MBAX9106 Information Systems Management - 2018

Weekly, Online
Weekly, Sydney CBD
Term 3
6 Units of Credit

Offering Selection
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. To view other versions, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course addresses current management issues in the deployment of Information Systems and Information Technology. It deals with the relationship between the organisation and its information systems, strategic and tactical planning for information systems and the management of the development and acquisition of systems and technology. Attention is paid to issues such as outsourcing, business continuity planning and the provision of information for decision-makers.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course aims to:

  • provide managers with frameworks to understand and value the role of information systems in the organisation
  • promote an understanding of the issues faced by information systems management and the responsibilities of those managers
  • develop your knowledge of the business issues involved in strategies for acquisition of information systems services, such as outsourcing and the adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • provide an awareness of the importance of securing information systems and the necessity for adequate business continuity planning
  • provide an awareness of the governance requirements of the information systems function.

Please note that the focus is on management, not on the technology itself.

There are no pre-requisites for this course.

This course is at the heart of managing business and technology. The focus on strategy and tactics blends managerial and technological knowledge and skills. Given the integrative nature of this course, it is probably not ideal as an early course in your degree program.

Additonal Course Details

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course CoordinatorGraham Low
Course CoordinatorGraham Low

The role of your Class Facilitator is to support the learning process by encouraging interaction among participants, providing direction in understanding the course content, assessing participant progress through the course and providing feedback on work submitted. Class Facilitators comprise both academics and industry practitioners with relevant backgrounds.

You will be notified of your Class Facilitator’s name and contact details in your class confirmation email sent by AGSM Student Experience. Details will also be available in the gallery section of your online class for both face-to-face and distance classes

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Unit 1, Introduction and issues. In this Unit, you will consider the effect of history and the current business environment on the mission of information systems. The major issues in information systems management are presented, and their implications for the organisational role of senior information systems executives are considered. The issues identified in this Unit are dealt with throughout the course.
Unit 2, Organisations and information systems, provides a number of theories and frames of reference based on various models for considering the broader organisational and social context of information systems. The theories canvassed include economic and behavioural theories. The characteristics of organisations that may impact on the interaction between organisations and information systems are considered.
Unit 3, Information systems planning, addresses the issues associated with information systems planning. In recent years, the pace of change in information technology and in the business environment generally has made prescriptive long-term planning highly questionable. This requires the establishment of an accepted strategic vision and a flexible infrastructure and architecture that allows for faster responses to environmental stimuli. The Unit also canvasses some tools and techniques for strategic planning.
Unit 4, Managing information and supporting decision makers, examines the management of organisational information. After a brief examination of what is understood by the terms ‘data’, ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’, issues associated with the storage and management of structured, record-based data are examined. The foci are on obtaining consistent data definitions across the organisation and understanding the main difficulties of distributing data. The Unit then examines the management of unstructured data, and electronic document management. The final part of the Unit considers: the problems and opportunities of data warehousing; and ability of information technology to assist in the decision-making process by enabling managers to compare alternatives against a series of weighted factors and to modify those weights (and perhaps the subsequent decision) in the light of changing or doubtful circumstances.
Unit 5, Enterprise architecture, discusses enterprise IS architecture, IT architecture and the resulting IT Infrastructure for an organisation that has the potential to create competitive value in terms of responsiveness, innovativeness and economies of scale. The Unit considers a number of approaches such as client/server computing and service-oriented computing that impact upon both the infrastructure architecture (e.g. hardware platforms, networking) required to support them, and the application architecture that is implemented.
Unit 6, Information systems development, examines the management of information systems development, and control mechanisms for systems development and for the information systems division as a whole. Various development methodologies are considered. The drive to substitute technology for human resources in systems development is discussed.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Unit 7, Software packages including enterprise systems, deals with software packages, their selection and implementation. The Unit first looks at the factors influencing the ‘buy versus build’ decision. It then looks at a methodology for package selection and implementation, before looking at three specific examples: ERP, SaaS and open-source software. As most enterprise systems can be considered as innovations when first implemented in the organisation, the Unit then looks at some of the issues in managing innovation.
Unit 8, Outsourcing, can be described as some or all of the IS functions being contracted to an outside vendor. This could include computer operations, networks, applications, maintenance or other functions. Recent developments in outsourcing arrangements for strategic and complex systems are considered. The Unit emphasises the need for close management of the relationship to avoid dysfunctional effects of uncertainty in the relationship. The Unit then concentrates on two new trends in outsourcing: offshoring and backsourcing
Unit 9, Business continuity planning. This Unit begins with a consideration of disaster recovery and contingency plans that have become commonplace as professional information systems managers seek to mitigate the problems of the loss or failure of technology. It continues to widen the scope of such planning a further step to business continuity planning. The objective of this is to try to protect business operations from a wider range of threats and to try to ensure that business can re-start, not just the technology.
Unit 10, Managing operations, services and security. In this Unit, the functions of the operations section within the information systems division are considered, including the relationships with, and facilities provided to, users. In particular, this Unit examines the issues that should be considered when developing the operations management plan, information centres, service management and security management.
Unit 11, IS function, leadership and governance, examines the management of the IS function, beginning with the organisational structure (centralised, devolved) adopted and how it is funded (allocated or unallocated cost centre, profit centre). Next, it looks at a way of assessing the role of IS/IT in the organisation to provide guidance on the way IS could be managed, as well as the required attributes of the IS leader. It then looks at governance of IS/IT and some of its components.
Unit 12, Emerging IS/IT issues, examines three challenges for information systems managers: electronic business, mobile computing (including BYOD), and green IS/IT. E-business is presented as a broader concept than E-commerce; it includes servicing customers, collaborating with business partners and conducting electronic transactions within the company. In the case of mobile computing, we will consider some key factors assisting the growth of mobile computing, plus two of its applications: BYOD and mobile commerce. The Unit then looks at how organisations can respond to the challenge of sustainability via green IS/IT

Course Structure

5. Course Resources

You have four major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials, comprising the weekly study units with readings, references, insights and commentary. You will do much of your learning outside the classroom by working through the course materials, and by completing the exercises as they arise.
  2. Your online or face-to-face classes with your facilitator. The facilitator's job is to guide your learning by conducting class discussion, answering questions that might arise after you have done the week's work, providing insights from his or her practical experience and understanding of theory, providing you with feedback on your assignments, and directing discussions and debates that will occur between you and your co-participants in the classroom.
  3. Your co-participants. Your colleagues in the classroom are an invaluable potential source of learning for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and argue with the course materials, the facilitator and your views, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning experience.
  4. In addition to course-based resources, please also refer to the AGSM Learning Toolkit (available in Moodle) for tutorials and guides that will help you learn more about effective study practices and techniques. 

Course materials

The course materials comprise this Course Overview, the Assessment Details and 12 Units. Each Unit has a number of associated readings.


Specific readings are prescribed throughout the Units and are available via active hyperlinks or URLs. Please note that you may be required to enter your UNSW zID and zPass in order to access these hyperlinked readings. 

Prescribed textbook

McKeen, J D & Smith, H A, 2015, IT strategy: Issues and practices, 3rd edn (Global Edn), Pearson, NJ.

Please note that enrolled students will be provided with access to the eBook version of this text prior to the commencement of the session.

Recommended reading

(either the listed edition or a more recent edition)

Applegate, L M, Austin, R D & Soul, D L 2009, Corporate information strategy and management, McGraw-Hill, Boston 

Baltzan, P, Lynch, K & Blakey, P 20194, Business driven information systems, 64th edn, McGraw Hill Irwin, Boston, MA.

Brown, C V, DeHayes, D W, Hoffer, J A, Martin, W E & Perkins, W C 2012, Managing information technology, 7th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 

Grant, K, Hackney, R & Edgar, D 2010, Strategic information systems management, Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

Laudon, K C & Laudon, J P 2018, Management information systems: Managing the digital firm, 15th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

McNurlin, B C, Sprague, R H Jnr & Bui, T 2009, Information systems management in practice, 8th edn, Prentice-Hall.

Stair, R & Reynolds, G 2018, Principles of information systems, 13th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston.

Valacich, J & Schneider, C 2018, Information systems today: Managing in the digital world, 8th edn, Pearson, Boston 

Whitman, M E & Mattord, H J 2017, Management of information security, 5th edn, Course Technology, Cengage, Boston.

Other resources


UCo is AGSM’s Campus in the Cloud, a social platform that connects students, staff and faculty – enabling you to engage with each other across your courses and the AGSM outside of the formal Moodle setting. AGSM also uses this private network to communicate with you about extracurricular opportunities and events, and general updates on programs and courses. Enrolled students can access UCo using their zID and zPass at Link

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Our courses are revised each time they run, with updated course overviews and assessment tasks. All courses are reviewed and revised regularly and significant course updates are carried out in line with industry developments.
The AGSM surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the program in general. This student feedback is taken into account in all course revisions.

Student Response

The textbook which was seen as clear and articulating difficult concepts in a clear and understandable way.
The teaching staff who are seen as excellent.

Response to Student Feedback

There are a large number of very knowledgeable students undertaking this course and some background in either an IS/IT role or an end-user role with some interaction with IS/IT is helpful in understanding the issues facing IS/IT management. Where this background needs supplementation, the books listed under “Recommended Reading” provide additional background material.
The exam will now be in week 13 & not the weekend of week 12 which made the end of the course-more stressful than it should have been.

7. Course Schedule

For AGSM academic calendars and key dates please visit
Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 -Unit 1: Introduction and issues
Week 2 -Unit 2: Organisations and information systems
Week 3 -Unit 3: Information systems planning
Week 4 -Unit 4: Managing information and supporting decision makers
Week 5 -Unit 5: Enterprise architecture
Week 6 Assessment 1 Unit 6: Information systems development

Assessment 1 due on Tuesday 23 October by 9.30am Sydney time – report (20%)

Assessment 1 : Report 1
Week 7 -Unit 7: Software packages including enterprise systems
Week 8 -Unit 8: Outsourcing
Week 9 -Unit 9: Business continuity planning
Week 10 -Unit 10: Managing operations
Week 11 Assessment 2 Unit 11: IS function

Assessment 2 due on Tuesday 27 November by 9.30am Sydney time – report (30%)

Assessment 2 : Report 2
Week 12 -Unit 12: Emerging IS/IT issues
Week 13 Take-home Exam-

Take-home Exam (40%)

(Note: Limited to 2 hours from first access of paper)

Available: 9.30am Monday 10 December 

Submitted: 11.59pm Tuesday 11 December

Assessment 4: Take-Home Exam : Take-home exam
Week 1 -Unit 1: Introduction and issues
Week 2 -Unit 2: Organisations and information systems
Week 3 -Unit 3: Information systems planning
Week 4 -Unit 4: Managing information and supporting decision makers
Week 5 -Unit 5: Enterprise architecture
Week 6 Assessment 1 Unit 6: Information systems development

Assessment 1 due on Tuesday 23 October by 3.00pm Sydney time – report (20%)

Assessment 1 : Report 1
Week 7 -Unit 7: Software packages including enterprise systems
Week 8 -Unit 8: Outsourcing
Week 9 -Unit 9: Business continuity planning
Week 10 -Unit 10: Managing operations
Week 11 Assessment 2 Unit 11: IS function

Assessment 2 due on Tuesday 27 November by 3.00pm Sydney time – report (30%)

Assessment 2 : Report 2
Week 12 -Unit 12: Emerging IS/IT issues
Week 13 Take-home Exam

Take-home Exam (40%)

(Note: Limited to 2 hours from first access of paper)

Available: 9.30am Monday 10 December 

Submitted: 11.59pm Tuesday 11 December

Assessment 4: Take-Home Exam : Take-home exam

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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