CIIS 454: MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

GHANA TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
DEGREE PROGRAMME
TAKE-HOME EXAMINATION COVER SHEET
END-OF-SECOND SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS, 2019/2020 ACADEMIC YEAR
FACULTY OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS
LEVEL 400
CIIS 454: MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Start Date: Thursday, June 11, 2020 (06:00 GMT)
End Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2020 (23:59 GMT)
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EXAMINATION INSTRUCTIONS
INSTRUCTIONS:
1) There are THREE (3) major questions in this Take-Home Examination. Students MUST
answer ALL questions, following the specific instructions for each question.
2) Answer each major question on a separate sheet(s) of paper.
3) Answer to each major question should NOT exceed 1000 words.
4) Answers to questions must be typed in Times New Roman with 12 points font-size and 1.5
line spacing.
5) All answers must be converted to PDF and uploaded as a single file to the submission area
on the course page.
6) Submit finished work via the Course page on the GTUC E-learning platform.
7) Marks will be awarded for good expression, originality and clarity of thought.
8) You are at liberty to draw your answers from the prescribed textbook, lecture notes and other
materials from the Internet, but Do Not COPY and/or PASTE. (Note that a TURNITIN
SCORE ABOVE 40% WILL ATTRACT MARK DEDUCTION ACCORDING TO THE
SEVERITY)
9) To avoid plagiarism, your work must be properly referenced using the Harvard
Referencing Style. If in doubt check
https://www.macmillanihe.com/studentstudyskills/page/Referencing-and-AvoidingPlagiarism/
QUESTION ONE [30 Marks]
Carefully read the Case Study below and answer the questions that follow:
CASE STUDY
Disruptive Innovation: The Case of Uber
Introduction
In 2015 an article in the Wall Street Journal declared: “There’s an Uber for everything now.”
The article was referring to the profusion of on-demand services available to consumers. Since
then the company continued to expand into new business areas. As of 2020, the company was
engaged in ride-hailing, food delivery, freight, and micromobility, offering rides to users
through dockless e-bikes and e-scooters. As CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an open letter
published on Uber’s website in April 2019, the company was “still barely scratching the surface
when it comes to huge industries like food and logistics, and how the future of urban mobility
will reshape cities for the better.
Uber “sets the world in motion” through connecting individuals by way of its app-based
platform, which is operational in over 63 countries and 700 cities globally. Uber, rooted in
connectivity, operates through relationships with customers and drivers. Customers, or riders,
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utilize the Uber app to hail rides, request food delivery, freight ship items, and reserve personal
mobility devices. Drivers utilize the app as independent contractors, using their own personal
vehicles to taxi customers or deliver food on behalf of participating restaurants.
Uber Culture
In November 2017, just months after Dara Khosrowshahi became Uber’s CEO after succeeding
Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, a document outlining his vision was released that
explained Uber’s culture. It explained: “These norms preserve the best of the founding Uber
culture that built one of the world’s most valuable and important companies, while recognizing
that we must adapt to become a great company where every person feels respected and
challenged, can contribute in his or her own way, and learn and grow as an individual and as a
professional.
The New York Times described the new set of core values under Khosrowshahi as “something
of a repudiation of the culture created under (previous CEO) Kalanick,” noting that the
company’s previously aggressive nature has led to business challenges serious enough to
threaten the company’s ability to operate in certain markets, including London.
Business and Strategies
Uber uses its technology platform for a variety of business purposes including ridesharing, food
delivery, personal mobility, and freight services. Uber’s largest business area is its “Rides”
segment, which includes the revenue it earns from its ridesharing platform and through leasing
of vehicles to third parties. The “Rides” segment accounted for over 75% of Uber’s reported
revenue in 2019. Uber’s second largest business area is its “Eats” segment, which earns revenue
through transactions on its UberEats platform via meal delivery services. The “Eats” segment
accounted for roughly 18% of Uber’s reported revenue in 2019. Collectively, Uber’s other
business areas, such as “Freight,” account for about 5% of the company’s revenue.
Since Uber’s inception in 2009, the company has drastically expanded beyond the simple
concept of “tap a button, get a ride.” While its ridesharing services still account for the
prominent portion of Uber’s business, the company has aggressively invested in diverse
industries where it believes it can leverage its technology to create value, including food
delivery, logistics, and urban mobility. Moreover, the company expresses a strong desire to
continue growing its core business, often citing that Uber “accounts for less than one percent
of all miles driven globally.
Drivers
In the period from January 2015 through March 2017, Uber reported 1,877,252 people who
had driven through UberX or UberPOOL in 196 cities; many drivers work for more than one
platform, including Uber’s competitors, Lyft, DiDi and Ola. Many drivers were immigrants
from developing countries who were willing to work extremely long hours for relatively low
pay. An analysis in 2015 found that “51% of Uber drivers work one to 15 hours per week, 30%
work 16 to 34 hours per week, while 12% work 35 to 49 hours per week, and 7% work 50
hours or more per week.” This statistic does not account for hours worked through other
platforms.
Uber does not directly supervise drivers, instead offering suggestions and recommendations
through the app, leading with phrases like “riders give the best ratings to drivers who…” Critics
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argue that the degree of indirect control that Uber exerts over drivers negates the firm’s
assertion that drivers are “independent contractors and entrepreneurs,” in that they are expected
to “deliver a standardized experience to passengers or risk suspension, deactivation, or loss of
pay.”
Rider ratings serve as the primary means of drivers’ performance evaluation. Through the
Uber app, riders rate their drivers after the completion of the ride. While this system supports
efficiency through “the semi-automated management of large, disaggregated workforces,”
researchers have questioned the implications of this approach. One concern is that the implicit
biases that riders may have against some groups based on race, gender, age, or other factors
may influence ratings, which could in turn influence employment decisions by management.
A nine-month study identified “information and power asymmetries” as a result of the Uber
app are “fundamental to its ability to structure control over [Uber’s] workers.” Some drivers
have speculated that Uber’s algorithm “rewards drivers implicitly for following behavioral
prompts…although the explicit dispatching rule is that passengers are matched with the
nearest driver.
Despite the rating system for evaluation of the drivers’ performance, evidence of poor driving
experiences has been reported. Some problems with drivers are more serious, including reports
of “physical assault, kidnapping, sexual assault and rape” in at least seven countries including
the United States, some of which involved drivers who were known felons who managed to
pass Uber background checks. Generally, Uber has argued that it has no liability because
drivers are independent contractors.
Operations
Uber’s primary business are design, engineering, operations, and product. Its operations have
been challenged by conflict with partners and regulators. For example, under former CEO,
Kalanick, Uber actively attempted to deceive Apple about a component of its app’s coding that
would circumvent user privacy. Apple detected this deception and a series of tense
conversations among the two companies’ leadership ensued before the issue was resolved.
Part of Uber’s conflict with regulators and government agencies is that its business model does
not fit with regulations that govern traditional taxi businesses. This has led to attempts on
Uber’s part to directly or indirectly influence such regulations. Reflecting on Uber’s domestic
lobbying efforts, Mike Isaac in his book titled Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (2019), noted
that these efforts involve “nearly 400 paid lobbyists across forty-four states” and observed that
“the number of ride-hailing lobbyists outnumbered the paid lobbying staffs of Amazon,
Microsoft and Walmart combined.” Mike Isaac further revealed that in Philadelphia for
instance, the firm faced a $12 million fine for 120,000 violations of transit code for operating
illegally, a matter eventually settled for $3.5 million.
Internationally, Uber failed to legalize its uberPOP service in the Netherlands, which some
researchers ascribe to the firm’s continued operations while concurrently lobbying for revised
regulation.
Data Management
In order to provide its services, Uber collects a variety of data on drivers and riders, including
user movement, drivers’ license and insurance information and riders’ contact and payment
information. Internally, a mechanism for employees to track the movement of riders was called
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“god view,” but was later renamed “heaven view.” This data was necessary to the delivery of
service, though one journalist expressed surprise over “how loosely Uber restricted internal
access to the tool.” Uber also leveraged its data to track those who might threaten the firm’s
operations in a particular locale through the use of “Greyball.” This feature was “a snippet of
code affixed to a user’s Uber account…that identified that person as a threat to the company.
It could be a police officer, a legislative aide, or…a transportation official.” If a user had their
account flagged in this manner, they could only view a falsified version of the app “populated
with ghost cars.
Reward Platform
To drive customer loyaty as a result of millions of customers using Uber every day and in lots
of ways – whether they’re sharing an UberPool to the office, ordering in dinner from Uber Eats,
biking home from the train, or taking an UberXL to the airport, Uber collaborated with a 3rd
party company on the development of Uber Rewards, a loyalty program allowing customers to
earn points and redeem benefits when using Uber. By understanding the most valued elements
of the Uber proposition, the 3rd party company was able to work with Uber to devise a rewards
program known as “Uber Rewards” that allowed Uber to invest in its customers, thereby
driving increased customer loyalty. Points earned via Uber Rewards allow customers to gain
status to one of four membership tiers, unlocking benefits along the way including price
consistency, priority pick-ups at airports, higher rated drivers, and complimentary upgrades.
Competition
The ridesharing market is growing globally (expected to reach $300B worldwide by 2030)
thanks to the spread of app-based transportation network services – or ridesharing – as
alternatives to taxis, car ownership, and other traditional means of transportation. Ridesharing
is growing especially fast in developing markets where mobile connectivity is widespread but
individual car ownership is low. In general, users prefer the ease of use and low fares offered
by transportation network companies over traditional cabs and public transit. These companies
differentiate their service by maximizing car liquidity, or the quantity of drivers and their
proximity to riders, to keep users engaged with their platforms.
Conclusion
Even as Uber grows, it struggles to reach profitability. Legal and regulatory challenges are as
numerous and diverse as the locations in which the company operates and bear significant
implications for Uber’s financial outlook, especially regarding the employment status of
drivers. Internal stakeholders face uncertainty as the company works to rehabilitate a troubled
culture and address issues of diversity and inclusion. The broad environment is rife with direct
competition and the threat of potential competition through technological advances.
CASE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. What strategic business objectives do Uber’s information systems address? [5 Marks]
2. Describe the complementary social and managerial assets required by Uber to optimize
returns from the huge investments made in information technology. [5 Marks]
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3. What are the key management and technology challenges relevant for Uber in the
building and usage of its’ transportation-based app.? [5 Marks]
4. How much of a competitive advantage is software providing for a transportation
network services like Uber? Explain your answer. [5 Marks]
5. How do operational customer relationship management systems help firms like Uber
achieve customer intimacy? Explain your answer. [10 Marks]
QUESTION TWO [20 Marks]
This is an apply-level question that tests your understanding of the various information
systems and their practical usage in the business environment.
PRACTICAL/APPLICATION-TYPE QUESTION
The coronavirus, COVID-19 started in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Within the space
of two months it has engulfed the whole world infecting millions of people and killing hundreds
of thousands. The world economy has also been heavily affected. Stock markets, oil prices
and actually everything is experiencing a decline. The only other thing that businesses can now
depend upon to keep going without totally facing bankruptcy and total collapse is information
systems. The deteriorated conditions of the business world are as a result of the restriction on
the movement of people and forced lockdowns being experienced around the world where
businesses cannot operate. Although the lockdown restrictions in some parts of the world are
being eased, the expectation is that life around the world is not likely to return to the “normal”
that we use to know of, and the problem of social distancing and restricted movement will stay
with us for some time. This is also going to affect businesses in the way they operate.
As a student of MIS who has recently studied several topics in the course that can aid businesses
to become efficient and competitive, identify any business (small or large) in Ghana and
describe in practical terms how that business can employ information systems to enhance
business continuity in these current socio- economic conditions of COVID-19.
Your description should be very specific in how information systems can be utilized by the
business identified. It should include the type of information system(s) to be employed, the
area of the business it will affect (e.g. Manufacturing, marketing, accounting, etc.), the internal
users of the information systems (e.g. top level management, middle-level, etc.), and how the
information systems will be used (provide goods/services, production, supply-chain, call
center, etc.)
Suggested answer guide (this is only a guide and you may or not use this guide)
• A general introduction to the situation
• Identify the industry in which the company operates
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• Indicate and explain the specific role that the information systems are going to play in
the business
• Indicate the specific type of information system(s) that will be used in the business
(this may include the hardware type such as mobile technologies, etc., and software
including social media, etc.)
• Identify and explain the specific strategic use of the information system in the
business
• Identify and assess possible challenges that are likely to be faced in using information
systems in Ghana.
QUESTION THREE [20 Marks]
This is a recall-level type question that require students to examine the challenges posed by
enterprise systems to businesses and how they can be overcome with new technology.
ESSAY-TYPE QUESTION
Given the large amount of research literature on the topic of enterprise systems benefits, the
question arises as to why organizations continue to struggle to both identify and realize the
benefits of their enterprise systems investments. Discuss the challenges posed by enterprise
applications and explain how these challenges are being addressed with new technologies to
deliver more value to businesses.
……………………………………..End of Exam………………………………….
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INSTRUCTIONS TO PACKAGE AND SUBMIT YOUR TAKE-HOME EXAMS
Students Responsibilities and Advice:
1. It is your responsibility to:
a) comply with the general information and instructions given on the question
paper,
b) ensure that your answers follow the required format,
c) submit your final document (answers) following the online submission
procedures outline below, and
d) provide the required information on the submission Cover page (Student Index
Number, your Full Name, Session, and Level).
e) reference your work properly using the Harvard Referencing Style.
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Therefore, you are advised not to wait until the last minutes before you submit
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3. No submission can be accepted after the due date.
Guidelines to Package Your Answers:
1. Use MS Word or any appropriate document processing software to prepare
your answers.
2. Answer each major question on a separate sheet(s) of paper.
3. Answers should be typed in Times New Roman with 12 points font-size,
and a line spacing of 1.5.
4. Answer to each major question should NOT exceed 1000 words.
5. Your final document (answers) must have a Cover page as the first page
or front page showing your Index Number, Full Name, Session, and
Campus as your submission cover page.
6. Convert and save your final document into a single PDF file. The name of
the PDF file should be your SURNAME, INDEX NUMBER and CAMPUS
(e.g. Doe_040919036_Accra). Handwritten documents, photographed and
scanned images WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
NOTE: The system will accept only PDF file format for submission. All PDF files
must not be more than 50mb. The system will reject any file size bigger than
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7. To resize your PDF file use any of these free online tools:
a) https://smallpdf.com/compress-pdf
b) https://www.ilovepdf.com/compress_pdf
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