Information Anxiety: Learning from History

Published in the Indian PC Magazine and available for download here.

The genesis of a recent project was the belief that the downsizing, rightsizing or whatever the politically correct euphemism for events during the late 20th century created an environment in which many middle managers were having difficulty dealing with the increasing volume of information. Some might argue that downsizing exercises of the 1990’s are history and not of much interest today. We would argue the opposite.  It seems very plausible that in the next few years we may witness similar, possibly hasted or poorly planned, reorganizations in an attempt to deal with the global economic challenges ahead of us.  We think there are many lessons to be learned for the 1990s, one of which surrounds information anxiety.

Information overload will continue to be one of the major menaces confronting middle managers in this new millennium. Some gurus suggest there is more to the information tribulations of the new era than simply overload. The term overload seems to imply that limiting the quantity of information will solve the problem. Increasingly, research indicates that there are other information challenges with even greater impact. The collective noun for this group of challenges is Information Anxiety.