Misassumptions made by management information systems.

  1. Managers need more relevant information: They actually need less irrelevant information, since drowning in information leads to a reduction in information use in decisions.
  2. Managers perform better when they have the information they want: Good managers manage systems they don’t understand, but giving them all the information they’d need to explain the system again leads to ignoring data.
  3. Managers perform better when they have the information they need: If we knew what information a system/decision needed to be solved, the problem would be readily solvable without the manager.
  4. Organizations perform better when managers share more information: Managers are usually at odds with one another and sharing information allows them to harm each other more effectively. Sharing less information lets them protect their interests.
  5. Managers don’t need to understand information systems, just their outputs: The designers don’t understand management’s needs however, and therefore inadvertently manage management. Management needs this context to interpret.


  1. Russell Ackoff, “Learning and Legacy of Dr. W. Edwards Deming - Continuous Improvement,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqEeIG8aPPk. (See notes.)