Whose Information is it Anyway? An Argument for Information Stewardship   [open pdf - 278KB]

Information is an important resource for businesses and government, with information quality influencing decision quality, and highlighting our need to manage our information well: as a resource. Information Resource Management (IRM) has as its goal the management of information as a resource, but has not been implemented with the level of success expected. Problems with the implementation of IRM are indicated by the presence of redundant or inconsistent data, inability to share information across systems, and difficulty finding the information on systems. We propose that these difficulties are related to behaviors linked to perceived ownership of corporate information by organizational sub-units. To evaluate the proposition, we performed a case study on an organization to see if we could identify the presence of problems, and the presence of the ownership behaviors. The case study revealed the presence of both problems with information management and behaviors related to ownership. To improve the management of information in organizations, we recommend that organizations take ownership of the information resource at the corporate executive level, and educate users of the information on the benefits of stewardship of the information they use. This will encourage staff at all levels to see information as a resource, not merely a cost of doing business.

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