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MIS 485
Theoretical Foundations of Managements Information Systems (IS)
Winter 2003, Room UC 64

Professor Marius Janson
Office: 207 Computer Center Building
Phone: 314-516-5846
Fax: 314-516-6827

Office Hours:  Tuesday 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Class Hours:   Tuesday 6:55-9:35 p.m.


Textbook: S. Alter (1999) Information Systems: A Management Perspective, 3rd Edition, Addison Wesley. 

About the Instructor: Marius Janson is Professor of Management Information Systems (IS) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Visiting Professor of IS at Oulun Yliopisto, Oulu, Finland. His research focuses on Data Integrity, Information Systems Analysis and Design, Prototyping, Information Systems and Economic Transformation in Eastern European Countries, Information Systems and Organizational and Societal Transformation, and Electronic Commerce. His publications have appeared in Decision Sciences, Information and Management, International Journal of Information Management, Information Systems Journal, Journal of Management Information Systems, Management Information Systems Quarterly, and Omega. He has held visiting faculty positions at the University of British Columbia, Canada (1990, 1992, 1993); University of Gdansk, Poland (1995); University of Maribor, Slovenia (1997); and Oulun Yliopisto, Finland (2000). Prior to his academic career he was Electrical Engineer and Manager of Engineering at Honeywell, Inc. Minneapolis, MN, and at Research, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

 Course Description: The course focuses on the practical application of information systems (IS) in organizations. The course will draw on IS theory covered in the textbook and on first hand research of the instructor.

 The application of IS does not occur in a world that can be described mechanistically, instead IS is introduced in human organizations. Hence, describing and understanding IS implementation requires multidisciplinary methods such as found in systems theory, statistics, economics, political science, management, sociology, ethnography, and linguistics. No one is expected to be conversant with all these theories. Consequently, research articles using some of these theories will be introduced where appropriate.

 The difficulties surrounding the application of IS have confounded us ever since the 1950s when the earliest computer-based information systems were introduced and it is hardly better today. These difficulties were made worse by the fact that IS personnel were forever coming up with new "fads" that were "hyped" as being the ultimate solution to all organizational problems. Hence, as a defense against disappointment, the practicing manager should critically evaluate IT claims and IT research. Creating a critical attitude is one of the objectives of the course.

 Today one reads incessantly that he/she lives in a global economy. For example, many US-based and European-based companies outsource software development to India. Also, business applications increasingly span multiple continents with different cultures. Generating appreciation for and sensitivity to cultural assumptions is essential to working in an international business environment. This course introduces IT applications in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. This means that international job assignments will be the rule rather than the exception

 Class Attendance and Participation: It is essential that students attend class without fail. Furthermore, to ensure lively class discussion the assigned materials should be read before the due date. The instructor's role during class discussions is one of ensuring focus but student input to the discussions is essential. To ensure attendance and participation we will have four un-announced short quizzes (fifteen minutes in length) at the start of class sessions (i.e., not all classes will have a quiz). Quizzes will be based on the readings assigned for the day of the quiz. The quiz with the lowest score will be dropped. There will be NO MAKEUP quizzes - if you miss taking a quiz consider that the one that you may drop.

 Quizzes and exams are open book and open notes. This is in keeping with course philosophy that holds that understanding the issues is far more useful and important than learning by route. However, be aware that close reading of the assigned materials is essential to achieving good grades. It is unlikely that one can makeup during a quiz or exam for not having read the assigned topics.

 Course Assignments and Grades:

 Class Participation 10%

Quizzes 20%

Project 30%

Midterm 20%

Final (Take Home) 20%


Project: Students will be divided into groups of four students each. Each group will make a one-hour in-class presentation. These presentations will be scheduled during the final hour of a class session. Each group will be assigned a unique project. Project topics will correspond to the readings and, hence, all students are expected to be knowledgeable about the material being presented. I expect classmates to engage the presenters in lively discourse. Presenters spend much time and effort and, hence, I expect critique from classmates to be helpful and supportive.

 Projects should be typed, single-spaced, no more than 10 pages in length, using MS Word and submitted as an attachment to an e-mail message. The submission should include overheads in MS Power Point. Preparing a good presentation takes time and it is therefore necessary that groups contact me early on during the semester.

 Project reports should be well written, well researched, and well referenced. Good reports writing skills can be learned by carefully reading the research articles used in this class. Writing in active voice and using a direct style is preferred (e.g., articles by Lacity).


Potential Topics:

 Project 1. Role and/or Use of Information Systems in Organizations

Project 2. Ethics and Information Systems in Organizations

Project 3. eCommerce Business Model

Project 4. eCommerce Business Strategy

Project 5. Economic Transformation and Information Systems

 Final Exam Due Date: Tuesday May 13 (Exams will be accepted until 24:00). Exams should be typed, single-spaced using MS-Word and submitted as an e-mail attachment to

Date: Reading Reading Topics
Jan 14 Chptr 1, 1-14, Chptr 2, 25-28, 44-52.   The nature and scope of IS and its uses in organizations.  The nature of IT and its relation to IS.
Jan 21 Chptr 3, 53-79, Chptr 4, 127-131. Bacon, C. J., and Fitzgerald, B. (2001) “A Systemic Framework for the Field of Information Systems,” in Database for Advances in Information Systems, New York: NY. Computer languages: purpose, historical development, expertise needed, role and life of programmer.
Jan 28 No Class    
Feb 4 Chptr 5, 173-202. Janson, M., and Subramanian, A. (1995) “Packaged Software Selection and Implementation Policies,” INFOR. Software Packages: Transaction processing, ERP, Data Warehousing, CRM, Office Automation, Groupware.
Feb 11 Chptr 6, 203-226.   Software Packages: Decision Support Systems, Expert Systems.
Feb 18 Chptr 7, 228-258. Iivari, J., and Janson, M. (2003) “Analysis of Electronic Commerce Adopter Categories: The Case of Automobile Dealerships,” Journal of Organizational Computing. eCommerce: B2C, B2B, B2E, G2E applications, strategy, development.
Feb 25 Chptr 7, 228-258. Anand Jeyaraj, The Evolution of eBusiness Strategies. eCommerce: Real-world applications.
Mar 4 Chptr 8, 315-383.   IS: How does it support human problem solving?
Mar 11 Chptr 9, 347-346. Janson, M., (1997) “Colruyt: An Organization Committed to Communication,” Information Systems Journal. IS analysis, design, and implementation.
Mar 18 Chptr 9, 347-346, Chptr 10, 368-382. Sauer, C., and Lau, C. (1997) “Trying to Adopt Systems Development Methodologies: A Case-Based Exploration of Business Users’ Interests,” Information Systems Journal. IS analysis, design, and implementation, and acquiring an IS without IS development.
Mar 25 Midterm Break    
Apr 1 Midterm Exam, Chptr 11, 384-403   Midterm covers chapters 1 through 10. Exam will be a mix of multiple choice and essay questions.
Apr 8 Chptr 11, 384-403   Enduser computing: Why enduser computing and how to manage this activity. Presentation Group 1.
Apr 15 Chptr 13, 551-573. Dexter, A., Janson, M., Kiudorf, E., and Laast-Laas (1993) “Key Information Technology Issues in Estonia,” Journal of Strategic Information Systems. Managing the IS effort and the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Presentation Group 2.
Apr 22 Chptr 14, 575-596.   Managing IT resources and the role of the CIO. Presentation Group 3.
Apr 29 Chptr 15, 597-626. Janson, M. (1985) “Prototyping for Systems Development: A Critical Appraisal,” MISQ. Managing IT function and the role of the CIO. Presentation Group 4.



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