characteristics and elements of system design and analysis in management information system


A system should possess the following characteristics:

1. The system receives inputs by way of information, energy or materials.
2. The system processes data and produces/gives output/results.
3. The system has a structure, i.e., its elements/components are organized in a particular way.
4. The system is interdependent.
5. The system has objective orientation.

System Facilitating Activities

After studying the concepts of systems, let’s discuss some of the system facilitating activities. They are

1. Factoring: A system is organized in a particular manner. The various elements or components have a distinctive role to play, which is assigned to them. A method for the sake of operational efficiency is divided into subsystems. Each subsystem can then be further divided into lower level of subsystems until we get a unit, which is considered easy to manage. This process is known as factoring.

2. Boundary: A system is divided into subsystems. Each subsystem is delineated by its limitations. The environment remains outside the boundary.

3. Interconnections: The interconnections and interactions between the subsystems are called interfaces. Interface occurs at the boundary and takes the form of input and output (which could be information, energy or material).


Systems are put together, directly or indirectly, to ensure control and feedback. Hence, monitoring and feedback are considered the critical system concepts as they “pervade and permeate the whole idea of systems.” What is Control? Control is one of the most important concepts, element, and process in management. However, in the olden days, control was considered necessary if something went wrong. Control was then also confused with lack of freedom and “puppet-on-strings” syndrome. Today, it has been realized that control and freedom are fully consistent and interdependent. It has also been realized that the total absence of control is not freedom but the invitation for chaos or anarchy. Today, control is seen as a pro-active response to ensure that things move the way they are expected to. In fact, controlling is one of the four major functions of management along with planning, organizing, directing and leading. Control implies the measurement of accomplishment against the standard and correction of deviation to assure attainment of objectives according to plans.


It can be defined as the process of determining what is to be accomplished that is the standard, what is being achieved, that is, the performance, evaluating the performance and, if necessary, applying corrective measures so that production takes place according to plans, that is, in conformity with the standard.

Control, hence, means bringing/maintaining:

• Performance of group/individual, etc.
• Characteristics of group/individual, etc.
• Characteristics or value of a variable within prescribed limit

Controlling can, therefore, be viewed as:

• Setting standards of performance
• Measuring performance against standards
• Taking corrective action to reduce deviation from standards

Control Process

The control process consists of

1. Determining what should be done or expected
2. Finding out what is being done
3. Comparing results with expectations
4. Approving/disapproving results
5. Applying necessary corrective actions

Control Elements and Analysis of Control While authority, knowledge, guidance, direction, constraint, and restraints are the six elements of control, the real nature of the controlling can be expressed as follows:

1. Planning is the basis of control.
2. The action is the essence of control.
3. Delegation is the key to control.
4. Information is the guide to control.

Control Cycle

The control process, popularly referred to as “Control Cycle,” which is depend on.

1. Determine Goals
2. Plan Programmes
3. Determine work loads
4. Determine required resources
5. Acquire authority for using resources
6. Perform Work
7. Compare actual and budgeted performance
8. Compare goals achieve with goals desired

Requirements for Good Control System

The various requirements of the good control system are discussed below.

Suitable:- The control system should conform to the nature and need of the activity sought to be controlled and the culture/structure of the organization.

Intelligible:- The control system should be readily understandable by all concerned.

Flexible:- The system should be able to work even when the plans change or fail.

Prompt Reporting:- The system must be able to report deviations from the plan/goals without loss of valuable time.

Forward-Looking:- The system should enable the manager to plan for the future.

Economical:- It should be cost-effective and economic

Suggestions of Remedial:- Action The control system should not only indicate/disclose the performance but also show where failures are occurring, who is responsible for them and what should he did about them.

Focus on strategic points:- The system should view the performance in strategic perspective and disclose the strategic implication.

The principle of Critical Point Control:- The system should follow the policy which states “effective control requires attention to those factors critical to evaluating against plans.”


Feedback is the function that provides information on the deviation between output and control standard and delivers this information as input into the process from which the output is desired. This facilitates corrective action, and hence, feedback is an integral part of the Systems Theory as could be evident from. The feedback may be positive or negative. Feedback is useful for exercising control in an organization by the management.

Control Systems

The control systems based on feedback could be categorized into three types as follows:

1. Closed loop system: Under this system, feedback is based on output measurement. Appropriate feedback is passed on to the input so that suitable corrections could be made at the input stage itself. Control is internalized. Inventory control, cost control, quality control, Inspection can be said to be examples of the closed-loop system.

2. Open loop system: Under the system, control is not internalized. Instead, it is extended to the system, and there is no feedback or feedback loop. Action to initiate control is also not taken automatically.

3. Cybernetic system: The science of communication and control is known as cybernetics. These systems, however, refer to systems, which are very complex, probabilistic, yet self-regulating.

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