The Politics of Information Management
Lisa A. Petrides (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA), Sharon Khanuja-Dhall (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA) and Pablo Reguerin (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2000
Developing, sharing, and working with information in today’s environment is not an easy task. With today’s technological advancements, the management of information appears to be deceivingly easier. However, building and maintaining an infrastructure for information management involves complex issues, such as group consensus, access and privileges, well-defined duties, and power redistribution. Furthermore, higher education institutions are continuously faced with the need to balance the politics of information sharing across departments, whether the administration operates in a centralized or decentralized manner. The need to develop, share, and manage information in a more effective and efficient manner has been proven to require a challenging shift in the norms and behavior of higher education institutions as well. This shift does not have as much to do with the actual use of technology as it does with the cultural environment of the institution. Davenport notes: Information cultures determine how much those involved value information, share it across organizational boundaries, disclose it internally and externally, and capitalize on it (Davenport, 1997, p. 35). Depending on the history, people, and cultural environment, each organization faces its own dilemmas around the task of compiling and sharing information. This case details one institution’s attempts, at a departmental level, to develop an information system for planning and decision-making. It looks at the department’s effort to manage and track students and to design a management tool that would help departmental faculty to function more effectively. It examines the challenges faced in managing information and the behaviors that drive new information management processes with the increased use of technology.