Effective community development requires the establishment of links among multiple organizations and institutions. How well the network functions depend on the specificity and accuracy of the information exchanged. In this paper, we illustrate how the introduction of a management information system (MIS) to a network of economic development programs across the United States meets the diverse information needs of the multiple members and standardizes their communication. We discuss how the MIS, as a tool for community development, supports the collection and flow of information among network members, leading to expansion of the network. The success of this MIS-enhanced network is seen in changes in local, state, and federal policy. Lessons learned from this example can be applied to other community development initiatives.
Subsequent publication: Johnson, E., Hinterlong, J., Sherraden, M., & Moore, A. (2001). Advancing community development and public policy through an MIS-enhanced network. In Selected papers from the proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (Paper 11). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society.