Information culture models and typologies

All organizations have models of information governance, which are referred to as political systems (Davenport, 1997). These models form local or centralized control of information management. In order to be able to establish the governing information management model in an organization, Davenport’s research outlined the following models:

  • • Information federalism: based on consensus and negotiation on organization’s key information elements and reporting structures.
  • • Information feudalism: individual business units manage own information, define own needs and report only limited information to the overall organization.
  • • Information monarchy: information categories and reporting structures defined by firm’s leaders may or may not share information after collecting it.
  • • Information anarchy: absence of any overall information management policy, individuals obtain and manage own information.

Choo (2013) developed a typology of information culture, which includes the following:

  • • A result: oriented culture, where the goal of information management is to enable the organization to compete and succeed in its market or section.
  • • A rule: following culture where information is managed to enable the organization to control internal operations and to reinforce rules and policies.
  • • A relationship-based culture, where information management aims to encourage communication, participation and a sense of identity.
  • • In a risk-taking culture, where information is managed to encourage innovation, creativity, and exploration of new ideas.

The result-oriented culture pursues goal achievement and competitive advantage, the rule-following culture pursues control, compliance, and accountability, the relationship-based culture pursues communication, commitment, and participation, and the risk taking culture pursues innovation, exploration of new ideas and creativity. He postulated that organizations can display, to varying degrees, norms and behaviors from all the four information culture types. He concluded that identifying an organization’s culture would facilitate cultural change and hence a systematic implementation of change.

Using a ministry with an informal training records management program, Wright (2013) interviewed 207 employees and explored Curry’s and Moore’s information culture assessment tool. She examined information culture in a regulated government environment. Her aim was to establish the relationship between records management training provided to staff, staff self-perceptions of records, management competencies and compliance with a formal records management program. She concluded that there is a correlation between formal training delivered to staff and the self-perceived level of records management competency. This means that the more training that the staff get, the more they perceive the need for further training in order to achieve the level of compliance required by the records management program. She was also of the view that understanding information culture features is crucial to the identification of gaps in dealing with the challenges of organizational records management training and the effect it has on compliance with organizational information and records management programs.

The table below is based on a literature review that the author conducted and presents components of information culture, information models, and a framework for the assessment of information culture, effective culture requirements, and the different types of culture as identified by the presented authors. The author does not claim that the table is exhaustive:

Components of information culture (Choo et al., 2008)

Information models and framework by Curry & Moore, 2003; Davenport, 1997; Oliver, 2011

Types of culture (Douglas, 2010, p. 48)

Communication flows—the importance of effective organizational communication cannot be overstated.

Cross-organizational

partnerships—this relates to organizational synergy and how different. functions and departments work together.

Internal environment

(cooperativeness, openness, and trust)—arguably the greatest influence on organizational culture is people. An Information culture requires cooperative working practices and open access to relevant information where applicable.

Information systems management—the IS strategy needs to be closely linked to the business strategy with IT as the enabler of computerized IS.

Information management.

The enthusiasm, support.

Cooperation of key personnel are indispensable elements of a successful information culture.

Processes and procedures— the concise and clear documentation of key policies, processes, and procedures within an organization are an indicator of culture.

Davenport’s Model:

Information federalism is based on consensus and negotiation on organization’s key information elements and reporting structures.

Information feudalism is how individual business units manage own information, define own needs, and report only limited information to the overall organization.

Information monarchy is where information categories and reporting structures defined by firm’s leaders may or may not share information after collecting it.

Information anarchy is the absence of any overall information management policy; individuals obtain and manage own information.

Curry and Moore’s Model:

Effective communication flows.

Cross-organizational

partnerships.

Cooperative working

practices and open access to relevant information.

Management of information systems.

Clear guidelines and documentation for information and data management.

Functional culture is when managers use information as a means of exercising influence or power over others.

Sharing culture is when managers and employees trust each other to use information (especially about problems and failures) to improve their performance.

Inquiry culture is when managers and employees search for information to better understand the future and ways of changing what they do to align themselves with future trends/direction.

Discovery culture is when managers and employees are open to new insights about crisis and radical changes and seek ways to create competitive discontinuities.

Components of information culture (Choo et al., 2008)

Information models and framework by Curry & Moore, 2003; Davenport, 1997; Oliver, 2011

Types of culture (Douglas, 2010, p. 48)

Trust and willingness to share information.

Oliver’s Information Culture Framework (ICF)

Level one:

Is the fundamental layer of an organization’s information culture and it includes:

  • — respect for information as evidence;
  • — respect for information as knowledge;
  • — willingness to share information;
  • — trust in information;
  • — language requirements; and
  • — regional technological infrastructure.

Level two:

Skills, knowledge, and experience related to information management, which can be acquired and/or extended in the workplace:

  • — Information-related competencies, including information and computer literacy.
  • — Awareness of environmental (societal and organizational) requirements relating to information.

Level three:

The third and uppermost layer is reflected in:

  • — The information governance model that is in place.
  • — Trust in organizational systems.
 
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