Decision-Making and Information Politics Case 3 ITM:
Was it good organizational politics for Overstock.com’s CIO to act as he did?
Why? Do you have any better political advice to extend to him?
This paper is indented to analyze the case of the CIO (Chief Information Officer) of Overstock.com who managed to reveal his company’s technology shortcomings. The analysis is based on the investigation by Paul A. Strassman published within the book The politics of Information Management and the articles relating to the subject of information management and also the case of Shawn Schwegman in particular.
Keywords: information management, Chief Information Officer.
Decision-Making and Information Politics Case 3 ITM
In 2005 Evan Schuman reported that Shawn Schwegman, the CIO (Chief Information Officer) of the Overstock.com decided to inform the main partners of technological shortcomings and failures of the company. It is clear that Schwegman was motivated by his professional obligations, and tried to be honest and fair. However, instead of recognition he received criticism and turned out to abuse his position.
Shawn Schwegman says that the architecture is horribly architected (Schuman, 2005). Strassmann scrutinizes information architecture as a way to describe organizational design. Hence, Schwegman’s disturbance is understandable, as technical information systems architecture provides a framework for the capture, storage and manipulation of data and only governance can define how information should be organized so that it can be converted into organizational knowledge (Strassmann, 1995). But it is obvious that in his hot pursuit of decency and moral duty he failed to know that the very truth is not the ultimate way to do with problems. Honesty is a powerful concept. Use it only as a last resort, Schumann (2005) stresses, and explains that when it goes about communicating externally’ which means spreading information outside the staff, it is better to curb emotions and find a compromise. Together with the role of consolidation and integration of constitutional governance, determining the integration of systems in terms of layers of governance and adapting a due process for reconciling differences, Strassmann also gives a view on the transparency of information systems and states that information workers should be working on what they find relatively easy to do for the good of the organization, which includes taking advantage of their workplace knowledge (Strassmann, 1995).