Int. Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, Volume 5, Issue 3, 2010
Book Review: Information Systems Management In Practice
Naomi Hay-Gibson
Department of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University
Pandon Building, Camden Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1XE, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)191 232 6002
Book Information
Book Title: Information Systems Management In Practice
Author: McNurlin, C.B; Sprague, R.H.; Bui, T. (Eds)
Publisher: Pearson International Edition
Edition: 8
Year: 1998 (rev. 2009)
Pages: 597 pages
ISBN: 978-0-13-157951-4
Price: £52.99
Keywords: information systems, IS management, knowledge management
Int. Journal of Business Science and Applied Management /
This comprehensive overview to information systems management is an enhanced version of an
original title regularly updated since its original format more than ten years ago. Its expanded format
successfully guides the student reader through a basic introduction to aspects of information technology
both within systems and as systems in their own right. Using case-driven analyses in order to explore
examples, the authors have striven to make sure that this edition is as comprehensive as possible. A
chapter on the digital economy, for example, now reflects the changing face of distributed systems and
distributed computing. This offers a more fair balance to the use of standard material, such as managing
system development.
More vital to such a standard form textbook aimed at students, however, is the inclusion of
material that encourages the consideration of further topics within the same sphere, such as issues
within the information management discipline. In encouraging outreach between disciplines which both
encounter information systems management, a cohesive basis for a learning strategy has been
emphasised which can produce positive collaborations between formerly distant subject areas.
In recent years, management of information security especially issues regarding personal data
theft have become an increasingly important topic. This has occurred not only within the discipline of
IS, but within related disciplines, such as records management. It would be encouraging to find that the
practical outcomes of the role of IS design in terms of the fundamentals of information security by
architecture were being represented in the taught concepts of IS. Sadly, this is not explored within the
text, but could prove promising for a further edition. Whilst many varieties of networks both
historical and modern - are discussed in terms of their utility and architecture, little is said about the
potential problems with the drafting and construction of such systems. This is possibly an area of
expansion for a future edition, and would be appreciated by both information management
professionals and others from the specialised areas of librarianship and archives, finance, and medical
As media concerns grow with the practical concerns of data and information management both in
the UK and USA, such a text is both timely and relevant for not only IS professionals, but also for
another audience. Whilst the title of ‘information professional’ is becoming wider and more
encompassing the academic discipline of the IS professional and their role in business may not be
fully recognised or appreciated. This text, then, should be recommended as a basic text for those
unfamiliar with the work of the IS technician, the systems analyst or IT worker within business. As a
reflection of the wider awareness of the importance of information and knowledge management in
business, two chapters in particular stand out as key reading for the target student audience. Supporting
IT-enabled collaboration, and knowledge management are wide topics with a firm basis in professional
progression of IS. There are overlaps of subjects with many other disciplines, and within both science
and business cases, these show the wideness and diversity of the relevance of these topics.
The construction of the chapters is a positive learning mechanism for students at any level. Case
studies show the direct life-relevance to the discussed IS mechanisms, and allow for a longer discussion
of relevant issues. Exercises and review discussion questions at the end of each chapter look to
enhance reader awareness of the text, whilst encouraging individual development by readers seeking
out their own examples through business and other potential, real-life cases.
Although the overall presentation of the text is clear, text within illustrations and diagrams is quite
compact, which can limit the impact of including such detailed pictures and charts. Graphically,
backgrounds for text within case studies are subtly shaded grey to highlight and separate pieces within
chapters unobtrusively. The choice of halftones and a monochrome text layout makes for an
uncluttered reading, and assists with reproducibility and overall legibility. However, though some may
find the repetition of chapter contents on each first page of benefit, it can also distract the reader from
approaching the whole book smoothly as a holistic text. This is the book’s major approach: units as
chapters are a common concept, and whilst this book does not move away from that in any great
measure, it provides more case-study based content integrated within each unit than commonly found.
Overall, this is a thorough and standard text for basic awareness of IS management and issues
surrounding current IS practice. Its main highlights are the currency of the topics chosen, its proactive
approach to drawing the attention of the reader out towards real-life IS practices, and its firm basis of
observations rooted in practice. It is hoped that this volume could also be recommended
transdisciplinarily, to other disciplines sharing an interest in the present and future practices of how IS
develops, as well as set as core reading for those dealing with aspects of IS and BIS practice.