A DELPHI STUDY ON MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS) MODEL FOR DECISION-MAKING IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA UNIVERSITIES
The purpose of the study was to model Management Information Systems (MIS) for decision-making by administrators of Universities in South-East, Nigeria. Seven research questions and seven hypotheses guided the study. The design of the study was survey research. The specific design was panel study and the Delphi technique was used to elicit responses from the administrators and the MIS experts in a two- round survey. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Eighty-one items reflecting the components of the MIS Model such as MIS objectives, data collection procedures, data processing and analysis methods, data publication method, data dissemination methods, decision making areas and feedback mechanisms were generated and included in the questionnaire. Three experts from University of Nigeria, Nsukka validated the instrument. The final draft of the instrument had a 4- point scale of Very Appropriate, Appropriate, Inappropriate, and Very Inappropriate. The instrument was pre-tested on 17 respondents from a public university in Kogi State, Nigeria. Internal consistency reliability estimate of the instrument was 0.98 using Cronbach Alpha technique. The experts’ panel was made up of 30 experts consisting of 10 directors of Management Information Systems/Information Communication Technology, 10 academic staff and 10 administrative staff purposively selected from the 10 public universities in South-East Nigeria. During the round one survey, the 81-item questionnaire was administrated to the respondent. Sixty –nine items reached the panelists consensus while 12 items could not reach the consensus based on a mean cut-off point of 3.00 and standard deviation of less than
1.00. In the round two survey, the 69 items were re-administered to the respondents while the 12 items were discarded. Sixty-eight items that reached the panelist consensus in the round two survey were retained for data analysis while the one item on which consensus was not reached was discarded. The mean score was used to answer all the research questions. t-test was used to test the hypotheses. The following were the major results of the study. Twelve MIS objectives were accepted as appropriate for the MIS Model, seven data collection procedures, 10 data processing and analysis methods, seven data publication methods, nine data dissemination methods, 14 decision –making areas and nine feedback mechanisms were identified and included in the MIS Model for decision- making. There were no significant differences between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts regarding the MIS objectives, data collection procedures, data processing and analysis methods, data dissemination methods, decision- making areas and feedback mechanisms aspects of the model. There were significant differences between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts regarding data publication methods of the MIS Model. Based on the findings of the study, one major educational implication was that the MIS has a high potential for making relevant information available. It was recommended that universities in South-East, Nigeria should adopt the MIS model to
provide relevant information for effective and efficient management of the institutions.
Background of the Study
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) consists of electronic systems used for information collection, processing, storage and retrieval. ICT consists of hardware, software, networks and media for collection, transmission and presentation of information (Pulkinen, 2004). Information occurs in different forms such as voice, data, text and images. ICT is used to communicate, create, manage and distribute information. It includes the newer digital technologies of computers, internet, e-mail, World Wide Web (www), wireless and the older technologies of print, radio and televisions (Pulkinen, 2004). ICT brings about new opportunities as well as new risks for the goal of sustainable development. Over the last years, the use of ICT in all sectors of education has increased dramatically and continues to do so (Farrel and Wachholz, 2003). Digital technologies have fuelled exponential growth in the society’s ability to generate, exchange and consume information. ICT comprises those technologies that are used for accessing, gathering, processing, and presenting information for decision-making.
Modern university education and administration now depend on robust programmes of Management Information Systems (MIS) to support and facilitate teaching, learning, research and management. MIS involves the collection, processing, analyzing and dissemination of educational data and information and making them available to educational administrators on a timely, routine, reliable and predictable basis for decision-making.MIS, according to Lucey (1989), is a system using formalized procedures to provide the management at all levels in all functions with appropriate information, based on data from both internal and external sources to enable them to make timely and effective decisions for planning, directing and controlling the activities for which they are responsible. Similarly,
Boorne (2002) defined MIS as a structured, interacting complex of persons, machines and procedures designed to generate an orderly flow of information for use as the basis for decision-making in an organization. MIS, therefore, is a system that collects, processes, analyses, stores and disseminates information for educational planning and decision-making in the universities.
The growth of information systems services in Nigerian universities began about 1990 with the World Bank intervention to improve the institutional capacities of Nigerian universities (National Universities Commission (NUC), 1991). The specific focus of the intervention was on Management Information Systems (MIS), specially designed to meet the information needs of the managerial staff as they make a variety of decisions for the effective administration of the universities. In Nigerian universities, MIS is designed to achieve the following objectives ׃ to standardize the system of obtaining reports and statistical information , ensure that such information are accurate and timely , and organize such information for planning and decision-making in order to improve utilization of resources (Fadekemi &Ajayi (2007).The National Universities Management Information Systems (NUMIS) developed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) focused only on three major areas namely, student records, staff records and financial records (NUC, 1991). NUMIS was originally implemented using Dbase as a single package running on one system. The NUMIS main structure consists of five (5) phases; Data entry, Data update, Query, Reports and File maintenance. These phases are linked up with modules like staff and students’ entities, finance, reference tables, students and staff lists, student and staff information. Despite the implementation of NUMIS in the universities, it has not been adequately utilized in decision-making process in Nigerian universities (Ajayi, & Omirin, 2007). NUMIS has not been adequately utilized in decision- making in universities in South- East, Nigeria. According to Oranu (2008), no MIS unit in the universities that use NUMIS
has been able to complete the creation of staff and students’ records and produce reports as required due to inadequacies of the NUMIS data management component. The major problem is on the data component of the NUMIS. This shows that the universities do not effectively use the MIS for decision-making. Evidence points to the fact that Management Information Systems (MIS) in some universities in Nigeria are not efficient (Momoh & Abdulsalam, 2014).
However, despite the laudable initiative of the NUC, experience has shown that information on students, staff and university programmes are not readily available in most public universities in South-East, Nigeria. It has been observed that most public universities in South-East Nigeria hardly utilize the NUMIS for the provision of accurate, timely and reliable information for decision-making. This is partly due to the inadequacies of the data management component of the NUMIS in the provision of information for decision-making. The NUMIS lacked data management component which should prescribe what data to collect, how these data should be processed, organized, stored and communicated for decision-making.
Most Nigerian universities, especially those in the South-East, have been observed to be confronted with numerous administrative challenges which could be attributed to the absence of appropriate data management component of the MIS to guide the administrators in decision-making in these universities. These administrative problems include clashes in lectures/examination timetables, clashes in lectures/examination Halls, late release of students results and difficulties in obtaining information relating to students, staff or universities’ activities or programmes. These universities may find it difficult to collate and send reports to NUC, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), NYSC and other stakeholders as most information may be contained in files which are always difficult to locate. Decisions in these universities may not usually be based on accurate and reliable data
since these data are not readily available in these universities. The NUMIS from lacked appropriate data management component and could not provide the required and timely information to guide the administrators in decision-making in most universities in South-East, Nigeria.
A well packaged MIS in South –East Nigerian universities will assist the university administrators in solving some of the administrative problems arising due to absence of accurate, reliable and timely information for decision-making. MIS could be utilized to improve decisions and thus enhance effective administration in the universities in such areas as, planning lecture and examination timetables electronically to avoid clashes, providing the needed information relating to students, staff and the university activities, managing university equipment and resources, recruitment and promotion of staff, appointment of Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors, Deans and other principals officers of the university, taking decisions on students enrolments, hostels/offices/staff quarters allocations. Financial and accounting decisions could also be effectively taken through the utilization of MIS and thus ensuring accountability in the universities. Therefore MIS enhances university management.
Management is the process which seeks to achieve specific goals by using human efforts and available material resources in an organization. The process of decision-making is at the centre of management activities in the universities. All managerial activities revolve around decision-making and thus, the manager is primarily a decision-maker ((Turban, Aronson & Liang, 2004).University management is directly responsible for making decisions, and information plays an important role in its decision-making process. Management requires information not only for decision-making process but also for the implementation and evaluation of decisions already taken. University management is subdivided, on the basis of decision-making process, into three management levels,
Supervisory, Tactical and Strategic levels (Al-Dhmour, 2010). Based on the different management levels, the nature of decisions taken at each management level differs, and, accordingly, the type of information which is needed by the different levels varies (Robert & Bostrom, 2000). Management decisions are positively influenced by accurate, timely and quality information. There is, therefore, the need for university management to have the required information which could be provided through the use of Management Information Systems in their various universities.
University administrators need continuous flow of information in order to make appropriate decisions. Effective decision-making in the universities depends to a large extent, on accurate, timely and relevant information available to the administrators. Decision-making is the backbone of administrative functions (Fabunmi, 2003). This is because decisions direct management actions. Good and effective decisions can only be made when the right information is made available at the right time to the right officer. According to Turban, Aronson & Liang (2004), decision-making is a process of choosing among alternative courses of action for the purpose of attaining a goal or goals. Decision-making consists of a number of steps or stages, such as recognition of a problem, formation and generation of alternatives, information search, selection of best alternatives and action (Aronson & Liang, 2004). In this study, decision-making is the process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives by the university administration based on the available information.
Information for decision-making in the universities cannot be provided from people’s often deficient memories. According to Aminu (1996), information resources are one of the major issues for and indices of planning and administration of universities. Information is the additional knowledge the users desire about the functions under their responsibilities to enhance planning, programming, monitoring, evaluation and decision- making in the universities. Information for decision-making is dynamic and needs to be
constantly updated (Heise, 2006). Information is the chain of understanding that binds all organizations including universities from top to bottom and from side to side. To stay well- informed, and build-up their knowledge base, a university needs to feed on a balanced diet of high quality information supplied through a varied menu of information products and services (Choo, 1995). In this study, information is data that has been put into the forms that are useful to the university administrators for decision-making. Information is usually available or disseminated through various information systems.
Information Systems (IS) are collection of computer programmes, hardware, people, procedures, inputs and outputs used to support an organization’s decision-making. An information system accepts data resources as inputs and processes them into information products as outputs (Lasila & Borton, 2004). Within an organization, the scope of information systems (IS) include the Human Component (IS personnel), System Component (software, hardware, storage, and networking) (Pankaj, 2004). In this study, information systems are hardware, software and people that perform input of data, processing output, storage and control the activities that transform data inputs into information for decision- making process. Based on usage, Information Systems (IS) can be broadly divided into two categories (Choo, 1995). These include Management Information Systems (MIS) and Operation Information Systems (OPS). MIS is a planned system for collecting, processing, storing and disseminating data in form of information needed to carry out management decision-making. MIS subsystems include, Information Reporting Systems (IRS), Decision Support Systems (DSS) and Executive Information Systems (EIS). Decision-Support Systems (DSS) are diverse group of interactive computer software designed to assist managerial decision-making. DSS present information in a manner that is contusive to making informed and efficient decisions. DSS has three components which include a database, a model base and a user interface. The model base contains the data management component of the
systems, which determines what data to collect, how the data should be processed, organized, stored and distributed for decision-making. Developing an appropriate data management component of the MIS was the focus of the present study. Operation Information Systems (OIS) are systems serving the operational management and specialized in tracking the flow of the daily routine information necessary in an organization. OIS subsystems include, Office Automation Systems (OAS), Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) and Process Control Systems (PCS).Information Systems are usually developed through models.
This inefficiency of the MIS in the universities is mainly due to inadequacies of the NUMIS data management component. As pointed out by Popoola & Oluwole (2007), Nigeria university administrators are often concerned about the alarming rate of misplacement or loss of vital data and the slow speed at which needed data are retrieved from storage. Similarly, Atulomah (2011) observed that universities in Nigeria generate large quantity and quality data in their day-to day activities; but a lot of files are duplicated in numbers within and across units without control over their creations, causing data redundancy and wasteful spending due largely to the inefficiency of the Management Information Systems in these universities. Therefore, the collection, processing, organization and reporting of data are a major issue of the NUMIS. These facts amongst others show the inability of most universities in Nigeria to put up sound Management Information Systems infrastructure to guide the generation, processing, storage and retrieval of information for decision-making process. There seems to be no specific and appropriate MIS Model with proper data management component to provide the relevant information to guide and assist university administrators in South-East, Nigeria in decision-makings.
Modeling is a process of building framework which is a collection of entities and their relationships. According to Suzuki (2005), Modeling provides experiments, rules and useful information for designing, developing and implementing information systems such as MIS.
Modeling is a powerful technique to develop a system effectively and efficiently, and it offers many benefits to the participants of system development such as stakeholders, systems developers and users. A Model is a schematic description of various steps/processes to achieve an objective. Encarta cited in Ugwueze (2010) defined a Model as a simplified version of something complex used in analyzing and solving problems. This implies that a Model has pattern or structure, adopts certain activities or processes and brings about desirable outcome or product.
In this study, a Model is defined as a design, a guide, plan or actions that have fundamental components which provide information for decision-making in the universities. It is composed of factors, which interact to produce outcomes or products that will guide decision-making in the universities. Different MIS models have been developed subject to the needs of the developers. Models of Information Systems such as MIS are Data Models which stipulates the MIS objectives, how data should be collected, processed, published, stored and used for decision-making. Data for model-building, as noted by Mahmood & Shafique (2010), are collected through survey process using a group of selected experts who are knowledgeable on the subject, and experts’ responses are usually rated. Data analysis in Model building involves the aggregation of the responses of the experts on the administered questionnaire. Therefore, process of model building could be appropriately handled using the Delphi technique.
The Delphi Technique is essentially the use of experts’ opinion to obtain highly reliable responses towards a problem or issue. According to Jones (2009), Delphi Technique is usually used to combine and counterbalance opinions from a group of experts based on the information that is offered collectively in the judging process. Somerville (2007) had observed that a Delphi Technique is an iterative process, normally few rounds, involving a series of questionnaire, each building on the results of the previous one. The results of each
round rating are compiled and returned to the experts. Over successive interactions, experts are able to re-evaluate their responses in the light of the feedback to reach a consensus. Responses in a Delphi Technique are made anonymously as experts are known to the researcher but not necessarily to the other experts. The Delphi technique is a widely used and accepted technique for achieving convergence of opinion concerning real-knowledge solicited from experts within topic areas (Hsu & Sanford, 2007). It allows educators, amongst others, to communicate and effectively develop trends, needs, or other factors relative to a particular area of education (Stitt-Gohdes & Crews, 2004). The Delphi technique is a form of a panel study which uses experts. The experts as used in this study comprised Heads of Department, Deputy Registrars and Directors of Management Information Systems/Information Communication Technologies in universities South-East, Nigeria.
It has been observed by Alabi (2000) that there is inadequacy of MIS equipment (facilities) in Nigerian universities, with slightly higher adequacy in federal universities. It was also observed that the use of MIS equipment did not conform to the prescribed roles of lecturers and senior administrative staff in the universities. Fabunmi & Isah (2004) identified personnel quantity and quality, lack of basic infrastructure as requirements for attaining efficiency in Management Information Systems (MIS) activities in universities. In addition, Fadekemi & Ajayi (2007) observed that MIS is not adequately used for decision-making on long-term, short-term and financial issues in the universities and that more emphasis should be placed on the utilization of MIS by the universities. In the same vain, Ahmed (2009) also identified poor infrastructure, undefined policy gap and poor awareness as militating against efficient Management Information Systems (MIS) activities in the universities. Universities in South-East Nigeria are also affected by these problems. Although inadequate facilities constitute a problem, one major issue remains that of data management.
Although the universities participated in the development of the NUMIS through project meetings, seminars, conferences and training workshops, most universities could not utilize the NUMIS due to its complexity, non-peculiarity to individual universities, lack of appropriate data management component of NUMIS and poor management support. According to Momoh & Abdulsalam (2014), Management Information Systems are not efficiently managed in Nigerian universities because the universities are found deficient in terms of timely information, poor utilization of MIS activities, high cost of generating information and unqualified staff to man MIS Units in the universities. Lack of a clearly defined, efficient MIS model with defined data management component is a problem. A coherent institutional framework or model should be established to cater for the different types of information services, with clearly defined functions and linkage for the university administration (Sani & Tiamiyu, 2005). Universities should develop MIS to cater for the peculiar problems of the universities. There is the need for the development of an appropriate data management component of MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of universities in South-East, Nigeria.
Statement of the problem
Effective MIS in the universities fosters the easy collection and dissemination of information and, thus enhances management of the universities. Despite the introduction of National Universities Management Information systems (NUMIS) in Nigerian universities, experience has shown that most universities in South–East Nigeria are still facing administrative problems relating to absence of information on students, staff and financial matters in the universities.
Presently, data are regularly provided by the Heads of department, the Deans and other Units Heads on continuous basis for decision-making and for submission of reports to statutory agencies. Most of the time, a lot of files are created and duplicated within and
across departments and Units without control over their creations, causing data redundancy and wasteful spending due largely to the inadequacies of data management component of NUMIS . Most of these universities may possess the MIS facilities and staff, yet the MIS activities on data generation and usage are poor in the universities due to the inefficiency of the data management component of the NUMIS. The inefficiency of NUMIS activities to provide data for decision-making in these universities has created numerous administrative problems for these universities.
Universities in South-East Nigeria are faced with numerous administrative challenges. These include clashes of Lectures/Examination timetables, clashes of lectures/examination Halls, late release of students’ results to meet up NYSC datelines, difficulties in obtaining information relating to students, staff or universities activities or programmes, These universities also find it difficult to collate and send reports to the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board(JAMB),the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) and other stakeholder as most information are contained in files which are always difficult to locate. Decisions in these universities are not usually based on accurate and reliable data since these data are not readily available.
These administrative lapses may be attributed in part to the inefficiency of the existing NUMIS infrastructure and the absence of an appropriate and effective data management component of NUMIS. However, no remarkable attempt has been made to develop an appropriate MIS Model for data management for decision-making for the universities other than the NUC initiative through NUMIS. The problem of the study was what is the appropriate data management model of the Management Information Systems for decision – making for administrators of universities in South – East Nigeria?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to develop an appropriate data management model of the MIS for decision-making by administrators of universities in South-East Nigeria. Specifically, the study intended to determine;
1. Objectives for MIS.
2. Data collection procedures for MIS.
3. Data processing and analysis methods for MIS.
4. Data publication methods for MIS.
5. Data dissemination methods for MIS.
6. Decision – making areas for MIS.
7. Feedback mechanisms for MIS.
Significance of the Study
This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study was anchored on the systems theory propounded by Von Bertalantty. The Systems Theory reorganizes the university as a man-made system, which has a dynamic interplay with its environment. Systems take its inputs from the environment, process it and return outputs such as information to the same environment. This concept of interrelated subsystems or departments in an organization suggest that university consists of interrelated components or departments working together to achieve the goals of the university. The development of the data management model for MIS for decision-making will enhance the university administration as the principal officers will use the MIS infrastructure to make sound and accurate decisions towards the management of the universities. Thus, the MIS model consists of the interdependence of the components of the MIS objectives, data collection, data processing and analysis, data dissemination, data publication, decision-making areas and
feedback mechanisms. The findings of the study will either support the Systems theory or vitiate the theory.
The findings of the study would be of immense practical benefits to the university administration, the staff, the students and other stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and donor agencies.
The university administration would derive tremendous benefits from the results of the study. The principal officers of the university could use the MIS to provide reliable, accurate and timely information to make sound and accurate decisions towards the effective management of the universities. Information relating to planning, admissions, recruitment and financial matters could be easily and timely accessed and retrieved from the MIS Database to enhance decision- making.
The study would also be beneficial to the university staff as information relating to every staff in the university could be easily obtained. This would reduce the usual difficulties associated in obtaining such information, and thus, enhance staff productivity in the universities.
Students are also expected to derive benefits from the results of the Study. Students’ results could easily be computed and posted using the MIS than the current use of manual computation of students results. The problems of tampering with students’ results and examination papers could be highly minimized as only authorized users could have access to them. Research students could also access the MIS for information relating to university activities and academic programmes in carrying out their Projects/Theses.
The findings of the study would be beneficial to government agencies as reports to these agencies will be readily accessed. Statistical information and reports such as students’ records, staff strength, project completion level, academic programmes inventory, research
resource records and students’ distribution records in the universities could be handy and available at short notice to the requiring agencies.
Education indicators such as Student enrolment, number of university staff, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), Gender Parity Ratio (GPI) and enrolment for postgraduate degrees, first degrees, diplomas and certificates in the university could easily be produced and sent to requiring donor agencies.
The findings of the study would also provide empirical evidence on the availability of MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of universities in South-East Nigeria, on the basis of which improvement could be made. The study would make available MIS Model which could guide researchers who are interested in developing models for decision-making.
The study would provide appropriate and effective MIS Model for decision-making that could facilitate the adoption, diffusion and sustained use of MIS for decision-making in the universities.
Scope of the Study
The Study was carried out in the ten federal and state universities in South-East Nigeria. The MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of universities in South-East Nigeria covered seven data management components namely: objectives of an effective MIS, Data collection procedures, Data processing and analysis methods, Data publication methods, Data dissemination methods, Decision-making areas and feedback mechanisms.
The following Research Questions guided the study:
1. What are the objectives of MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South- East Nigerian universities?
2. What Data collection procedures are appropriate for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities?
3. What Data processing and analysis methods are appropriate for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities?
4. What Data publication methods are suitable for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities?
5. What Data dissemination methods are suitable for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities?
6. In what decision-making areas should MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities be implemented?
7. What feedback mechanisms are appropriate for MIS Model for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested at
0.05 level of significance.
1. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts regarding the objectives of the MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities.
2. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the data collection procedures for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities.
3. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the data processing and analysis methods for MIS Model for decision- making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities.
4. There is significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the appropriate data publication methods for MIS Model for decision– making for administrators of South – East Nigerian universities.
5. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the appropriate data dissemination methods for MIS Model for decision–making for administrators of South – East Nigerian universities.
6. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the decision-making areas for MIS Model for administrators of South- East Nigerian universities.
7. There is no significant difference between the mean responses of administrators and MIS experts on the effective feedback mechanisms for MIS Model for decision-making for administrators of South-East Nigerian universities..