STRATEGIES FOR MANAGERS
[S]uccessful managers develop the ability to collect and use diverse, ambiguous, and sometimes contradictory information effectively and efficiently. ( McKinnon & Bruns, 1992, p. 15)
The challenge faced by managers is how to restrict great amounts of upward communication that may result in overload, and at the same time ensure that relevant and accurate information is transmitted up the hierarchy. ( Glauser, 1984, p. 615)
The dilemma is clear: on the one hand, managers receive too much information, while on the other hand, they don't get enough of the right information. ( Katzer & Fletcher, 1992, p. 227)
Managers face a daunting task in today's information environment that has been variously described with phrases ranging from a mosaic ( McKinnon & Bruns, 1992) to a jungle ( Holsapple & Whinston, 1988). They must come to intelligent judgments based on the welter of facts, forecasts, gossip, and intuition which make up their information environment. Perhaps most importantly, however, managers are not only responsible for themselves, but they also must nurture and enhance the information capabilities of their subordinates.
It seems like almost every issue in organizational behavior can be examined on two levels: its impact on individuals, and its impact on the organization as an institution. In this chapter we will describe traditional search strategies used by managers to get information from often recalcitrant bureaucracies; we will then turn to what managers can do to facilitate information seeking by others in their organization. As we have seen when we discussed formal structures, the central problem for management is condensing a wealth of infor