We can draw a multiple-cause diagram to explore and to communicate the complexity of a system, and to recognise that the effect of a particular system is normally the result of a number of different causes.

Examine the example shown in Figure 17 of the multiple c
Author(s): The Open University

The term mind mapping was devised by Tony Buzan for the representation of such things as ideas, notes and information, in radial tree diagrams â€” sometimes also called spider diagrams. These are now very widely used â€” try a web search on â€˜Buzanâ€™, â€˜mind mapâ€™ or â€˜concept mapâ€™.

Author(s): The Open University

â€˜The whole is more than the sum of its partsâ€™ is a good place to start thinking about systems. A car is more than its individual components. We can think of a football team as being more than a collection of individual players or a family being more than a group of people who share the same name.

Each of these examples â€“ the car, the football team and the family â€“ can be seen as systems. Individual parts of a system are connected together in some way for a purpose.

Example
Author(s): The Open University

An influence diagram shows the influences, from within the organisation or from outside it, which bear on a person or unit.

Author(s): The Open University

An input-output diagram shows the inputs to a system or to an operation and the outputs from it.

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A matrix is an arrangement of â€˜cellsâ€™ in rows and columns. A spreadsheet is a simple example of a matrix. Each cell is described by its position in a column, normally denoted by an alphabetical letter, and in a row, normally denoted by a number. So â€˜cell B6â€™ on your spreadsheet is the one which occupies column B and row 6. The size of a matrix is described by the number of rows and the number of columns (in that order).

A â€˜two-by-twoâ€™ matrix has two rows and two columns. A â
Author(s): The Open University

Personal characteristics in Figure 1 combine both psychological and personal factors. Two important factors which drive behaviour are motivation and attitudes.

MacFadyen et al. (1998) (see Author(s): The Open University

This unit looked at the question of whether the financial markets are efficient in the sense that prices demanded are fair and reflect all known and relevant information about investments. The Efficient Markets Hypothesis defines such efficiency at three levels, depending on how much information is in fact incorporated into prices. The weak form states merely that the current price already reflects all information incorporated into previous prices, so that each successive price move is a reac
Author(s): The Open University

If the NPV is positive, then the aggregate present value of the future cash flows is greater than the price to be paid for the investment today, so the investment is cheap and offers an excess return. If the NPV is negative, then the price to be paid today is greater than the present value of the future cash flows; the investment is therefore overpriced and does not offer an adequate return. If the NPV is zero, we can say the investment is fairly priced by the market.

All significant fi
Author(s): The Open University

Investment risk is synonymous with uncertainty of outcome, so it is logical to try to quantify risk by looking at the relative uncertainty, or probability, of each of the possible alternative outcomes.

Suppose that we are interested in investing in the shares of Company X, and want to know:

• What is the mean or average expected total return for the next year?

• What is the degree of risk or uncertainty in this mean figure?

Author(s): The Open University

There will be many categories of materials, supplies and consumables used in a project. Once again, the materials that are in constant use and easily and â€˜freelyâ€™ available in an organisation might be overlooked in costing the project. For example, it is easy to assume that stationary will be available in much the same way as it is for day-to-day work. However, a project is a bounded activity, and if you are to understand the full cost of achieving the outcomes, you will need to know how
Author(s): The Open University

The staff time and staff-related costs need to be calculated. These include salaries, taxes, holidays, overtime, training, travel and subsistence, and accommodation for the number of staff for the time they will be needed. This raises all sorts of questions about the basis on which staff are costed and the relationship of the project budgeting system to other budgets and costing systems in the organisation. The basic assumptions underlying allocation of resources need careful consideration ea
Author(s): The Open University

The project brief will identify the goals of the project and may express some of these as key objectives. At an early stage of planning you will need to identify all of the project objectives and the deliverables that are implied or required from each objective.

Each objective will identify a clear outcome. The outcome is the deliverable. In some cases, the outcome will be some sort of change achieved and in other cases it will be the production of something new. In either case, the pro
Author(s): The Open University

Course image: Mike Rolls in Flickr made available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and
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The process of keeping up-to-date in your chosen subject area is useful for your studies and afterwards, for your own personal satisfaction, or perhaps in your career as part of your continuing professional development.

There are a great many tools available that make it quite easy to keep yourself up to date. You can set them up so that the information comes to you, rather than you having to go out on the web looking for it. Over the next few pages, you will be experimenting with some
Author(s): The Open University

• 87% of items that are filed into a filing cabinet are never looked at again. STANFORD UNIVERSITY

• TIn 2010, the world's digital information output was estimated to pass 1.2 zettabytes. A zettabyte is a new term which equals a thousand billion gigabytes. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (BERKELEY)

• A new blog is created every second. TECHNORATI

• 10% of salary costs are wasted as employees search
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There is so much information available on the internet on every topic imaginable. But how do you know if it is any good? And if you find a lot more information than you really need, how do you decide what to keep and who to discard?

In this section we are going to introduce a simple checklist to help you to judge the quality of the information you find. Before we do this, spend a few minutes thinking about what is meant by information quality.

Author(s): The Open University

There are many websites where you will find useful information for business and management. With all information on the internet you need to make a judgement on the reliability of the information.