Description: This seminal work presents an effective design for processing information through five stages from data to actionable knowledge in order to influence behavior within organizations. The authors incorporate such concepts as evolution; semiotics; entropy; complexity; emergence; crisis; and chaos theory in an intriguing alternative to crisis management that can be applied to any organization. Their model shows how to evaluate and share information to enable the organization to avoid disaster rather than simply respond to it.
Additionally, the text presents the first attempt at a multi-disciplinary view of information processing in organizations by tying associated disciplines to their respective impacts on the information process. Illustrations used in the text include an overlay that demonstrates how the non-use of information between agencies contributed to the 9/11 disaster, and an appendix addresses Organizing for Cyberterrorism.
Comment(s): "Information and knowledge makes or breaks an organization. However, many of us do not understand the significance of information and its bearings on organizations. In addition, the terms data, information, and knowledge have distinct connotations, yet they are most often used as synonyms, especially in the defense sectors of our governments. Desouza and Hensgen have written a book that takes a holistic treatment of the topic of information and organizations. The book illuminates the intricacies of managing information in a complex and pervasively changing world. The authors demonstrate vividly through the use of examples and case studies, how information signals if unchecked can make an organization vulnerable to a crisis. This is an invaluable guidebook for academicians and practitioners alike, a 'must-read' for defense strategy planners." -- Capitan Ganesh Kumar Vanapalli, Indian Navy, Director of Information Technology, New Delhi
" Managing Information in Complex Organizations considers the perennial argument as to why organizations fail to process information optimally in order to gain additional effectiveness or indeed to avert a potential crisis. It presents a valuable integration of evidence and ideas in relation to information systems reference disciplines, including cybernetics, computer science, knowledge management and crisis management, and offers new models for information exploitation relative to these issues. The inclusion of a variety of empirical components, through case studies, will also attract significant interest from practitioners. This is a critically important feature for an applied field such as information systems. Consequently, the" --
"book is a highly refreshing observation on contemporary trends that will have resonance to researchers and organizational managers which have not been thoughtfully considered previously. The book is original and informative and should be essential course reading within the diverse and complex field of managing information processing and dissemination." -- Dr. Raymond A. Hackney, Executive Head, Information Systems & Management Science, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, UK
"In the present Information Age, data has become a strategic resource, much as energy was a strategic resource for the Industrial Age. This wide-ranging book examines the conversion of data to information and knowledge, emphasizing the flow and dissemination of information throughout organizations. Technical phenomena and equipment that amplify, degrade, or otherwise distort this information flow are addressed. Superimposed on the intrinsic technical distortions of information quality are the human distortions. Within the organization, it is the human actors with personal agendas who alter the information flow and content. Even beyond the personal agendas, the high" --
"volume of data possible with modern transmission systems can easily overwhelm the human recipients, and consequently much data is discarded, or provided to automated data/text processing systems that could introduce substantial error or distortion. The final volume and quality of information available to support decision-making can be far different from what is technically possible, due to the human intervention. This book explores the many types of human information distortions, and provides many practical examples of how erroneous decisions resulted from misuse of information technically available." -- Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff, Office of Naval Research
"This new book integrates concepts and perspectives from a variety of academic disciplines (e.g., Communications, Information Science, Organization Studies, Physics) to address a critical class of problems associated with managing complex knowledge organizations in the Information Age. It provides both theoretical grounding and practical application for managing and leveraging information to develop actionable knowledge, knowledge which may be used to anticipate and avert crises and disasters instead of attending to their consequences after the fact. Unlike the plethora of vacuous volumes published each year through the Management Press, this book offers substance, and it articulates coherently concepts and perspectives based on a wealth of knowledge that few academics or managers would have time to acquire on their own." -- Dr. Mark Nissen, Naval Postgraduate School
"Hindsight has been said to be 20/20 - especially when applied to recent disasters where warning information was present before the actual event. This book posits a new model that enables practitioners to avoid traps in processing information and to illuminate this warning information for decision makers. The authors use the model to show how critical information was mishandled in several recent crises. Other case studies describe how optimal information processing using this model may have actually evaded the crisis. One enlightening recommendation is the concept of virtual crisis centers for monitoring key elements of the organization itself. These remote internal centers sense forthcoming organizational crises in order to" --
"mitigate or even avoid the events. This scholarly book provides practical guidelines for the information manager dealing with situations where the mishandling of even small bits of information can have large consequences." -- Robert J. Harder, United States Army Research Laboratory, Department of the Army, U.S.A.
"If information is to be treated as 'real,' then Managing Information in Complex Organizations is a solid guide to that aspect of reality. The essence of informations' managerial challenge is the recognition of what has and has not been communicated. Desouza and Hensgen put that challenge in context so that the practicing manager can develop the necessary tools for its mastery. Semiotics is a word most managers know nothing of -- but its role is critical in the twenty-first century. Information is a vital element in decision making and without its mastery the practicing manager's abilities are greatly reduced. This text aims to correct that deficiency. Its success in doing so depends on the willingness of the reader to admit that merely broadcasting data is not the same as communicating." --
"Too many managers hold tight to that false belief. Desouza and Hensgen describe the risks in doing so and alternatively the potential rewards from embracing context in communication." -- Dr. Michael Lissack, Editor, Emergence: Complexity and Organizations and Director, Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence
"Desouza and Hensgen have assembled an eclectic reader on information and organizations. Managing Information in Complex Organizations is a timely, easy to read, and a highly interesting (and entertaining) book. Information is the strategic resource of our times and failure on the part of an organization to assure its integrity, usefulness, and usability will not be taken lightly by stakeholders. This book explores the concept of information in the most realistic setting -- 'a complex world.' The authors do an excellent job bringing together diverse literature in a cohesive and symbiotic manner -- they have managed the complex academic literatures to generate information and knowledge that is of interest to both academicians and" --
"practitioners. This book is a must read for practitioners and students in the disciplines of information management, strategic management of technology, and information integrity, assurance and audit." -- Madhavan Nayar, President, Unitech Systems, Inc. and Cofounder, Information Integrity Coalition
"Some tasks that seem simple to describe are in fact extremely complex to implement; this is the case with the concept of avoiding crisis by proactively analyzing information already available in the environment. In this book, Desouza and Hensgen are able to demystify the problem by providing a clear discussion not only of the abstract concepts involved, but also actually provide a detailed 'how to' approach. In addition to obvious applications in the management of organizations and law enforcement agencies, the book is useful as a supplementary text for courses in Information Systems as well as those where Knowledge Management has a prominent role. Highly recommended!" -- Dr. J. Roberto Evaristo, University of Illinois at Chicago
"This book provides a comprehensive look at the notion of semiotics, complexity and chaos as it pertains to information in organizations. It uses both established and more recent modes of inquiry to shed some light on an increasingly important dimension of managing information in complex organizations and in our complex world. Adopting frameworks and arguments from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, the authors integrate them into a single text. This innovative book will be essential reading for academics and researchers in information and knowledge management studies. No significant work can be done in these areas without reference to Desouza's and Hensgen's book. Because of its readable style and wellspring of examples, both graduate and undergraduate students will find the book useful. A groundbreaking book as such, it is essential to any person who is serious about conceptualizing the notion of semiotics, complexity, and chaos surrounding the information" --
"in organizations." -- Sajjad M. Jasimuddin, University of Southampton, UK