Management Information and Control Systems

(1976) R. I. Tricker, (1983) R. I. Tricker and Richard J. Boland, Wiley


One of the major challenges facing the technologically advanced world is how society can function through vast, interrelated and complex organizations, without sacrificing human creativity and individuality. Management, whether in the private or public sector, providing social services or profit orientated, is in a decisive position. Against a backcloth of psychedelic change, the manager must create, plan and control his enterprise to achieve high goals.

In this situation effective management information and control systems are imperative, and those responsible for their design and operation need sound knowledge, rooted both in concepts and experience. Power lies behind all attempts to control and managers must also appreciate the nature of power and the human implications of its use.



The work stems from material developed for a masters’ level course at the University of Warwick and developed subsequently through work with senior executives at the Oxford Centre for Management Studies.



The conceptual weft and warp, which enables the fabric of a complex situation to be understood, can be expressed in many ways. Consequently, there could be many alternative structures for the book. The one chosen starts with the relevant theoretical concepts drawn from organizational behavioural, quantitative and communication theories and from the concepts of management information. Subsequently these theoretical ideas are exposed to operational issues – the management of information and the development of information and control systems.



Traditionally the development of management control systems could be considered a specialist function: today all managers are involved. Functional orientations need widening to meet organization wide demands for information. New bodies of knowledge are now available. Computers and modelling technology are only a small part of the answer. They must be matched by an ability to conceptualize, to understand what the organization is striving to achieve, and how it uses information. The need is for managers capable of causing change, rather than merely reacting to it. Such managers must be capable of thinking deeply about their organizations and perceive information needs. System development must be set in the overall organizational context. There is as much need for new organizational structure as computer assisted systems, to meet contemporary issues and opportunities.

The systems expert and the computer man, despite their technical skills, are sometimes insensitive to the human and organizational implications of their activities and to the problems causes by causing change. Thus the study of information and control systems is necessary for both manager, who must increasingly be in need of information, and the systems expert, who is increasingly involved in its supply. There is no simple, all pervasive theory to explain management information and control – anymore than there are panaceas for changing men and organizations. To achieve high aims, organizations need managers able to control increasing complexity, scale and change, who also have the perceptions to imagine new strategies, systems and structures. The overall purpose of this book is to contribute to that process.


Preface to the second edition

In the six years since the publication of the first edition the underlying technology of computers and communications has changed dramatically. The development of minis and micros, communication networks, important data-based information services, and a galaxy of office automation opportunities have added new dimensions to the issues facing management.  Moreover, the organization of the data-processing and information functions have evolved significantly. Such developments are reflected in the new edition. Significantly however, the need for education and training in the field remain as urgent as ever.



1. Information and decision

2. Systems and control

3. The human aspect of systems

4. The management control process

5. Data processing technology

6. The system development process

7. Evolving information systems

8. Managing information systems

9. Organizational development

10. Societal implications