Management Information Systems In Decision Making Management Essay

This study evaluated the role of Management Information Systems in decision making and planning in Universities. This study uses the descriptive survey type research. The sample data collected regarding 600 subjects include 400 academic staff and 200 administrative staff through the random sampling technique. The collected data are analysis through the frequency count, means, percentage, standard deviations and t-test statistics. The three hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. The study evaluated that Management Information System is not adequately manage in the decision- making process and planning. There are significant differences between federal and state Universities in terms of use Management Information System in decision making, planning and budgetary control. It recommended that the Management Information System data should be adequately financed and maintained to create a free flow of information and adequate use of Management Information System in decision making, planning and budgeting as well.

Management Information System plays a significant role in decision making, planning and budgeting in the organization. Effective decision making process requires accurate, timely and related information. According to Aminu (1986), information resource is one of the major issues and indices of university planning. Where the relevant information required for planning not available at the appropriate time, there is bound to be poor planning, inappropriate decision making, poor priority of needs, defective programming or scheduling of activities. Hence, the university system will not be efficient and effective in its operation. Poor management information system has been identifying as a bottleneck in the successful management of universities. (NUC, 1987).

The more complex structure of an organization requires the greater need for coordination within the organization and between various departments. However, central to the needed coordination of information. This view is buttressed by Murdick and Ross (1971), when they opined that: Information is necessary to the survival of an organization. As organizations grow, the pressure of scale, complexity and an increased rate of change make adequate data processing capacity inevitable, if effective control, consequent upon coordination of individual activities is to be achieved.

Thus, the information needed for effective decision making in universities cannot be provided from people’s often-deficient memories. Moreover, it is difficult to plan activities over a long time effectively without effective information. Information created through the discipline of investigation and research with peer modification to ensure validity and societal impact. The information to be created or established must be stored to certain continuity of reason, and adaptive academic pursuit. The stored data must then be recalled at will and be dispersed for use in making decisions, which are in the interested by the society at large. According to Knight (2005), there are systems that drive continuous investment in bricks & mortar education, and discard the expenditures that would promote effective universities by means of telecommunication networks. Even if, they wanted to, the top management restricted in their freedom to act in this direction by traditional funding formulae. Promotion and tenure procedures have seen as barriers in the universities. In many Universities and institutions, the primary needs for promotion and, holding procedures are publications in journals and, teaching in regular classrooms.

A major federal government grant is its booster programmer to computerized information in the unity schools (Ekwere, 1990). With these improvements, the information resource still presents a major issue in educational management in the country. Particularly with the universities, one wonders the nature of their acquiring communication gadgets and the scope of their applications. Studies have revealed that in most complex structure both manual and, computer-based systems used; in fact, both held to be compatible in information handling procedures (Sanders, 1983). Obi (2003), Fabunmi (2003) and Adebayo (2007) had stressed the need for Management Information Systems in making sound decisions in educational institutions. In recognition of the significant role of information to the survival of the university system, the University introduced the computerized management information system to the universities. The MIS idea conceived during a conference jointly organized by University and the British Council. The aim of Management Information System is to develop a workable way to maximize the effective use of advanced data approach to managing practices. It is also aimed at assisting managers and operating workers, to provide timely and accurate information not only to make decisions for current and future operations, but also to detect potential problems that need to be rectified. According to NUC (1987), the objectives of MIS project in the universities are:

A. To standardize the procedure of obtaining reports and statistical information from the various universities on: students, staff, financial matters, and library.

B. To record the information on diskettes or in other storage at universities and send to Universities for budgeting, information storage, analysis and retrieval purposes.

C. To determine that such information are accurate and timely.

D. To manage information for planning, budgeting and decision making.

E. To help the universities in efficient management structure and improve utilization of resources. Based on these objectives, it expected that MIS will help the universities in decision making on various issues in their operations. To this end, efforts made by the universities in the areas of the collection and use of computers in data processing, computer literacy, installation of computer services units among others.

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Experience has shown that where MIS facilities are readily available in universities, they are not effectively used to support decisions on long and short term planning issues. In a university institution, where information cannot be stored when it needed, it becomes difficult or impossible to obtain accurate and timely decisions regarding long and short term planning, such as: expenditure estimates, revenue estimate, cost of each program of the universities and the like. Ineffective use of Management Information System in decision making by some of the universities usually result in failure of educational programs, ineffective budgeting, wastage of resources, inaccurate projection of students’ enrolment and manpower needs, poor motivation of staff, poor resource allocation among others.

It appears the Federal universities use Management Information System to take decisions regarding short-term and long-term planning and budgeting more than State universities. It also appears that there is excessive focusing on low data processing software particularly in the accounting area. This seems to slow down activities and make decision outcome longer than necessary.

MIS and decision-making

Management Information System (MIS) is basically concerned with the process of collecting, processing, storing and transmitting relevant information to support the management operations in any organizations. Thus, the success of decision-making, which is the purpose of the administrative process, is highly dependent partly on available information, and partly on the functions that are the components of the process of the decision making. For example, if managerial objectives are missing or unclear, probably due to insufficient information, there is no reason for a search. Without information data obtained through a search, there are no other options to compare and, without a comparison the choice of a particular course of action is unlikely to produce the desired result. According to Alabi (1997) the search could be through:

Undirected viewing-this involves a wide exposure to information where. The search could be that the viewer has no specific goal in mind.

Conditioned viewing-the directed function does not require active search to a more or less clearly identified area or type of information.

Informal search-this is a relatively short and unstructured attempt to obtain detailed information for a specific purpose. The information wanted is actively sought.

Formal search-this is a deliberate effort, usually following a reestablished plan, technique or methodology to obtain specific information relating to a specific issue.

It is appropriate to note that the existence of alternatives, based on relevant information, is a necessary condition for making a decision. This approach buttressed by Ogunsaju (1990), when he pointed out that education decision must be based upon sound and well informed evidence that are highly intelligent, rather than those that are weak and unreliable. For efficient decisions to grow in an organization, therefore, receiving information from the people and, supplying information to the people within the group are an essential. The information so communicated must be accurate and up-to-date to deal with uncertainty. Uncertainty is the situation in which the administrator has less information relevant to a decision- making process and, there is no way to predict the outcome of the decision. In corroborating the vital role of Management Information System in the decision-making process, Sisodia (1992) advanced the notion of decision-making as the overall process involving visible and different activities. The first of such activities is information gathering, which followed by analysis of alternatives and finally a selection. The first task of the manager is to develop and manage the flow of information in ways that would increase productivity and decision-making. Information must be collected, properly stored, and synthesized in such a way that it will answer important operating and strategic questions. Adesina (1988) corroborated this by exposing that the amount of relevant information available to a decision-making and planning section affects the product of that group. Hence, an administrator must be concerned with smoothing the free flow of information upward, downward within the organization. To do this successfully, the decisions should be based on accurate information obtainable with the operation of an effective management information system.

According to Obi (2003), Management Information System is useful in the area of decision- making process and planning as it can examine by itself instabilities in a system, establish a course of action and take action to access the overall system in control. It is also relevant in non programmed decisions as it provides support by supplying information for search, the analysis, evaluation, selection and implementation process of decision making. Fabunmi (2003) also maintains that MIS is useful in making decisions solve many of the problems facing educational institutions. Such problems include short performance scheduling, poor evaluation of manpower requirements, lack of accurate information on students, personnel and facilities, piling-up of administrative matters, wastage of spaces, lack of suitable budget estimates among others. Adebayo (2007) stressed the need for Management Information System in decision making as it provides information that needed for better decision making on issues affecting the organization regarding human and material resources.

Importance of Management Information System:

The information sharing enhanced the productivity of the organization. It allows the business to determine the needs of clients in an accurate manner and meet those needs rapidly. MIS permits clients to be informed continuously regarding their interests. Importance of information sharing as blow:

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Identify the client’s needs and meet their needs.

Inform clients regarding new opportunities.

Promote competition.

Expend excess to service and products

Enhance clients conveniences

Improve efficiency and lower the costs

Deducts and prevent fraud.

METHODOLOGY

The study used the detailed research of the survey type. The population for the study was all the public universities. Stratified random sampling procedure used to determine 4 universities consists 2 state and, 2 federal universities. Stratified random sampling method used to determine 600 subjects consisting of 400 academic staff executive and, 200 chief administrative staff division. An instrument tagged “MIS and Decision- Making Questionnaire MISDQ” was used to collect relevant information from the subjects. The questionnaire contained two sections. Section A sought information on personal bio data of the respondents while “Section B” contained 21 items on the use of management information systems for decision- making on long- term and short-term planning and, budgeting. The reliability coefficient of the MISDQ was 0.9243 and, the information collected analyzed using frequency counts, means, percentage, standard deviation (SD) and, t-test statistics. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Table 1 reveals that less than 40% of the respondents indicated that, information from MIS is always used to perform executive decisions on long-term planning in most of the items listed on Table 1, while only 40.8% indicated that Management Information System is always used to perform administrative decision on (item 2) that is “students’ enrolment projection”. On the average, 36.9% of the respondents indicated that Management Information System is always used to examine administratively planning. The results therefore, show that Management Information System is inadequately used to perform executive decisions on long-term planning in the universities. Figure 1 other shows the use of Management Information Systems in decision making on long -term planning.

As revealed in Table 2, over 40% of the respondents indicated that, administrative decision on (items 1-3) that is, “promotion of staff”, “staff training and development” and “selection of Deans/HODs/Directors” are always based on data from MIS while, the remaining (items 4-9) had below 40% of the respondents indicating that data from MIS is sometimes used to support decisions on short-term planning. On the average, 36% of the respondents indicated that data from Management Information System is used to make decisions on short-term design while 32.7% indicated that Management Information System is sometimes used for managerial decision on short-term planning and 31% indicated that Management Information System is never used to perform executive decisions on short-term planning. The results therefore, revealed that information from Management Information System is not adequately used for management decisions on short-term planning within the universities.

Figure 2 shows the use of Management Information System for decisions on short-term planning in the universities. Table 3 shows that above 40% of the respondents to item 1, 2, and 5 indicated that, administrative decisions on budgeting issues in the universities are always based on MIS, while only 50% of the respondents indicated that decisions on cost of each program at the university are sometimes based on data from MIS and 39.3% of the respondents indicated that decisions on “unit price per graduating students” (item 4) is always decided with the use of data from MIS. On the average, 44.3% of the respondents indicated that data from MIS is always used for management decisions on budgeting in the universities, 35.3% indicated that MIS is rare used while, 20.4% indicated that MIS is never used for decision making on budgeting. From the results, it is clear that decisions on budgeting in the universities are to a slight extent based on data from Management Information System. Figure 3 other shows the use of MIS in decision-making on budgeting.

Hypothesis 1:

It shows that, there are no significant differences regarding the use of Management Information System in the decision-making system on planning between the Universities.

Table 4 shows the difference in the use of Management Information System facilities in the decision-making process on long-term planning in the Federal and, State universities. The result shows that the value of t-calculated (0.58) is less than the t-table value (1.96). Therefore, the null hypothesis is not rejected. This means that there are no significant differences in the utilisation of MIS on decision- making process on long-term planning within the Federal and State universities.

Hypothesis 2:

There is no significant difference in the use of Management Information System in the decision-making process on short-term planning between Federal Universities and State Universities.

Table 5 shows the difference in the use of Management Information System facilities in the decision-making process on short-term planning in the Federal and, State universities. The result obtained from the analyzed table that the value of t-calculated (1.91) < t-table (1.96) that is, t-cal is less than the t-table. Thus, the null hypothesis is not rejected at 0.05 level of significance. That means there are no significant differences in the utilization of MIS on decision-making process on short-term planning between the Federal and, State universities

Hypothesis 3:

There is no significant difference in the use of Management Information System in the decision-making process on budgeting between Federal Universities and State Universities. Table 6 shows the difference in the use of Management Information System facilities in the decision-making process on budgeting between universities. The result of the analysis reveals that the value of t-calculated is greater than the t-table value that is, (2.27) > t-table (1.96); therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected at 0.05 level of significance. This means that there is a significant difference between the utilization of MIS facilities in the decision-making process on budgeting in the Federal and State universities. The mean scores of State universities (21.91) is less than that of Federal universities (22.85) which show that, Federal universities use MIS facilities in decision-making on budgeting more than the State universities.

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DISCUSSION

The study revealed that Management Information System was not adequately used to make decisions on long-term planning in the universities. Less than 40% of the respondents indicated that MIS was always used in making decisions on building construction, manpower projection, staff recruitment exercises, establishment of new faculties, designing academic strategy and stocking library with books and journals. This shows that the level of utilization of Management Information System for decision making on long-term planning falls below expectation in the universities. It must be emphasized that inadequate use of MIS in making decisions on long- term planning could slow down the pace of growth and development of the universities. The inadequate use of MIS in making decisions in these areas could be as a result of inadequate Management Information System facilities, computer illiteracy among staff and other logistics. The finding agrees with that of Shuabu (1995), that planning in universities was not based on adequate and, current information. It was also found that information from Management Information System was not adequately used for administrative decisions on planning. On average, only 36% of the respondents indicated that MIS was always used in making decisions on short- term planning. The inadequate use of Management Information System in decision making on short- term planning may not facilitate accurate and up-to-date data and information required for efficient and effective planning in the universities. Adequate use of MIS will enhance accurate and, timely information which are needed for effective decisions on issues related to staff promotion, staff training and development, appointment of staff to duty posts, allocation of resources among others.

The study also revealed that decisions on budgeting were to a little extent based on MIS. Though, it is fairly better than other decision areas examined in this study. It must be emphasized that care is usually taken by the universities to base their budgeting on appropriate information, possibly because financial management is a major area of focus by the funding agents, i.e. Federal and State governments. The results also justify the fact that all Nigerian universities perform similar roles as stipulated in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). Budget preparation requires the use of accurate and timely information which MIS can readily provide. Nwamarah (1995) believes that for effective budgeting in universities, linkage is necessary between the Bursary and the MIS unit. Expressing a contrary view, Dewelt (1977) believes that the most important element in financial decisions is the need to relate expenditure to income available to units, based on priorities and not whether the procedure is manual or computerized. The study revealed that there was no significant difference between the universities in the use of MIS for decision -making process on both long and short term planning. The findings reiterate the fact that needs to plan realistically using adequate information might not be affected by the proprietorship of the universities (Federal and State-owned). However, as submitted by Dyer, Davies and Giagu (1990), without adequate application of computer and manual methods of information storage, it would be difficult to plan effectively.

It was also found that, there was a significant difference in the use of MIS in decision- making process on budgeting between the universities in favor of the Federal universities. The reason for this might be due to the fact that the Federal universities are better equipped with Management Information System facilities as a result of better funding. According to Aminu (1986), Federal universities are better funded and more financially accountable to NUC than State universities.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, MIS was not adequately used for decision- making on planning and budgeting in the universities. Moreover, while Federal and State Universities did not make a difference in the use of Management Information System for decision- making process on planning, it made a difference in decision- making process on budgeting. Thus, it is recommended that the Management Information System units should be adequately financed and maintained to certain free flow of information and adequate use of Management Information System in decision making on long-term and short-term planning and budgeting. Proper orientation should be given to managers of the organization at all levels and in-service training for secretaries to ensure proper and adequate use of Management Information System facilities in generating information for better decisions in the universities.


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