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7. Information technology

Questions for Discussion

  • 1. What changes does information technology cause?
  • 2. What is an information system?
  • 3. What are computer-based information systems?
  • 4. What kind of information do they produce?
  • 5. What are the main managerial needs for information?
  • 6. How are managerial needs for information satisfied?
  • 7. What are the main types of information systems?
  • 8. How are advances in information technology increasing the options related to the location of work?
  • 9. What is the logical office? What made it possible?
  • 10. What are the potential organizational risks?
  • 11. How do companies protect themselves from security breaches?
  • 12. How can companies avoid computer viruses?

Target Vocabulary

a considerable impact on

telecommuting

information system

logical office

computer-based information system

lap-top computer

managerial needs

errors

transaction processing

physical calamities

office automation

security breaches

decision support

organizational risk

executive support

phone-jack facility

to thwart

to tamper with computer networks

encryption

computer sabotage

Vocabulary Practice

Exercise 1. Use your target vocabulary to replace these explanations.

  • 1. working from home, communicating with your office, customers and others by telephone or e-mail_
  • 2. working from any place the individual is in without being tied to any specific location_
  • 3. putting information into a specific code to prevent people from looking at it without

authority_

  • 4. a failure the result of which is that the system is no longer secure_
  • 5. a device that gives an electronic connection between two pieces of electrical equipment
  • 6. a small computer that can work with a battery and be easily carried_

Exercise 2. Complete these sentences using your target vocabulary in the appropriate form.

  • 1. ... includes the deliberate disruption of computer-related activities or the destruction of software or data.
  • 2. ... caused by gaining unauthorized entry to computers gives companies a lot of trouble.
  • 3. Wiping out records may ... the programmers work.
  • 4. Somebody has obviously ... with the files.
  • 5. Companies have to take measures to disguise their data, one of them being...
  • 6. ... has become a very convenient way of dealing with customers.

Tips for Topic Development

Text 1

As computers grow more pervasive, information technology is beginning to have a considerable impact on many aspects of organizations. Major areas of influence include organization structure, individual jobs, and organizational risk.

An information system which is a set of procedures designed to collect (or retrieve), process, store, and disseminate information, is a useful tool to support planning, decision making, coordination, and control. Information systems that make use of computers and often referred to as computer-based information systems produce information that is relevant, accurate, timely, complete, and concise, given the particular managerial need.

To serve the needs of different organizational levels, there are five major types of information systems: transaction processing, office automation, management information, decision support, and executive support. Decision support systems and related expert systems represent outgrowths of a specialized information technology field called artificial intelligence.

Agree or disagree with these statements.

  • 1. Computers perform a lot of managerial functions.
  • 2. The information we get from computers is always reliable.
  • 3. It isnt safe to put sensitive information on the computer.
  • 4. The computer serves managerial needs on different organizational levels equally efficiently.
  • 5. Decision-making is becoming more accurate due to computers.
  • 6. The use of an executive support system must be confined only to unstructured situations.

Text 2

We all understand that computers are indispensable for modern companies. At the professional level, computers reduce the number of routine tasks while increasing the ability of professionals to communicate with others both inside and outside the company. At the managerial level, computers offer managers new aid to help with decision-making and control.

Advances in information technology are increasing the options related to the location of work. One outgrowth is telecommuting, a form of working at home that is made possible by using computer technology to remain in touch with the office.

Another possibility that derives from advanced technology is the logical office, the concept that portable microcomputers (called lap-top computers) allow an individuals office to be anywhere the individual is, rather than being restricted to one specific location.

But the relatively recent invasion of personal computers in the workplace has raised a number of problems. Despite all the potential benefits, information technology does pose some considerable risks to organizations.

Among the most significant are problems concerning the kind of jobs they can perform. Companies must decide whether they will use computers for clerical jobs that are extremely simple and require little skill or for jobs that involve considerable creativity and skill. On the other hand there are risks of possible errors, physical calamities, theft, sabotage and security breaches.

Managers who use laptops as they travel often have to cope with such inconveniences as extra scrutiny by airport security, batteries that lose power, and inadequate phone-jack facilities in hotel rooms.

Say which of the statements below are true and which are false.

  • 1. Computers create additional problems for professional communication inside and outside the company.
  • 2. At the managerial level computers help businessmen to perform organizing and leading functions.
  • 3. Telecommuting is a form of exchanging information between companies.
  • 4. The logical office is an individuals office which is not fixed to any particular place.
  • 5. Computers can perform jobs that involve creativity.
  • 6. The reputation of computers for business purposes is irreproachable.
 
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