The CIO Who Admitted Too Much
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According to Lewis & Lawrence (1990), the Chief information Officer (CIO) gives a strategic direction to a company in the pursuit of proper information management and information technology. He heads the information department of a company and informs the CEO what is going on in the department. A chief information officer should also be creative and be able to anticipate any occurrence of problems that may affect information system. He is also responsible of coming up with proper ways and ideas to cub such occurrences. The Chief Information Officer should be capable of standing out as an ambassador to a company.
According to the duties of Chief Information Officer laid out by Lewis & Lawrence (1990), a today's Chief Information Officer should give a proper image to the outside world. Today's Chief Information Officer should be able to keep information that is likely to taint company's image or cause conflict to himself. Schwegman represents a Chief Information Officer who has a challenge in communication, which is vital quality for every successful information officer. According to Schuman (2005), Schwegman released too much information regarding the company's problems with data base and computer systems. This information could result to a conflict in the company.
Schuman (2005) argues that Chief Information Officers should be pessimistic and should be quick to point out any likelihood of problem occurrence and should therefore be very careful with information he releases to the outside. The information Schwegman gave out when describing problems with interactions of the Oracle database and Vcommerce database puts overstock.com at risk of injuring the relationship of the company with its partners. Therefore, it is evident that today's Chief Information Officer can not certainly afford such a candor.
According to Sussman, Adams, Kuzmits & Raho (2002), organization politics is described as processes whereby serving and manipulative actions of individuals and teams promote rival interests at expense of others. Some of traits that evidently show a bad organizational politics is the presence of conflicts. Conflicts in a company can arise because of methodological differences, value conflicts, substandard performance and improper communication among others. These may be because of an individual, group or organization failure to observe them keenly. Negative organizational politics may be very destructive for an organization.
This has been identified as one of the major sources of stress. Schuman (2005) argues that Schwegman has opened a number of channels to potential conflicts. He also reports that when a Chief Information Officer exhibits pessimism, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who are a Companiy's ultimate sales persons should demonstrate optimism, always looking for looking for ways and partners to improve a business. When the communication from Schwegman goes external there will be a likelihood of ruining the company's image. This could easily result to a conflict arising between him and other marketing officers.
It is also evident that Schwegman did not use the right method of informing his boss about the database and computer problems that had arisen in his department and the measures he undertook to eliminate the problem. This too is can be a cause of conflict between him and the Chief Executive Officer. Therefore, it was not good organizational politics for the overstock.com Chief Information Officer to act the way he did. It is because the act represents a different methodology of handling issues followed by improper communication skills of the companies Chief Information Officer that has a very high risk of resulting to conflicts.
In extending political advice to the Chief Information Officer for Overstock.com, he should act in accordance to the following points. First, Schwegman should investigate the causes of the problems affecting their company before taking any action .He should also inform the Chief Executive Officer of the issues going on in the company and his plans and the measures he wants to take to respond to the problems. While doing so, he should use proper method of relaying the serious information affecting the company to his senior not through an email as he had done. This will reduce possible chances of conflict building up between him and the CEO.
The Chief Information Officer of Overstock was totally wrong for him to provide all the information about the company's problems with its data base and computer systems. Schwegman should have acted professionally by withholding information that is not safe to be leaked out. Finney (1999) argues that controlling information can be power and therefore the Chief Information Officer, Schwegman, lost it when he failed to control it. Information management is necessary to all and especially to high profile company officials like Schwegman, who happens to be the senior vice president.
Lewis & Lawrence (1990) agree that customers are the most significant people in any organization and every business depend on them. For this reason, Schwegman should have come up with a proper way to inform them since the customers have also been greatly affected by the problem. He should also let the investors be aware of things going on in the company. In general, Schwegman should first investigate any problem that would arise in the information department, and then inform the CEO first on steps he feels are necessary to be undertaken before tackling the problem in the future. He should also be careful with information he is letting out of the company and should device a proper method of informing the investors and their customers about the problems affecting them.