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Managing information technology: a crisis of confidence

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The current lack of awareness of the systemic risks inherent in computer-based information systems is criticized. Cases are presented that demonstrate the adverse consequences (increased complexity and uncertainty, reduced security) of the introduction of information technology (IT). It is argued that misplaced assumptions create the belief that IT has solely beneficial effects and this tends to lead to information systems justified by narrow cost-benefit considerations, rather than the wider view of feasibility that is required. Companies are urged to base their long-term strategies around staff development, rather than information systems development. Developing the human resource, in terms of enlightened education and personnel policies, is seen as the most effective way of controlling computer-based systems and realizing commercial opportunities, without encountering the inherent risks.

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