Draws on a large group of research projects on the management use of information systems in the British National Health Service. Argues that information systems are just one part of the system of information by which the manager knows what is going on, and within which he or she constructs problems. Compares the advantages and disadvantages of four ways in which a manager may know about what is going on: information systems, gossip, walking about, and experience and imagination. Considers the effectiveness of these four for problem construction. Suggests that setting information systems in the context of other parts of the manager′s system of information may enable both the designers and the users of such systems to consider more carefully when and how their systems can be of use to senior managers in problem construction ‐ for it is more important for senior managers to be able to construct problems than to solve them.
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