Pleased to see this old article online as I continue to find confirmation of our basic finding: Information systems in local governments were most useful for ad hoc queries, such a providing a list of personel ranked by salary, in contrast to more rational-comprehensive management information reports. Simpy having information in digital form enabled managers to invite searches and find information they needed in more unplanned ways — and this was pre-Internet as we know it days.
Management utilization of computers in American local governments
William H. Dutton and Kenneth L. Kraemer, Computers as an innovation in
American local governments, Communications of the ACM, v.20 n.12,
p.945-956, Dec. 1978.
Traditional concepts of management information systems (MIS) bear little relation to the information systems currently in use by top management in most US local governments. What exists is management-oriented computing, involving the use of relatively unsophisticated applications. Despite the unsophisticated nature of these systems, management use of computing is surprisingly common, but also varied in its extent among local governments. Management computing is most prevalent in those governments with professional management practices where top management is supportive of computing and tends to control computing decisions and where department users have less control over design and implementation activities. Finally, management computing clearly has impacts for top managers, mostly involving improvements in decision information.