Instructions: There are two parts of this assignment
(1) Literature review (Review literature of the information needs and information behaviour of ONE user community)
(2) Information service design proposal (Propose a design or redesign solution to information services for your chosen user community based on the review of your selected topic in Part (1).
Each assignment will review 10 to 20 references (preferably peer-reviewed journal papers, books, or book chapters) regarding the characteristics of the selected user community, their information needs, information seeking behaviour, the information services and information systems that they use, and the research methods that are used in user studies.The literature review is expected to be approximately 1,000 words long, double spaced. The information service design proposal is expected to be approximately 1,000 words long, double spaced.
Information Needs and Information Behaviour of Small Business Managers
Information needs and the seeking behaviour of users are constantly changing depending on the user communities. However, certain aspects are constant across all communities. According to Majid, Hayat, and Patel (2012), technology, the availability of the information of interest, the multiple formats for information dissemination and retrieval, and discovery of new information and delivery channels influence the changing trends in the seeking behaviour and information needs of the communities. Technological advancement seems to remain the central aspect affecting almost all the other factors. However, all the factors work together to influence the needs and seeking behaviour of the users. This essay offers an extensive literature review of the information needs of small business managers and their seeking behaviour. It outlines the interest of the managers in using business information services at local libraries. Additionally, it includes a service design which offers a solution to the information services for the small business managers.
The discussion of the information needs of small business managers and their information seeking behaviour is extensively discussed. Different authors offer in-depth discussion and analyses of the topic, with different arguments, insights, and perceptions on the topic. According to Wilson (2009), in small businesses, information needs arise to deal with specific organizational/business tasks associated with various managerial roles. The author offers a descriptive analysis of the information needs of managers running small businesses. The most critical information needs outlined include financial information needs, marketing, training and development, production, small business development policies, the regulations within the sector in which a business operates, technical information, sources and access to raw materials, and distribution and logistics networks among others (Chiware & Dick, 2008). Sanchez-Cuadrado, et al. (2010) support the author in the discussion of the information needs and add that another critical small business information need concerns supply chains. The information needs influence the seeking behaviour of the managers in a major way.
According to Du Preez and Fourie (2010), information needs and information seeking behaviour are closely-linked. The author asserts that the information needs drive professionals to search or seek information. As the author posits, information need for managers of small businesses determines their behaviour in seeking the information (Du Preez & Fourie, 2010). Bouthillier (2003) supports the author by outlining the extensive influence of the information needs in shaping the seeking behaviour. The author states that the needs push the mangers towards a purposive search for information in order to satisfy a business need or a particular goal only achievable through the application of the knowledge or information (Bouthillier, 2003). Further, Nwagwu (2012) argues that as managers seek the information, they interact with different information systems in search of the most credible, reliable, and dependable information for the most beneficial results. Manual and online information systems such as libraries and databases among other platforms are used for the information seeking. The application of the different systems of information search offers different efficiencies in seeking the information (Nwagwu, 2012).
In the discussion of the topic, Jorosi (2006) points out that managers use the information adapt their organizations either pro-actively or reactively to the various changes in the micro and macro environments. The major objective of the small business managers in seeking information is to ensure the survival and prosperity of the business (Jorosi, 2006; Marcella & Illingworth, 2012). According to the author, managers apply the information in the enhancement of organizational efficiency, achievement of a competitive edge, minimization of risks, and the improvement of quality and profitability. Marcella and Illingworth (2012) support the arguments presented by Jorosi (2006) and posits that the success of any small business is greatly defined by the way the managers implements the information acquired to meet the needs and improve organizational processes, systems, and programs. This aligns with the argument presented by Majid, Hayat, and Patel (2012) which outlines a direct correlation between information and performance improvement. The author argues that mangers focus a lot of their time and business capital in the collection and implementation of business intelligence to improve performance and enhance the overall business efficiency.
According to Bouthillier (2003) and Chiware and Dick (2008), the better use of business information allows organizational improvement and the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. The functioning of businesses happens smoothly with the efficient implementation of applicable information (Chiware & Dick, 2008). Hamade and Al-Yousef (2010) and Jorosi (2006) argue that without sufficient information then small business would face great challenges that would threaten their survival. Therefore, managers of small businesses apply various strategies to seek information to satisfy their information needs and tackle the challenges they face. According to Jorosi (2006), 85% of small business managers devote one to seven hours each week seeking information. These managers focus on the application of the information acquired in the development of strategies that enhance effectiveness in the management and leadership. The essence is to ensure the improvement of profit efficiency through higher sales and profit margins. Marcella and Illingworth (2012) support the argument presented by the author and assert that information seeking is crucial for meeting the information needs, which are mostly targeted towards the development of successful and profitable businesses.
In seeking information, the managers of small businesses utilize different sources. According to Marcella and Illingworth (2012) and Jorosi (2006), personal and impersonal sources of information are the major sources of information. The author asserts that managers mainly utilize impersonal information sources. Further, the author finds out that managers are more likely to seek information from clients, Competitors, and computer-based platforms such as databases and websites among other manual systems such as libraries. However, according to Jorosi (2006), the managers depend mainly on information from customers and computer-based platforms.
an essential role in the improvement of organizational performance. Managers of
small businesses understand the importance of information and engage in endless
quests of seeking information to meet various business needs. The seeking behaviour
differs depending on the information need. Different authors outline the information
needs in small businesses and the seeking behaviour of managers. The author
agree that the effective implementation of information guarantees organizational
profitability and success. Further, the literature review identifies impersonal
information as the most sought. However, managers of small businesses depend mainly
on information from competitors, customers, and computer-based platforms.
Information Service Design Proposal
Community of Users
Managers require sufficient information for the improvement of their business profitability. The effective implementation of the necessary information, which meets certain needs of the business assures the achievement of organizational efficiency, performance improvement, increased productivity, and improved profit efficiency. According to Sanchez-Cuadrado, et al. (2010), managers have information needs that must be met for efficient management and leadership of businesses. Most managers, whether of big or small businesses, understand the impact of business intelligence in the enhancement of corporate success and development. The management of small business engage on the constant search of information. As Chiware and Dick (2008) stipulates, small business manager’s information needs drives them to seeking information. However, while they may apply similar information seeking methods and use similar platforms, information seeking behaviours differ significantly. This information service design proposal outlines the challenge facing the managers and offers a solution to efficient information seeking for effectiveness in the management of small businesses.
Type of Organisation or Environment
According to Longenecker (2010), small businesses are corporations, sole proprietorships, and partnerships that are privately owned. These business organizations employ fewer individuals and record less returns compared to medium or large business operations. Bolsta and Gegax (2014) defines small businesses as those with lower annual revenues, fewer employees, and are either privately-owned, partnerships, or singly-owned corporations. These businesses are governed by different regulations in different countries and regions, require substantial capital to start and operate, compete with small, medium, and large businesses, and face different challenges, which limit their development. The success of small businesses is tied on, among other things, the acquisition of sufficient information and the effective implementation of the business intelligence. Managers must seek and access information essential for meeting the challenges facing their organizations (Abels & Klein, 2008). The quality of the information and its effective implementation and integration into business operations boosts organizational performance, productivity, and success by influencing all aspects of business operation.
Types of Information Services
According to Majid, et al. (2012), there are different types of information services at the disposal of small business managers. However, the services must fulfil the need of the specific community users it intends to serve. According to Chiware & Dick (2008), small business managers require crucial knowledge concerning the operations of the businesses and must acquire the information for the achievement of the set goals and objectives. The different types of information services include libraries (digital, public, and academic and research libraries, and special libraries among others), company libraries, customers, and competitors. Additionally, computer-based platforms for information search include the web, databases, and the digital library (Chiware & Dick, 2008). Regardless of the extensive choices that managers of small businesses have, the most effective for application in their case are limited. Managers should consider applying computer-based platforms of information services, libraries, and gather information from customers, and the web (Bryson, 2015). The application of these information services would guarantee the information they need for improved management and higher efficiency in the operation of their businesses.
Delivery of Information Services
Access to information is critical for the satisfaction of the small business managers’ information needs. While managers must seek the information, the effectiveness of the delivery services makes sure that the community of users can easily access and use the required information (Sanchez-Cuadrado, et al., 2010). However, customer-focused information services delivery is essential since all managers, though facing seemingly the same challenges, have varying information needs. Personalization of information delivery services to meet the needs of specific businesses is essential. In small businesses, the development of efficient information service delivery systems is of great importance. According to Bryson (2015), small business managers should integrate technology in their business and implement information systems such as internet-connected computers, subscribe to business databases, and create efficient systems for receiving customer feedback and complaints (Chiware & Dick, 2008). The development of these measures for the delivery of information services would ensure that business managers have access to the essential information. The major point is to meet the information needs and implement such information to achieve business goals.
Evaluation of Information Services
The evaluation of information systems is essential for the determination of whether or not a business should continue seeking the information. Managers of small businesses must engage on a regular evaluation of the information services. The evaluation process should involve various steps. According to Bryson (2015), the evaluation of information services considers factors such as the success of the information in the promotion of organizational development by meeting organizational needs, and the efficiency, effectiveness, cost, and the benefits of the information services. The management of small businesses should evaluate information services by determining how efficient and effective the information services are in the delivery of the necessary information (Bryson, 2015). These aspects of evaluation outline the information services’ use of resources and how effectively they perform relative to the set objectives (Ryan, 2010). Managers should integration information services that are highly efficient, effective, and cost-effective. Further, they should consider the benefits the services have; the higher the benefits the more useful the service (Wilson, 2016).
Justification of the Proposed Information Services
The integration of
an efficient information systems into small businesses is critical for their
development. Implementing internet-connected computers, using the web and
online databases, and relying on customer feedback ensures efficiency and
effectiveness in seeking information and satisfying information needs (Schumann & Stock, 2014). As newer
technologies continue to emerge, only technologically aware businesses and managers
have a chance of survival and success. Managers must implement technologically
effective information services (Singh, 2013; The Microsoft IIS Team, 2009). The mentioned information services are technologically and
customer-aligned and thus are easily accessible, cheap, and efficient in the
delivery of information. These services guarantee efficiency, effectiveness,
cost-effectiveness, and various benefits, all of which serve an important role
in promoting business success (Bopp & Smith, 2011). For example, the
application of the services will allow managers to find the current and most
critical information about the business, its environment, competitors, and
supply and distribution channels among others. Additionally, they offer
efficient, fast, and easy access to expert opinion and ideas that are essential
for managing small businesses (The University of Nottingham, 2016; Virginia Tech, 2016).
Abels, E. G. & Klein, D. P., 2008. Business Information: Needs and Strategies. Bingley, UK: Academic Press/Emerald.
Bolsta, P. & Gegax, T., 2014. The big book of small business. New York: HarperCollins e-Books.
Bopp, R. E. & Smith, L. C., 2011. Reference and information services : an introduction. Libraries Unlimited: Santa Barbara, California.
Bouthillier, F., 2003. Access to information for small business managers: examination of some strategies and values. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 27 (3), pp. 125-138.
Bryson, J., 2015. Managing Information Services: A Sustainable Approach. New York: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Chiware, E. & Dick, A., 2008. The use of ICTs in Namibia’s SME sector to access business information services. Electronic Library, 26 (2), pp. 145-157.
Chiware, E. R. T. & Dick, A. L., 2008. Information Needs and Information Seeking Patterns of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in Namibia. Information Development, 24(1), pp. 24-36 .
Du Preez, M. & Fourie, J. A., 2010. Development of a Conceptual Model for Studying Engineers’ Information Behaviour. Mousaion, 28 (1), pp. 62-88.
Hamade, S. & Al-Yousef, S., 2010. The use of information resources by LIS graduate students in Kuwait. Library Review, 59 (5), pp. 360-369.
Jorosi, B. N., 2006. The Information Needs and Information Seeking Behaviours of SME Managers in Botswana. Libri, 56, pp. 97-107.
Longenecker, J. G., 2010. Small business management : launching and growing new ventures. Toronto: Nelson Education.
Majid, S., Hayat, I. & Patel, R. P., 2012. Information needs and seeking behaviour of business students. Singapore Journal of Library & Information Management, 41, pp. 14-35.
Marcella, R. & Illingworth, L., 2012. The impact of information behaviour on small business failure. Information Research, 17(3), p. 525.
Nwagwu, W., 2012. Information sources and information needs of postgraduate students in engineering and arts in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Collection Building, 31 (2), pp. 66-77.
Ryan, F., 2010. Evaluating online information service. Business Information Review, 27(2), pp. 104-111.
Sanchez-Cuadrado, S., Morato, J., Andreadakis, Y. & Moreiro, J. A., 2010. A Study of Labour Market Information Needs through Employers’ Seeking Behaviour. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 15 (4).
Schumann, L. & Stock, W. G., 2014. The Information Service Evaluation (ISE) Model. Webology, 11(1), pp. 1-19.
Singh, G., 2013. Information sources, Services and Systems. New Delhi: PHI Learning Private Limited.
The Microsoft IIS Team, 2009. Internet Information Services (IIS) 6 Resource Kit. New York: O’Reilly Media, Inc..
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