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Information systems are the means by which people and organisations, utilising technologies,
gather, process, store, use and disseminate information.
Domain of Study
The domain involves the study of theories and practices related to the social and
technological phenomena, which determine the development, use and effects of information
systems in organisations and society.
Scope of Domain of Study
- Theoretical underpinnings of information systems
- Data, information and knowledge management
- Information in organisational decision making
- Integration of information systems with organisational strategy and development
- Information systems design
- Development, implementation and maintenance of information systems
- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Management of information systems and services
- Organisational and social effects of ICT -based information systems
- Economic effects of ICT -based information systems
1. Theoretical underpinnings of information systems
The notions of wholeness, boundary, environment, emergence, communication, co-ordination
and control are fundamental to the understanding of IS. IS draws primarily on systems theory,
which provides an intellectual foundation and a basis for studying the enterprise as a complex
adaptive system. The practice of IS necessitates the integration of systems theory and theories
from other disciplines relevant to the range of application domains.
Systems theory and relevant theories from the domains of computer science, software
engineering, linguistics, cybernetics, management science, information science, ergonomics,
economics, management, sociology, anthropology, learning, psychology, philosophy,
organisation behaviour, ethics.
2. Data. information and knowledge management
Understanding of how data, information and knowledge can be modelled, stored, managed,
processed and disseminated by computer systems. Knowledge of techniques and technologies
used to organise data and information and enable their effective use by individuals, groups
Theory, e.g. data, information and knowledge; data modelling, e.g. entity- relationship
models and normalisation; file design and organisation; object-oriented design; distributed
databases; data mining and data warehousing; tool support, e.g. database management
systems and query languages, data dictionaries and systems repositories; technology, e.g.
database machines; information resource management, e.g. planning, control and security,
privacy issues; information seeking behaviour and information use; people support, e.g.
knowledge, information, data and database management in organisations; developing
databases, expert systems and AI applications; products and services.
3. Information in organisational decision making
Providing relevant information for decision making is a primary function of an information
system. Creating and utilising information systems for effective decision making requires the
system designer to understand what constitutes pertinent information and the context in
which decisions are made.
Definition of information, information policy, information management, information
structures and relationships; sources of and delivery of information, internal, external,
information media; properties of information, e.g. accuracy, currency, timeliness,
completeness, conciseness, relevance, etc.; information access and security; nature and
significance of decisions and decision making activities and processes and decision time
scales; characteristics of decision makers - individuals, groups, organisations and the cultural
context; decision analysis; decision support systems.
4. Integration of information systems with organisational strategy and development
The study of the relationship between the evolving role of information systems and the nature
of strategic development in organisations is integral to understanding the role and effects of
information systems. This includes the rationale and processes by which organisations
identify the needs for development and how they assess the business and organisational
Analysis of business and organisational strategic implications of IS; business/IS strategy
derivation, alignment, implementation and review; IS planning (applications, resources,
services, technology); investment appraisal/evaluation; risk management; benefit realisation;
organisational change management; sourcing decisions and organisational structuring of IS
6. Development, implementation and maintenance of information systems
Understanding the methodologies, techniques and tools associated with information systems
development, implementation and maintenance. The evaluation and selection of a systems
development approach appropriate to the nature and context of the information systems being
Types of organisation and business processes and information systems applications;
information systems life cycle - feasibility study, investigation, analysis, design,
development, review and maintenance; specification for programming and system
construction and testing; programming constructs and code design, data conversion and
operations planning; types of methodologies and frameworks - systems, process, data, object,
prototyping, human-oriented and contingency approaches; development environments and
tools (e.g. CASE, RAD, etc.); methodology products and suppliers; project management
frameworks and methodologies; training; implementation options and change management;
maintenance and enhancement, change control, systems performance review; documentation.
7. Information and Communication Technologies (lCT)
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) enable the processing and transfer of
data and information electronically for the purposes of the information system. ICT provide
the infrastructure for intra- and inter-organisational information systems. Knowledge of the
capabilities and limitations of ICT as components of information systems is essential to
understanding the design, performance, operation and use of information systems.
Computer hardware; systems software; application software; communication technologies;
network configuration and management; systems architectures; communication software and
protocols; programming languages and environments; security; communications interfaces;
communications media; middleware.
8. Management of information systems and services
The management of the specialist knowledge and capabilities associated with the applications
of information systems and ICT to deliver and sustain beneficial use, and the development of
best practice in information systems provision and governance.
The definition of roles and activities, development and acquisition of IS/IT skills and
competencies; organisation and deployment of resources; relationships with external
suppliers; relationship and service management between IS/IT specialists and other
organisational activities; management of IS/IT specialist personnel; operational performance
evaluation of IS, corporate governance of IS/IT, accounting for IS/IT investments and costs,
information and systems security and integrity.
9. Organisational and social effects of ICT based information systems
ICT based information systems affect individuals, groups, organisations and society. The
nature of work, skills, employment, organisation structures and management and professional
practices are constantly changing due to technology innovations and their pervasive
application. These systems also impact on social interaction and social and cultural evolution.
Individual skills, education and training; life-long learning - educational infrastructure,
provision and delivery; adaptability and behavioural effects; effects of ICT in the home,
leisure; information access and dissemination - the “information society”; health and safety;
legal issues (e.g. Data Protection); computer based crime; social surveillance and control;
national security; community governance; democratic participation and accountability
(“electronic government”); employment patterns; terms and conditions of employment;
location of work; organisation of work; teleworking and telecommuting; management
processes and structures, empowerment, virtual organisations, learning organisations; job
design and reward systems; internationalisation and globalisation.
10. Economic effects of ICT -based information systems
Information systems have economic and financial effects on individuals, organisations,
industries, markets, national economies, including the ICT industry. Understanding these
effects requires the application of economic theories and theories of competition, firms,
markets, and social behaviour to interpret and explain the range of effects in the different
dimensions of economic activity.
ICT industry (computers, telecommunications, software) analysis, its national, regional and
global evolution; national and global ICT infrastructures; information-based products and
services; effects on industry development and structures (e.g. logistics, financial services); ICT as
an enabler of corporate globalisation, mass customisation and the effects of information
availability; electronic commerce (intermediation and dis-intermediation effects); effects on
financial, commodity and equity markets of global computer-based trading; effects of legislation,
regulation and trade agreements; implications of external factors on IS/IT investment patterns.