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Managing microcomputers in large organizations
McDonough F., National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, 1985. Type: Book (9789780309034920)
Date Reviewed: Nov 1 1985

The National Research Council’s Board on Telecommunications and Computer Applications held a forum in late 1983 to address these and related concerns [Managing Microcomputers in Large Organizations]. . . . This book is the product of that meeting. Written by and for executives, it probes these questions: Where is microcomputer technology going? What are the implications of these directions for large organizations? What are the emerging issues critical to top management? And how are selected large organizations dealing with these issues?

--From the Preface

This softcover book contains contributions from 20 separate individuals, many of whom are prominent veterans in the computer field. Perhaps the book’s major strength lies in the wide variety of management styles that emanate from beneath the statements of these representatives. The various styles reflect the rigidity of the military; the bureaucracy of government; the stiff control of autocratic business; and the almost total lack of control in a laissez faire business approach. There is a fascinating diversity that surprisingly seems to converge on the same results and in nearly the same time frames.

There are a number of interesting statements and small gems that could be of value to nearly any MIS manager. For instance, John Diebold states, “End-user education is where the bulk of the future Data Processing (DP) training budget will have to be spent.” Alastair Omand of General Motors says, “MIS people can help users sort out alternatives and evaluate the applications. But they should not be given too much authority. Keep the users in charge.” Norman Epstein of E. F. Hutton states, “. . . .I view the personal computer as a dangerous weapon and I treat it as such.”

Despite the rapid changes in microcomputer technology, this book should not be shunned because the forum took place back in 1983. It is not likely to be quickly outdated. Neither should it be ignored by those in smaller organizations. Although the impetus of the forum was explicitly for large organizations, the problems attacked are common to businesses and institutions of virtually any size.

Reviewer:  Lou Lucke Review #: CR109418
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