Management is getting things done, or achieving results through the directed efforts of other people. It can also be defined as effective allocation and utilization of source resource achieve predetermined results.
Going by those definitions, getting things done means achieving results, the second definition points out that achievement of result could be attained with other people’s directed efforts. Directing other people involves communication. The third definitions also signifies achievement of results with effective allocation and utilization of scare resources such as man, materials, machines, Money and time hence the 4 M&T formulas. Once again we cannot effectively allocate and utilize resources without adequate information. This means that generally, management in any form cannot be effective or result –oriented without adequate information/ effective communication.
Information on the other hand involves a number of managerial activities. What is important about information is that it keeps the manager and management on top of its performance. It is very important for a man to know how many people feed in his house daily so as to know how to prepare for them. The manager who has little or no information on what he does or is doing or has to do, achieves little or no positive results. It can therefore be said that all phase of managerial performance require adequate information.
It can now be ask how manager gets information and what type of information does he get. There are control signals in management that provide information to the manager. These control signals are in two categories.
- There are some control signals that give the manager some information about what has happened so that he can take action to solve problems if there are any. Such control signals are regarded as curative. Coincidentally this forum is that paramedical personnel from who this word curative is commonly used. So it can be easily and stops it from creating further damages to the patient.
- There are also some signals that give information to the manager, warning him to prevent a potential problem. Such control signals are expected to be accurate and timely so that they will not give premature information that can force the manager to take wrong action or false steps. These are the control signals referred to as prevent. Again it rhymes with the medical information that helps his decision- making and action. Both are quite helpful and useful, although generally one is preferred to the other. It is always said that prevention is better than cure. Meaning it is better to prevent a problem than to solve it. Erwin schell has this contribute.
“An executive with only enough information to apply remedial rather than preventive measure is obviously not in a position to justify his responsibilities to top management in other word, it is the manager who can problem through organized information that is regarded as being on top of job. Some example of control signal is listed here. Please see through a find out what nature of signal they are and what information they give to the manager?
(ii) Employee turnover
(iii) Personnel Establishment figure
(v) Numbers of letter written
(vi) Time taken to reply to correspondence
(vii) Variance report
(viii) Project schedule
(xi) Volume of sale
(xii) Transaction per employee
(xiii) Maintenance cost
(xiv) Cost of labour
(xv) Total salary
(xvi) Amount of Overtime
(xviii) Advertising cost
(xix) Project Estimate
(xx) Record of absenteeism
(xxi) Alarm clock
How many these control signal have you used and for what reason? How accurate as the information given to you and how did it help to solve your problems. These signals are in the general group, because they apply to many organizations particular the private sector, some of them also apply to the public service. In any case they may give wrong information unless care is taken by the manager. What happen when control signal give us wrong information?
- Problem, unfavorable variance or shortfall are discovered too late to be corrected
- The manager find himself taking corrective action on problem that could have been prevented
- Subordinate are frequently explaining inventing excuses and apologizing for their action decisions
- The time of the manager and/ or his subordinate is misallocated; they focus on the control rather than the result to be achieved.
- Subordinate direct their energies toward circumventing control
- Important information on variance or defensive instead of focusing on early problem solving
- The manager spend a great deal of time in checking the work of subordinates
- Subordinate lack motivating and enthusiasm, they are not creative in the way they carry out their job
- Warning of deviation are premature, or the deviation are not significant
- Too much influence is attached to staff authority, which gathers and provides control information for example; the time manager is controlled by the accountant. Which of this condition exist in your organization/local government? How can you
Improve control procedure and invariably security of information to eliminate this problem? Now let’s glance through some of the information system used in the civil service/ local government service and how positively or otherwise they effect health care.
- Information gets to us through government circulars. How explicit and informative are they? How many people get such circulars and how fast do they get to the appropriate quarters?
- We get information from official correspondence. What do you think about them?
- Information gets to us through public mobile vans. What do you think about them? People to them? Immunizations programme/ outbreak of epidemics etc.
- Information is put on poster how many people read them? Who takes pain interpret them? How effective are they?
- Radio and televisions: Give us information. Do you care to listen to them? What population do they reach?
- Files in our offices are sources of information: what is your reaction to the files? Is there enough security on our files?
- Patient cards/records what do they say? How do you organize them? How helpful are they? How many patients have died?
- Patient register how do we keep them? Is it possible to get information of the last fifty years? How many people have so far been treated in the health care sector?
- Information Tank what type? How reliable is the information? Do we have records on the following?
- The Number of children born between January, 1992 and April 1996
- How many of such children have died and how many are alive?
- Can we categorize the children’s number as males and females or as Christian
- What information do we gather with regards to children’s mortality rate?
Barriers to Accurate Information
Of all the resources at the manager’s disposal the 4M&T Human Resource is the most important, the most dangerous. Unfortunately all system/ sources of information are controlled and operated by man. So he can be a barrier to accurate information. Starting from verbal or written information. Man can manipulate information either to suite his purpose or cause confusion. He might not get the information correctly while he assumes that what he relates to others is the correct information. He may not even understand the content or the importance of the information he gathered. His perception of the information may be contrary to the actual. He may decide to deform the information to connote a different meaning. The receiver can also be a problem. Since the receiver too is human he may be affected and by any of those affecting the informat he may even be deformed and pretend to be sound either in hearing or speaking i.e he may be a deaf or dumb. He may be a stammered. He may misunderstand but may not accept the objective and the importance of the information given to him. He may decide to be careless with the information. He may subtract or add to the information. By making information look reasonable and acceptable to others he may change the important words that mean something else. Therefore as managers, we should manage our human resources or system information very well otherwise they are likely to produce negative results through false information.
If the importance of man information connection is recognized as vital, then it affects all other earlier mentioned system of sources of information. The file can be used to carry false information particularly if the man is not interested in the subject matter. So the file can become unreliable since the information carried is of no value. In fact pages of relevant information could be removed from a file in order to kill the effect of information contained.
Official correspondence could carry ambiguous information that could be interpreted to mean many things. The choice of words and arrangement of ideas can produce negative results. One again the interpretation of the contents may be different from what the sender intended. In this case, the information contained in a letter of correspondence may not be reliable. This applies to all system of information enumerated earlier Public Address vans, information posters, radio, and television, the new public, circular, Radio and Television, Patient Record Cards, Registers and even the computer which is believed to be the most accurate in modern technology.
The computer may be turned to an ordinary robot or a gaining machine when the information contained or supplied is un- reliable. After all, the computer is supposed to operate on information supplied by the operator the theory of garbage in and garbage out.
MANAGING INFORMATION SYSTEM
From the foregoing it would appear that information is collected from some sources, which could be regarded as systems. It does not matter what the system or source are, human electronic written, verbal or rountine, the important thing is that they give us some information. These sources of information are what I referee to as control signals, inter alia. To ensure therefore that they give us proper information, following should be observed by the manager.
- They should relate directly to important goals and focus on significant performance areas
- They should operate in the area where your business operations or plans are most vulnerable
- They should operate in the area over which you have authority and where you can take effective action
- A standard must be act against which result can be measured, when such information supplied should facilitate comparison, usable, understandable and easily interpreted.
- They should give timely information warning against variances or deviations early enough for mistake to be corrected. They should not give false or premature warnings.
- They should be efficient, giving warnings of from expected or desired events or behavior.
- They should be few in number, simple in design, facilitating trouble shooting and problem solving.
- They should not produce devious, deceptive or dysfunctional behavior.
- They should lead to corrective action.
- A periodic review of performance is essential to ensure accurate information and where there is deficiency they could be discarded and replaced with more effective ones.
Finally the manager should note that most information received are meant for either prevention/or solution of problems. So he needs in addition the following information systems to keep him on top of this job. WE SOLVE IT.
Working conditions or layouts (7-2pm,2-9pm, who is who)equipment and supplies Hospital, dispensaries, beds, drugs system and procedures the Doctor, the pharmacist, the nurse, community health officer/ health Assistant/ health technicians etc
Other employees hospital attendants laborers etc Load or pace of work various supervisory actions Employee himself information flow training.