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THE USE OF MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN NATIONAL BOARD FOR TECHNICAL EDUCATION
1.1 Background to the Study
The world is in a dispensation of great change and working in an Information Age, where managers have to assimilate masses of data, convert that data into information, form conclusions about that information for planning and making decisions leading to the achievement of business objectives. The place of information in an organization sense is complex. Information is very crucial for effective running of all organization. It is a basic and important resource needed to develop other resources in any thriving organization. Information is data that have been processed into meaningful and perceivable form for use by administrators and managers in planning and decision-making. In the same vein Eyitayo et a ( 2006) said information is data which has been processed in such a way as to be meaningful and useful to the person who receives it. Uhegbu (2001), held the view that information is a conveyor of knowledge, a change agent, a reinforcement of ideas and opinion.
The development and use of MIS is a modern phenomenon concerned with the use of appropriate information that will lead to a better decision making and organizational planning, hence better results Ali et a ( 2011). A manager‟s effectiveness is largely dependent on the existence and use of information system such as a management information system. Management information system gathers, process, store and disseminate relevant information to the appropriate levels of management to support their planning and decision making. O‟Brien (2003) reported that information supports every aspect of business activities and therefore provides organizations with knowledge to support their decision making responsibilities. Adebayo (2007) is of the opinion that if the relevant information required in a decision making
process or an organizational planning is not available at the appropriate time then, there is a good chance to be a poor organizational planning, inappropriate decision making, poor priority of needs and defective programming of activities.
Management information system is an ever evolving and a useful integrated user-machine for providing information, supporting operations, management, analysis and decision making functions by utilizing computer hardware, software models and database. MIS is basically concerned with processing data into information which is then communicated to the various departments, in an organization for appropriate decision making. MIS provides several benefits to organizations some of which are: it provides effective and efficient means of coordination between departments, quick access to relevant data and documents; use of less labour; quick and reliable referencing; management of day-to-day operations and day-to-day assistance in a department and improvement in organizational and departmental techniques.
Various organizations have chosen to apply this system to their organizations. Management information systems have become a major function area of business administration. According to Heven et al ( 2004), information systems nowadays play a vital role in the e-business and e-commerce operations, enterprise and management and strategic success of the business. Despite the role MIS play in organization, some organization up till date still find it difficult to break even as a result of series of barrier.
1.1.1 Concept of Barrier
A barrier is, generally speaking an obstacle, an obstruction, or a hindrance that may prevent an event from taking place Peng and Nunes, (2010). From the business perspective, barrier is an obstacle within the business context that prevents business objectives from being realized. In essence a barrier to MIS exploitation is any obstacle or factor that is inherent to the
business context or the system itself, and can prevent organizations from efficiently using, maintaining and improving the implemented MIS. (Rucks and Ginter; 1982, Rach and Benbasat, 2000) argued that potential benefits associated with the use of MIS may not be achieved due to issues such as technological barriers, systems barrier and organizational barrier.
National Board for technical Education as an Agency of the Federal Ministry of education specially established to handle all aspects of technical and vocational education training in Nigeria, generates a lot of data both internally and externally which the human brain can no longer comprehend hence, need a perfect working MIS devoid of barriers designed to meet all the stakeholders, management, and staff information needs for effective and efficient organizational operations, decision making and organizational planning.
1.1.2 Concept of Management Information System
Management information system is a computer-based system that provides managers with the tools for organizing, evaluating and efficiently running their departments. In order to provide past, present and prediction information, an MIS can include software that help in decision making, data resources such as database, the hardware resources of a system, decision support systems, people management and project management applications and any computerized processes that enable the department to run efficiently. In the words of Alzarani (2010), MIS is an information system that generates accurate, timely and organized information so managers and other users can make decisions, solve problems and supervise activity. MIS produces fixed, regularly scheduled reports based on data extracted and summarized from the firm‟s underlying transaction processing systems to middle and operational managers to identify and inform structured and semi structured decision problems. Sekhar (2007) opined that MIS is a “system that collects and processes data (information) and provides it to managers at all levels
who uses it for decision making, planning, program implementation and control”. In other words, MIS is aimed at proffering the management with a solution to a problem.
According to Laudon and Laudon (2004), MIS is an integral Part of organizations which represents an organizational and management solution, based on information technology, to a challenge posed by the environment. MIS is an information system that enhances management decision making. This is because it possesses decision making capability. It is therefore a dynamic concept subject to change, time and again, continually interacting with the internal and external environment of the organization and thereby provide a corrective mechanism within the system that brings about the change needed by a typical MIS. According to David and Olson, (2005); Lucas,( 2000) McLeod,( 2005). A MIS essentially produces information that supports the management functions of an organization. In essence, MIS is the link required to connect all the organization‟s components together, hence providing better operation and survival in a competitive environment. Similarly, O‟Neil and Adiya, (2007) reported that organizations that do not have formal information sharing practices will fail to leverage their manager‟s intellectual capital for business innovation and growth. This means that MIS enables the exchange of experience which transfers the required information to the management levels to sustain competitive advantage since it affects the decision making to improve the quality of services provided. In the same vein, Barachini et al,( 2009) said it is imperative that organizations should continuously motivate their employees to share valuable information so that their intellectual capital can be leveraged. MIS will give management a new dimension in managing its knowledge and help in carrying out and maximizing the management‟s initiation in harmonizing the appropriate strategies in the short and long term planning( Edmondson: 2002). MIS exist to
improve and enhance decision making on the issues affecting human and material resources (Adebayo: 2007).
1.1.3 The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)
The National Board for Technical Education is one of the agencies of the Federal Ministry of Education specially established to handle all aspects of Technical and Vocational Education Training in Nigeria. It was established by Act No. 9 of 11th January, 1977. There are at present 110 approved tertiary technical institutions and 159 technical colleges under the purview of the Board with different types of ownership. The NBTE provides standardized minimum guide curricula for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). It supervises and regulates through an accreditation process, the programs offered by the technical institutions and colleges. It is also involved in the funding of the government polytechnics and monotechnics.
The vision of the NBTE is to promote quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TEVT) for the sustainable development, growth and leadership roles of Nigeria in Africa and global affairs. Its mission is to promote the production of skilled/semi skilled technical and professional manpower, to revitalize and sustain the national economy, reduce unemployment and poverty through the setting of appropriate quality assurance instrument for planning and decision making, sourcing and disbursing of funds and establishment of adequate linkages between TVET institutions and industry (NBTE News Letter, 2013 ).
1.2 Statement of Problem
Barriers pose serious problems to organizations as they rely on their employees to adapt to changes that will improve staff performance and productivity, however, the adaptation is usually slow, often difficult and sometimes even unsuccessful.
Management effectiveness is largely dependent on the existence and use of information for planning and decision making in an organization, therefore if the relevant information required in a decision making process or an organizational planning is not available at the appropriate time then, there is a good chance to be a poor organizational planning, inappropriate decision making, poor priority of needs and defective programming or scheduling of activities. The development and use of MIS in the modern organization became necessary as an efficient information management system creates, processes, and disseminates information that is critical to organizational performance. It ensures that information is available to the managers and other users in the form they want it and when they need it. This is why timely information is particularly central to effective decision making in an organization. Similarly, Reedy et al (2009), reported that information system is the mechanism to ensure that information is available to the managers in the form they want it and when they need it.
In a specialized setting like the NBTE a lot of data are being generated both internally and externally on a daily basis. Its proper transformation and dissemination on daily basis is very crucial. The NBTE is a large scale organization in terms of size, area, coverage, varieties of activities and functions, and also diverse manpower requirements. It is therefore, natural that such large organization should adapt an information system (MIS) devoid of any barrier to facilitate information generation, management, and use by the staff, management and the stakeholders.
Despite the roles MIS play in supporting managers in information provision for an improved planning and decision making function, the level of awareness and use of this system by management of NBTE appears to be very minimal. Preliminary investigation by the researcher revealed that information generation, process, storage and dissemination are carried out majorly through manual system. This made the researcher to ponder whether it is as a result of poor utilization of the management information system which leads to delay in information accessibility?.
It is against this backdrop that this study is being undertaken to determine the use of MIS in NBTE Kaduna, to identify the barriers to the use of MIS, to determine the impact of the use of MIS on the management work processes and to determine the extent of management reliance on MIS for their information needs.
1.3 Research Questions
For the purpose of this study, the following questions are set:
- What are the barriers to the use of Management Information System in NBTE?
- What is the impact of the use of MIS on management work processes?
- To what extent do you rely on MIS for your information need?
1.4 Objectives of the study
The objectives of this study are:
- To identify the barriers inhibiting the use of MIS in NBTE.
- To determine the impact of MIS use on management work processes
- To determine the extent to which management rely on MIS for their information need
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is important because it tends to identify the barriers to effective use of MIS in National Board for Technical Education, Kaduna. It provides the management and stakeholders‟ knowledge on the roles MIS play in organization. MIS is basically concerned with the process of collecting, processing, storing and transmitting relevant information to support management in their challenging role of decision making. However, this can only be achieved if the stakeholders, management and staff fully appreciate the role and importance of MIS and challenges the organization is bound to face failure to adequately accept and utilize MIS. Preliminary interview section with some of the managers of NBTE indicates that currently no evaluative work has been done as regards to the organization‟s MIS utilization in NBTE Kaduna. Therefore, the outcome of this study will result into recommendations to address the challenges identified at the end of the study.
The findings will reflect the type of barriers that hinders adequate utilization of MIS and how organization can overcome them. It will create a general awareness on how the use of MIS is beneficial in the management of NBTE operations and organizations in general. The study is of significant value to researchers and scholars in the Library/ Information Science discipline in ABU Zaria, Nigeria and the world at large.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study focused on the use of MIS in National Board for Technical Education Kaduna. It aimed at identifying the barriers (organizational, system, individual or national barrier) that hinders effective use of MIS in NBTE, and to find out the consequences of the use of MIS on management. Due to the limitations placed on the researcher by time and finance, it will not be
possible to extend the study to other branches of the NBTE offices other than the Kaduna Head
Office. The study was limited to National Board for Technical Education branch in Kaduna.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined for their usage in the study.
Barrier : Any obstacle or factor that is inherent to the business context or the system itself, and that can prevent organizations from efficiently using, maintaining and improving the implemented system.
Data: They are facts obtained through reading, observation, counting, measuring, weighing, etc which are then recorded. It is derived from both internal and external sources.
Information: Data that have been processed into a meaningful and useful content/form and communicated to a recipient who uses it to make decisions? .
Information System : A complete system designed for the productions, collections,
organization, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information in an organization.
Management Information System : An Information System that uses formalized
procedure to provide management at all levels with appropriate information based on data
generated from both internal and external sources to support them in their decision making and
System : A system is an assembly of parts or components connected together in an organized