Grounding Theories for Building Robust Corporate Management Information Systems

Grounding Theories for Building Robust Corporate Management Information Systems

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0164-2.ch003
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Abstract

What kind of software tool would people ideally like to use in order to facilitate a collaborative decision-making process in order to arrive at the best decision, in the shortest possible amount of time, with the strongest support by as many members of the group as possible, while also enabling new members of the group to easily understand why a certain decision was made one way and not another, even after several months or even years later? This chapter presents some grounding theories for building robust corporate management Information Systems. The chapter presents a theoretical analysis of what can be encountered nowadays within modern organisations, which relates with multiple reality decision-making. The author also discusses theoretical and practical aspects related with the Management Information System contexts and the Management Information System interactions of corporate decision-making.
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3.1. Multiple Reality Decision-Making In The Corporate Environment

How important is reality? Most corporate decision makers are too busy, too worried, or too ambitious, superficial and greedy to attend to this question with any sustained depth of serious inquiry.

For the majority, the reality question is impractical and unimportant, even if there will be future catastrophe and suffering as a direct result of failure to be truly realistic. And it is not a rarity that members within a corporate board are not necessarily analysing the reality but only a biased fraction of what they perceive and manage as such.

Short-sighted and blinkered corporate decision makers are caught up in their assumptions and beliefs because they are too busy acting out those very assumptions and beliefs. Future shock will prove their assumptions and beliefs to be delusional, but as long as the majority in their organisation share the delusion, adhere to the corporate consensus reality, the constructed reality of the day, they can put away the reality question until it ‘burns’ them (out). However, by keeping the reality question an issue of philosophy or academia, the corporate world keeps it out of sight and out of mind.

The reality question thus turns into a question of ontological nature, as recognised in later parts of this research. If we think carefully about the possibilities, we might begin to realise that more than one alternative reality is a possibility and we should have contingency plans to cope with it.

Also from the field of military decision-making, several theorists as Czerwinski (1999), Alberts and Czerwinski (1997) and Luttwak (1976) point out that much of the fixation of a model to reality is ‘socially driven’. In fact, that idea is fundamental to the hypothetico-deductive (H-D) method itself, even though this ‘positivist’ approach of H-D methods is now taken as an example of rigid and limited dogmatisim because it only deals with experimental procedure1.

H-D methods presume up front, however, that nothing can be fully known conclusively, hence the emphasis on disproof (by experiment) rather than proof - the idea was that we can never say our model of reality is correct, we can only look for its flaws and in their absence gain confidence. However, the positivist approach is too rigid because it lacks the necessary means for shifting the whole basis, or paradigm, for theory construction. As all theory depends on one's beginning assumptions, it is possible to develop good theories (as well as bad ones) from different starting points, and each starting point has its merits and demerits. The point is that H-D methods work very well within a given worldview (or paradigm), but if pursued rigorously will eventually exhaust the explanatory possibilities of that view.

In this respect, any differentiation for a decision-making process should involve a shift in perspective, worldview, assumptions, or paradigm - but this is not a random shift. There are most often definite consistencies that are maintained when switching paradigms. Even though a ‘common’ corporate reality can be seen from many different perspectives, what we learn from those perspectives must be consistent between views - that is if we maintain the belief in a singular reality (as opposed to a singular description) and thus a basis for seeking synthesis and integration (i.e., the ultimate goal of interrelating different / various corporate theory elements to show consistency between theories2).

This is a very key distinction - the theories themselves may not be interchangeable or derivable from each other, or amalgamated into one ‘super theory’, but what they describe or explain must be consistent, otherwise we are altering the basic nature of a unitary reality.

Of course, neither view, single versus multiple reality, can be tested scientifically, and the choice is therefore rather transcendental. If, on the other hand, a singular reality is correct, knowing about it would certainly constitute greater knowledge than knowing only the separate views and not their connection.

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