Computer Literate Executives and Information Systems

[Abstract]
The purpose of this document is to provide an argument to the question, “As more computer- and information system-literate employees move into executive positions, will executive support systems be needed? Why or why not?” The second part of this document answers the questions, “What special knowledge, other than that found in a course catalog, is needed to advise students about course and degree requirements in a university? Is it explicit or implicit knowledge? Could this knowledge be made available through a knowledge management system? Why or why not?”

[Content]
When answering the question, “As more computer- and information system-literate employees move into executive positions, will executive support systems be needed? Why or why not?,” it is important to know what an executive support system is. An executive support system is a software application, which produces reports with metrics for higher-level executives to look at and analyze based upon the information provided (webopedia.com, 2004). Many of the reports pull data from different departments such as, accounting, staffing, scheduling, and more. With these reports executives are able to make critical decisions that will best benefit the company for planning or business opportunities that may arise. These decisions should be based upon the company’s vision or direction the company wants to go and with the reports, which hold the information of where the company stands presently.

Based upon the definition of what an executive support system (ESS) is, one can make the argument that even though there may be more technologically sound business executives there will still need the support system in order for the company to grow. No matter how big or how small a company is, it is important for the decision makers to have a macro view of where the company currently stands. Without knowing where the company is, the business executive or CEO cannot take a vision to make a plan of where the company should be and how to get there. It is the need for the knowledge of the company’s current status for the executive support system. Even though a business executive is more technologically advanced they will still have a need for the ESS, however they may require fewer support from their local information technology (IT) department. With having business executives that are more technologically sound, the IT department may not need to response to mundane tasks like helping a user map to a printer or properly setup their e-mail account.

In order to be able to answer the questions, “What special knowledge, other than that found in a course catalog, is needed to advise students about course and degree requirements in a university? Is it explicit or implicit knowledge? Could this knowledge be made available through a knowledge management system? Why or why not?,” it is first important to know the difference between implicit and explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is the type of knowledge, which can be gained from documents, manuals, and even procedures (Zoltan Dienes, Josef Perner, 1999). Implicit knowledge is the type of knowledge from where you consciously or unconsciously are able to process from within your mind. A good way to look at the two different words is that Implicit knowledge is something you gain from within and explicit knowledge is something you gain from an outside source.

With knowing the differences between explicit and implicit knowledge’s, one can make the argument that in order to advise students about course or degree requirements within a university the majority of information is going to be explicit information and therefore this knowledge could be made available through a knowledge management system. The majority of information about courses and requirements can be found in a course catalog, and therefore is explicit knowledge, however the ability to look at each student on a case by case basis and then determine which path best suites their best interests is going to be completed by using experience or implicit knowledge. The vast majority of students should be able to use a knowledge management system to determine their best course in obtaining a degree. By using this explicit knowledge there should be few things or people that implicit knowledge is needed for.

In conclusion, when trying to determine if an ESS is going to be needed due to business men becoming more technologically savvy and if a knowledge management system would work for a university trying to advise students, it is best to know about what an executive support system is and the differences between explicit and implicit knowledge’s. Once a person knows what these things are, then they can make an argument to support their claim.

References
1. (2004, October 24th). What is Executive Support System? – A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary. Retrieved August 9, 2008, from What is Executive Support System? – A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary Web site: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/Executive_Support_System.html
2. Zoltan Dienes, and Josef Perner (1999). A theory of implicit and explicit knowledge. Retrieved August 9, 2008, from A theory of implicit and explicit knowledge Web site: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=BBS

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