced software systems which are introduced and which speed up processes for example the systems for calculating payroll and the sage system if the organization adapts to technology Kango’s operational efficiency will be greatly improved.
5.4.2 Change implementation
The system should not be in place for a very long time. Most respondents have been using this system for at least 6 years or more; others have used the system for more than 10 years. With this in mind, it is worth noting that the system has been used for a particularly long period of time. By using this system, especially for such a long time, the company seems to be satisfied by this system. However if the company consider to change the use of systems often it will increase operational efficiency
5.4.2 Manual processAnother recommendation the researcher would like to give is that, if they are to continue using this current system, then they should take necessary steps to ensure that those operating the system not to be careless, in the sense that, for example, if they are entering amount of stock received, they should not make the mistake of entering the wrong figure, as this would affect the financial performance of the organization unnecessarily. Moreover, during physical counting of goods, every effort should be made to display the importance of stock to the organization, to both the employees and those who are asked to come and help out with the counting.
5.4.3 Training and DevelopmentThe researcher found out that employees at Kango products need training, due to the lack of knowledge of using the systems correctly and the changes that take place. Employees who recognize that their employer is willing to invest in their personal development and growth are more willing to give their best for the organization. They is also need for the employees to be part of the training programs so that they can learn more about information systems and role clarification so that they enhance the performance of employee on their work.
The company should note that the results of poor service delivery and inability to complete projects on time is due to the lack of knowledge of using the systems correctly. The company must create career paths that include experiential development for all employees. It must also unlock solid performer contributions through challenging roles and projects aligned with strength and ensure rewards and recognition programs apply to a large number of employees, even as the organization invests more in high performers.
5.5 Concluding RemarksThis chapter marks the end of this research study it looked on the summary of key findings, conclusions and recommendations. The researcher made use of questionnaires and interviews in order to collect data at Kango products which was later used in reaching conclusions and recommendations. Since the study was to determine whether these systems were either effective or ineffective, the results obtained showed that the total system in use was arguably effective, from the researchers’ point of view, despite the challenges that were mentioned. Most of the challenges revealed showed that it was the employees’ failure to operate the system.