A typical organization is divided into operational, middle, and upper level. The information requirements for users at each level differ. Towards that end, there are number of information systems that support each level in an organization.
Pyramid Diagram of Organizational levels and information requirements
Understanding the various levels of an organization is essential to understand the information required by the users who operate at their respective levels.
The following diagram illustrates the various levels of a typical organization.
Operational Management Level
The operational level is concerned with performing day to day business transactions of the organization.
Examples of users at this level of management include cashiers at a point of sale, bank tellers, nurses in a hospital, customer care staff, etc.
Users at this level use make structured decisions. This means that they have defined rules that guides them while making decisions.
For example, if a store sells items on credit and they have a credit policy that has some set limit on the borrowing. All the sales person needs to decide whether to give credit to a customer or not is based on the current credit information from the system.
Tactical Management Level
This organization level is dominated by middle-level managers, heads of departments, supervisors, etc. The users at this level usually oversee the activities of the users at the operational management level.
Tactical users make semi-structured decisions. The decisions are partly based on set guidelines and judgmental calls. As an example, a tactical manager can check the credit limit and payments history of a customer and decide to make an exception to raise the credit limit for a particular customer. The decision is partly structured in the sense that the tactical manager has to use existing information to identify a payments history that benefits the organization and an allowed increase percentage.
Strategic Management Level
This is the most senior level in an organization. The users at this level make unstructured decisions. Senior level managers are concerned with the long-term planning of the organization. They use information from tactical managers and external data to guide them when making unstructured decisions.