Designing a methodology for an office communication and information system for executives in the Malaysian public sector : the case of the Prime Minister's Office.
Modern managers are under tremendous pressure in attempting to fulfil a profoundly complex managerial task, that of handling information resources. Information management, an intricate process requiring a high measure of human cognition and discernment, involves matching a manager's lack of information processing capacity against his information needs, with voluminous information at his disposal. The nature of the task will undoubtedly become more complex in the case of a large organisation. Management of large-scale organisations is therefore an exceedingly challenging prospect for any manager to be faced with. A system that supports executive information needs will help reduce managerial and informational mismatches. In the context of the Malaysian public sector, the task of overall management lies with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister's Office is presently supporting the Prime Minister's information and managerial needs, although not without various shortcomings. The rigid formalised structure predominant of the Malaysian public sector, so opposed to dynamic treatment of problematic issues as faced by that sector, further escalates the managerial and organisational problem of coping with a state of complexity. The principal features of the research are twofold: the development of a methodology for diagnosing the `problem organisation' and the design of an office system. The methodological development is done in the context of the Malaysian public sector, and aims at understanding the complexity of its communication and control situation. The outcome is a viable model of the public sector. `Design', on the other hand, is developing a syntax or language for office systems which provides an alternative to current views on office systems. The design is done with reference to, rather than for, the Prime Minister's Office. The desirable outcome will be an office model called Office Communication and Information System (OCIS). The application of the cybernetic methodology and framework is intended as an aid to understand real world problems in the area of management of large-scale organisations. Improving managerial and organisational performance in cybernetic terms is a result of proficient design of organisational communication and control.