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Cybernetics and the Agility Question

George Hobbs
University of Melbourne, Australia
Rens Scheepers
University of Melbourne, Australia

The ability to sense and respond effectively to fluctuations in an environment is the fundamental problem addressed by cybernetics. When applied to the context of the organizational IT function, agility denotes the capacity of the IT function to perceive "signals" from its internal and external environments, to interpret these, and respond appropriately. The processing of such signals requires the selection and filtering of information to drive decision-making for response in a timely way. The challenge for the IT function is processing an overwhelming collection of signals, in un-standardized formats, and from overlapping sources, that tends to overload decision-makers. Informed by a cybernetic model, we studied how the IT function enables agility. We found evidence (1) that the more mature the policy processes of the IT function, the more the IT function will create agility in information systems; (2) The more mature the intelligence processes of the IT function to look outside the organization, the more the IT function will create agility in information systems and; (3) The more mature the control processes of the IT function that focus on the current use of information systems, the more the IT function will create agility in information systems.

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Reference:Hobbs, G.A., Scheepers, R. (2010). "Cybernetics and the Agility Question," Proceedings > Proceedings of IFIP 8.2/Organizations and Society in Information Systems (OASIS) . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(114). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-114
Keywords:Cybernetics, Agility, IT Function
Item Type:Article - Volume 10 Article 114 (2010)
Email: George Hobbs (georgehobbs@gmail.com)
Rens Scheepers (r.scheepers@unimelb.edu.au)

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