Information orientation of a public organisation : a qualitative case study of the information orientation in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Tshirado, Nkhumbudzeni Maskew (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the New Information Economy, government institutions must reorganise themselves to leverage their resources for sustainable growth and to compete in the global market place. According to some authors, successful organisations tend to be those that rely on their ability to innovate, use information constructively and leverage employee competencies to create sustainable growth rather than focusing on buildings and machines. In this research, the effective use of an Information Orientation Strategy for the improvement of service delivery in the South African government departments and in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in particular, will be investigated. Some private organisations and a few public organisations have learned to use information effectively to achieve higher business performance. However, a sizeable number of public organisations are still operating within the paradigm of the old economy. The latter organisations, through their leadership, must learn to ensure that information is used to compete effectively throughout the organisation. They must start to collect information about the activities of their: competitors, clients and alliance partners in order to improve services, grow partnerships, and to respond to clients and customers in a more intelligent and speedier manner. The change in the effective use of information in an organisation starts at the top - that is, with the mindset and attitude of senior management. They need to start viewing information as a valuable resource which through interaction with information capabilities, form an information orientation (IO), which can predict and improve business performance. In order to attain a mature IO, an organisation must concurrently improve all the dimensions of the IO paradigm, namely: information management practices, information technology practices and information behaviours and values. The drive to a mature IO must be people-centred, to ensure that such people are predisposed to a culture of proactive use of information and sharing. This requires leadership to: develop corporate information values and behavioural norms; demonstrate such information behaviours in conducting their duties; provide competency training for improving skills and knowledge and link the two to performance management; introduce incentives and monetary and non-monetary rewards to reinforce the new values. This, in turn, will pave the way for the implementation of good information management practices and the use of information technology to support new initiatives. An organisation, by following this path, will be able to attain a higher IO and from this, an improved level of business performance such as: a superior organisational image and reputation, better service innovation, superior financial performance and greater business/service growth. The transition to the IO paradigm must commence with leadership providing an overarching information strategy to map out how the organisation intends to create value from its information-based assets. In the process of developing an information strategy, senior management must, amongst other aspects, evaluate the organisation’s strategic and capability mix, review the relationships between the strategic priorities and information capabilities, and determine how they will replace some of the traditional/outdated organisation capabilities and to implement an informationcapabilities maximisation effect. Most importantly, it must set the agenda for action and ensure its implementation and renewal. Information, as an important resource for an organisation, requires a strategy of its own. It is no longer feasible in the New Information Economy to manage successfully without a fully integrated information strategy on how an organisation will generate value from its information assets.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die Nuwe Informasie Ekonomie word daar van organisasies verwag om hulself te herorganiseer om sodoende die hefboom effek van hul hulpbronne in die globale mark omgewing optimaal te benut vir ‘n kompeterende voordeel. Volgens sommige skrywers, word suksesvolle organisasies gekenmerk as diesulkes wat voortdurend staatmaak op hul vermoëns om te innoveer, om informasie konstruktief te gebruik en om hul werknemer bevoeghede te hefboom om volhoubare groei te bewerkstellig eerder as om staat te maak op geboue en masjinerie. Sommige private sektor organisasies en ‘n klein aantal publieke sektor organisasies het al geleer om beter besigheidsprestasie te bereik deur informasie effektief te gebruik. Daar is egter nog ‘n groot aantal publieke sektor organisasies wat nog steeds hul besigheid bedryf binne die paradigma van die ou ekonomie. Laasgenoemde organisasies moet deur beter leierskap leer om informasie regdeur die organisasie vlakke te gebruik om effektief te kan meeding. Hulle moet begin deur informasie te versamel oor die aktiwiteite van hulle konkurente, kliënte en alliansie vennote om sodoende beter dienslewering te verseker en om vennootskappe met kliente te groei vir die ontwikkeling van slimmer en vinniger metodes. Die verandering na ‘n fokus op die effektiewe gebruik van informasie in ‘n organisasie begin bo, m.a.w. die houding en ingesteldheid van senior bestuur t.o.v. informasie gebruik. Dit is nodig dat hierdie sektor, toenemend informasie as ‘n waardevolle hulpbron, waardeur interaksie met informasie vermoëns, ‘n informasie oriëntasie (IO), wat prestasie kan voorspel en verbeter, gevestig kan word. Vir ‘n organisasie om ‘n volwasse IO te bereik, moet so ‘n organisasie gelykmatig aan al die dimensies van die IO paradigma, naamlik, goeie informasie bestuurs praktyk, goeie informasie tegnologie praktyk en goeie gedrag en waardes t.o.v. informasie, voldoen. Die strewe na IO volwassenheid moet egter mens-gesentreerd wees, om te verseker dat werknemers van ‘n organisasie voortdurend bedag sal wees op ‘n pro-aktiewe kultuur t.o.v. die gebruik en verdeling van informasie. Om dit te kan vermag sal leierskap benodig word wat, ko-operatiewe informasie waardes en gedrag in die uitvoering van pligte beklemtoon; wat bevoegdheidsopleiding vir die verbetering van bedrewenheid en kennis sal voorsien; wat koppeling met prestasie van voorafgaande sal instel en wat insentiewe en vergoeding, beide finansieel en nie-finansieel, vir die uitleef van die nuwe waardes sal aanbied. Op sy beurt sal dit die weg baan vir die implementering van goeie informasie bestuurspraktyk en die gebruik van goeie informasie tegnologie om steun te gee aan die nuwe inisiatiewe, bewerkstellig.‘n Organisasie wat hierdie strategie volg om ‘n beter IO en ‘n beter besigheidsprestasie te behaal sal dan daadwerklik ook ‘n superieure organisasie beeld en reputasie, beter dienslewerings innovasie en beter besigheidsgroei demonstreer. Die oorgang na die IO paradigma moet by leierskap begin; leierskap wat ‘n oorhoofse informasie strategie, wat aandui hoe die organisasie van plan is om hierdie waarde uit sy informasie-gebaseerde bates te kan skep, daar sal stel. Gedurende die informasie strategie ontwikkelings proses moet senior bestuur onder andere die organisasie se strategiese vermoëns mengsel evalueer en die verwantskappe tussen die strategiese prioriteite en die informasie bevoegdheid evalueer en dan bepaal hoe hulle van die tradisionele/uitgediende vermoëns gaan vervang om ‘n informasie vermoënsmaksimaliserings effek te verkry. Baie belangrik is die daarstelling van ‘n agenda vir aksie en om die implementering vir hernuwing daarvan te verseker. Kortliks gestel, informasie as ‘n belangrike hulpbron en bate vir die organisasie verdien ‘n strategie van sy eie. Dit is nie meer moontlik om in die era van die Nuwe Ekonomie suksesvol te bestuur sonder om ‘n geïntegreerde strategie van hoe die organisasie waarde uit sy informasie bates wil genereer daar te stel nie. In hierdie navorsing word die effektiewe gebruik van ‘n informasie oriëntasie strategie vir die verbetering van dienslewering in die Suid Afrikaanse publieke sektor in die algemeen en in die Department of International Relations and Cooperation, meer spesifiek, ondersoek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80348
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