Aveda Institute New York Information Systems Discussion

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Aveda Institute New York


Week 7: Homework #1

Chapter 13- study questions 1-10, Exercise 1 (Information Systems for Business and Beyond)

Study Questions

Which countries are the biggest users of the Internet? Social media? Mobile?

Which country had the largest Internet growth (in %) in the last five years?

How will most people connect to the Internet in the future?

What are two different applications of wearable technologies?

What are two different applications of collaborative technologies?

What capabilities do printable technologies have?

How will advances in wireless technologies and sensors make objects ìfindableî?

What is enhanced situational awareness?

What is a nanobot?

What is a UAV?


If you were going to start a new technology business, which of the emerging trends do you think would be the biggest opportunity? Do some original research to estimate the market size.

The above assignments should be submitted in one-word document

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Information Technology and Organizational Learning Managing Behavioral Change in the Digital Age Third Edition Information Technology and Organizational Learning Managing Behavioral Change in the Digital Age Third Edition Arthur M. Langer CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group 6000 Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300 Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742 © 2018 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC CRC Press is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business No claim to original U.S. Government works Printed on acid-free paper International Standard Book Number-13: 978-1-4987-7575-5 (Paperback) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-1-138-23858-9 (Hardback) This book contains information obtained from authentic and highly regarded sources. Reasonable efforts have been made to publish reliable data and information, but the author and publisher cannot assume responsibility for the validity of all materials or the consequences of their use. The authors and publishers have attempted to trace the copyright holders of all material reproduced in this publication and apologize to copyright holders if permission to publish in this form has not been obtained. If any copyright material has not been acknowledged please write and let us know so we may rectify in any future reprint. Except as permitted under U.S. Copyright Law, no part of this book may be reprinted, reproduced, transmitted, or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publishers. For permission to photocopy or use material electronically from this work, please access www.copyright.com (http://www.copyright.com/) or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978-750-8400. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of users. For organizations that have been granted a photocopy license by the CCC, a separate system of payment has been arranged. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Visit the Taylor & Francis Web site at http://www.taylorandfrancis.com and the CRC Press Web site at http://www.crcpress.com Contents xi Fo re wo rd Acknowledgments xiii xv Author Introduction C h a p t e r 1 Th e “ R av e l l” C o r p o r at i o n Introduction A New Approach The Blueprint for Integration Enlisting Support  Assessing Progress Resistance in the Ranks Line Management to the Rescue IT Begins to Reflect Defining an Identity for Information Technology Implementing the Integration: A Move toward Trust and Reflection Key Lessons  Defining Reflection and Learning for an Organization  Working toward a Clear Goal  Commitment to Quality  Teaching Staff “Not to Know”  Transformation of Culture  Alignment with Administrative Departments Conclusion xvii 1 1 3 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 12 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 19 v vi C o n t en t s C h a p t e r 2 Th e IT D i l e m m a Introduction Recent Background IT in the Organizational Context IT and Organizational Structure The Role of IT in Business Strategy Ways of Evaluating IT Executive Knowledge and Management of IT IT: A View from the Top Section 1: Chief Executive Perception of the Role of IT Section 2: Management and Strategic Issues Section 3: Measuring IT Performance and Activities General Results Defining the IT Dilemma Recent Developments in Operational Excellence C h a p t e r 3 Te c h n o l o gy a s a Va r ia b l e O r g a n i z at i o n a l D y n a m i s m and 21 21 23 24 24 25 27 28 29 32 34 35 36 36 38 Responsive Introduction Technological Dynamism Responsive Organizational Dynamism Strategic Integration Summary Cultural Assimilation IT Organization Communications with “ Others”  Movement of Traditional IT Staff Summary Technology Business Cycle Feasibility Measurement Planning Implementation Evolution Drivers and Supporters Santander versus Citibank  Information Technology Roles and Responsibilities Replacement or Outsource C h a p t e r 4 O r g a n i z at i o n a l L e a r n i n g Th e o r i e s Te c h n o l o gy Introduction Learning Organizations Communities of Practice Learning Preferences and Experiential Learning Social Discourse and the Use of Language Identity Skills 41 41 41 42 43 48 48 49 49 51 52 53 53 54 55 57 58 60 60 61 and 63 63 72 75 83 89 91 92 vii C o n t en t s Emotion Linear Development in Learning Approaches 92 96 C h a p t e r 5 M a n a g i n g O r g a n i z at i o n a l L e a r n i n g Te c h n o l o gy and The Role of Line Management Line Managers First-Line Managers Supervisor Management Vectors Knowledge Management Ch ange Management  Change Management for IT Organizations Social Networks and Information Technology C h a p t e r 6 O r g a n i z at i o n a l Tr a n s f o r m at i o n Bal an ce d S c o recard and the Introduction Methods of Ongoing Evaluation Balanced Scorecards and Discourse Knowledge Creation, Culture, and Strategy C h a p t e r 7 V i r t ua l Te a m s and Outsourcing Introduction Status of Virtual Teams Management Considerations Dealing with Multiple Locations Externalization Internalization Combination Socialization Externalization Dynamism Internalization Dynamism Combination Dynamism Socialization Dynamism Dealing with Multiple Locations and Outsourcing Revisiting Social Discourse Identity Skills Emotion C h a p t e r 8 S y n e r g i s t i c U n i o n o f IT a n d O r g a n i z at i o n a l L e a r n i n g Introduction Siemens AG Aftermath ICAP 109 109 111 111 111 112 116 120 123 134 139 139 146 156 158 163 163 165 166 166 169 171 171 172 172 173 173 173 177 178 179 180 181 187 187 187 202 203 viii Chapter 9 C o n t en t s Five Years Later HTC IT History at HTC Interactions of the CEO The Process Transformation from the Transition Five Years Later Summary 224 225 226 227 228 229 231 233 Fo rmin g 239 239 239 241 241 242 a C y b e r S e c u r i t y C u lt u r e Introduction History Talking to the Board Establishing a Security Culture Understanding What It Means to be Compromised Cyber Security Dynamism and Responsive Organizational Dynamism Cyber Strategic Integration Cyber Cultural Assimilation Summary Organizational Learning and Application Development Cyber Security Risk Risk Responsibility Driver /Supporter Implications C h a p t e r 10 D i g i ta l Tr a n s f o r m at i o n C o n s u m e r B e h av i o r and Changes in Introduction Requirements without Users and without Input Concepts of the S-Curve and Digital Transformation Analysis and Design  Organizational Learning and the S-Curve Communities of Practice The IT Leader in the Digital Transformation Era How Technology Disrupts Firms and Industries Dynamism and Digital Disruption Critical Components of “ Digital” Organization  Assimilating Digital Technology Operationally and Culturally Conclusion C h a p t e r 11 I n t e g r at i n g G e n e r at i o n Y E m p l oy e e s A c c e l e r at e C o m p e t i t i v e A d va n ta g e 242 243 245 246 246 247 248 250 251 251 254 258 260 261 262 264 264 265 267 268 to Introduction The Employment Challenge in the Digital Era Gen Y Population Attributes Advantages of Employing Millennials to Support Digital Transformation Integration of Gen Y with Baby Boomers and Gen X 269 269 270 272 272 273 C o n t en t s Designing the Digital Enterprise Assimilating Gen Y Talent from Underserved and Socially Excluded Populations Langer Workforce Maturity Arc Theoretical Constructs of the LWMA The LWMA and Action Research Implications for New Pathways for Digital Talent Demographic Shifts in Talent Resources Economic Sustainability Integration and Trust Global Implications for Sources of Talent Conclusion C h a p t e r 12 To wa r d B e s t P r a c t i c e s Introduction Chief IT Executive Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in the Chief IT Executive Best Practices Arc Maturity Stages Performance Dimensions Chief Executive Officer CIO Direct Reporting to the CEO Outsourcing Centralization versus Decentralization of IT CIO Needs Advanced Degrees Need for Standards Risk Management The CEO Best Practices Technology Arc Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in the CEO Technology Best Practices Arc Maturity Stages Performance Dimensions Middle Management The Middle Management Best Practices Technology Arc Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in the Middle Manager Best Practices Arc Maturity Stages Performance Dimensions Summary Ethics and Maturity C h a p t e r 13 C o n c l u s i o n s Introduction G lo s sa ry References Index ix 274 276 277 278 281 282 282 283 283 284 284 287 287 288 297 297 298 299 305 306 306 307 307 307 313 314 314 315 316 323 325 325 326 327 333 339 339 357 363 373 Foreword Digital technologies are transforming the global economy. Increasingly, firms and other organizations are assessing their opportunities, developing and delivering products and services, and interacting with customers and other stakeholders digitally. Established companies recognize that digital technologies can help them operate their businesses with greater speed and lower costs and, in many cases, offer their customers opportunities to co-design and co-produce products and services. Many start-up companies use digital technologies to develop new products and business models that disrupt the present way of doing business, taking customers away from firms that cannot change and adapt. In recent years, digital technology and new business models have disrupted one industry after another, and these developments are rapidly transforming how people communicate, learn, and work. Against this backdrop, the third edition of Arthur Langer’ s Information Technology and Organizational Learning is most welcome. For decades, Langer has been studying how firms adapt to new or changing conditions by increasing their ability to incorporate and use advanced information technologies. Most organizations do not adopt new technology easily or readily. Organizational inertia and embedded legacy systems are powerful forces working against the adoption of new technology, even when the advantages of improved technology are recognized. Investing in new technology is costly, and it requires xi x ii F o re w o rd aligning technology with business strategies and transforming corporate cultures so that organization members use the technology to become more productive. Information Technology and Organizational Learning addresses these important issues— and much more. There are four features of the new edition that I would like to draw attention to that, I believe, make this a valuable book. First, Langer adopts a behavioral perspective rather than a technical perspective. Instead of simply offering normative advice about technology adoption, he shows how sound learning theory and principles can be used to incorporate technology into the organization. His discussion ranges across the dynamic learning organization, knowledge management, change management, communities of practice, and virtual teams. Second, he shows how an organization can move beyond technology alignment to true technology integration. Part of this process involves redefining the traditional support role of the IT department to a leadership role in which IT helps to drive business strategy through a technology-based learning organization. Third, the book contains case studies that make the material come alive. The book begins with a comprehensive real-life case that sets the stage for the issues to be resolved, and smaller case illustrations are sprinkled throughout the chapters, to make concepts and techniques easily understandable. Lastly, Langer has a wealth of experience that he brings to his book. He spent more than 25 years as an IT consultant and is the founder of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University, where he directs certificate and executive programs on various aspects of technology innovation and management. He has organized a vast professional network of technology executives whose companies serve as learning laboratories for his students and research. When you read the book, the knowledge and insight gained from these experiences is readily apparent. If you are an IT professional, Information Technology and Organi­ zational Learning should be required reading. However, anyone who is part of a firm or agency that wants to capitalize on the opportunities provided by digital technology will benefit from reading the book. Charles C. Snow Professor Emeritus, Penn State University Co-Editor, Journal of Organization Design Acknowledgments Many colleagues and clients have provided significant support during the development of the third edition of Information Technology and Organizational Learning. I owe much to my colleagues at Teachers College, namely, Professor Victoria Marsick and Lyle Yorks, who guided me on many of the theories on organizational learning, and Professor Lee Knefelkamp, for her ongoing mentorship on adult learning and developmental theories. Professor David Thomas from the Harvard Business School also provided valuable direction on the complex issues surrounding diversity, and its importance in workforce development. I appreciate the corporate executives who agreed to participate in the studies that allowed me to apply learning theories to actual organizational practices. Stephen McDermott from ICAP provided invaluable input on how chief executive officers (CEOs) can successfully learn to manage emerging technologies. Dana Deasy, now global chief information officer (CIO) of JP Morgan Chase, contributed enormous information on how corporate CIOs can integrate technology into business strategy. Lynn O’ Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Healthcare, also showed me how technology can produce direct monetary returns, especially when the CEO is actively involved. And, of course, thank you to my wonderful students at Columbia University. They continue to be at the core of my inspiration and love for writing, teaching, and scholarly research. x iii Author Arthur M. Langer, EdD, is professor of professional practice of management and the director of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University. He is the academic director of the Executive Masters of Science program in Technology Management, vice chair of faculty and executive advisor to the dean at the School of Professional Studies and is on the faculty of the Department of Organization and Leadership at the Graduate School of Education (Teachers College). He has also served as a member of the Columbia University Faculty Senate. Dr. Langer is the author of Guide to Software Development: Designing & Managing the Life Cycle. 2nd Edition (2016), Strategic IT: Best Practices for Managers and Executives (2013 with Lyle Yorks), Information Technology and Organizational Learning (2011), Analysis and Design of Information Systems (2007), Applied Ecommerce (2002), and The Art of Analysis (1997), and has numerous published articles and papers, relating to digital transformation, service learning for underserved populations, IT organizational integration, mentoring, and staff development. Dr. Langer consults with corporations and universities on information technology, cyber security, staff development, management transformation, and curriculum development around the Globe. Dr. Langer is also the chairman and founder of Workforce Opportunity Services (www.wforce.org), a non-profit social venture xv xvi Au t h o r that provides scholarships and careers to underserved populations around the world. Dr. Langer earned a BA in computer science, an MBA in accounting/finance, and a Doctorate of Education from Columbia University. Introduction Background Information technology (IT) has become a more significant part of workplace operations, and as a result, information systems personnel are key to the success of corporate enterprises, especially with the recent effects of the digital revolution on every aspect of business and social life (Bradley & Nolan, 1998; Langer, 1997, 2011; LipmanBlumen, 1996). This digital revolution is defined as a form of “ disruption.” Indeed, the big question facing many enterprises today is, How can executives anticipate the unexpected threats brought on by technological advances that could devastate their business? This book focuses on the vital role that information and digital technology organizations need to play in the course of organizational development and learning, and on the growing need to integrate technology fully into the processes of workplace organizational learning. Technology personnel have long been criticized for their inability to function as part of the business, and they are often seen as a group outside the corporate norm (Schein, 1992). This is a problem of cultural assimilation, and it represents one of the two major fronts that organizations now face in their efforts to gain a grip on the new, growing power of technology, and to be competitive in a global world. The other major x vii x viii In t r o d u c ti o n front concerns the strategic integration of new digital technologies into business line management. Because technology continues to change at such a rapid pace, the ability of organizations to operate within a new paradigm of dynamic change emphasizes the need to employ action learning as a way to build competitive learning organizations in the twenty-first century. Information Technology and Organizational Learning integrates some of the fundamental issues bearing on IT today with concepts from organizational learning theory, providing comprehensive guidance, based on real-life business experiences and concrete research. This book also focuses on another aspect of what IT can mean to an organization. IT represents a broadening dimension of business life that affects everything we do inside an organization. This new reality is shaped by the increasing and irreversible dissemination of technology. To maximize the usefulness of its encroaching presence in everyday business affairs, organizations will require an optimal understanding of how to integrate technology into everything they do. To this end, this book seeks to break new ground on how to approach and conceptualize this salient issue— that is, that the optimization of information and digital technologies is best pursued with a synchronous implementation of organizational learning concepts. Furthermore, these concepts cannot be implemented without utilizing theories of strategic learning. Therefore, this book takes the position that technology literacy requires individual and group strategic learning if it is to transform a business into a technology-based learning organization. Technologybased organizations are defined as those that have implemented a means of successfully integrating technology into their process of organizational learning. Such organizations recognize and experience the reality of technology as part of their everyday business function. It is what many organizations are calling “ being digital.” This book will also examine some of the many existing organizational learning theories, and the historical problems that have occurred with companies that have used them, or that have failed to use them. Thus, the introduction of technology into organizations actually provides an opportunity to reassess and reapply many of the past concepts, theories, and practices that have been used to support the importance of organizational learning. It is important, however, not to confuse this message with a reason for promoting organizational In t r o d u c ti o n xix learning, but rather, to understand the seamless nature of the relationship between IT and organizational learning. Each needs the other to succeed. Indeed, technology has only served to expose problems that have existed in organizations for decades, e.g., the inability to drive down responsibilities to the operational levels of the organization, and to be more agile with their consumers. This book is designed to help businesses and individual managers understand and cope with the many issues involved in developing organizational learning programs, and in integrating an important component: their IT and digital organizations. It aims to provide a combination of research case studies, together with existing theories on organizational learning in the workplace. The goal is also to provide researchers and corporate practitioners with a book that allows them to incorporate a growing IT infrastructure with their existing workforce culture. Professional organizations need to integrate IT into their organizational processes to compete effectively in the technology-driven business climate of today. This book responds to the complex and various dilemmas faced by many human resource managers and corporate executives regarding how to actually deal with many marginalized technology personnel who somehow always operate outside the normal flow of the core business. While the history of IT, as a marginalized organization, is relatively short, in comparison to that of other professions, the problems of IT have been consistent since its insertion into business organizations in the early 1960s. Indeed, while technology has changed, the position and valuation of IT have continued to challenge how executives manage it, account for it, and, most important, ultimately value its contributions to the organization. Technology personnel continue to be criticized for their inability to function as part of the business, and they are often seen as outside the business norm. IT employees are frequently stereotyped as “ techies,” and are segregated in such a way that they become isolated from the organization. This book provides a method for integrating IT, and redefining its role in organizations, especially as a partner in formulating and implementing key business strategies that are crucial for the survival of many companies in the new digital age. Rather than provide a long and extensive list of common issues, I have decided it best to uncover the challenges of IT integration and performance through the case study approach. xx In t r o d u c ti o n IT continues to be one of the most important yet least understood departments in an organization. It has also become one of the most significant components for competing in the global markets of today. IT is now an integral part of the way companies become successful, and is now being referred to as the digital arm of the business. This is true across all industries. The role of IT has grown enormously in companies throughout the world, and it has a mission to provide strategic solutions that can make companies more competitive. Indeed, the success of IT, and its ability to operate as part of the learning organization, can mean the difference between the success and failure of entire companies. However, IT must be careful that it is not seen as just a factory of support personnel, and does not lose its justification as driving competitive advantage. We see in many organizations that other digital-based departments are being created, due to frustration with the traditional IT culture, or because they simply do not see IT as meeting the current needs for operating in a digital economy. This book provides answers to other important questions that have challenged many organizations for decades. First, how can managers master emerging digital technologies, sustain a relationship with organizational learning, and link it to strategy and performance? Second, what is the process by which to determine the value of using technology, and how does it relate to traditional ways of calculating return on investment, and establishing risk models? Third, what are the cyber security implications of technology-based products and services? Fourth, what are the roles and responsibilities of the IT executive, and the department in general? To answer these questions, managers need to focus on the following objectives: • Address the operational weaknesses in organizations, in terms of how to deal with new technologies, and how to better realize business benefits. • Provide a mechanism that both enables organizations to deal with accelerated change caused by technological innovations, and integrates them into a new cycle of processing, and handling of change. • Provide a strategic learning framework, by which every new technology variable adds to organizational knowledge and can develop a risk and security culture. In t r o d u c ti o n xxi • Establish an integrated approach that ties technology accountability to other measurable outcomes, using organizational learning techniques and theories. To realize these objectives, organizations must be able to • create dynamic internal processes that can deal, on a daily basis, with understanding the potential fit of new technologies and their overall value within the structure of the business; • provide the discourse to bridge the gaps between IT- and nonIT-related investments, and uses, into one integrated system; • monitor investments and determine modifications to the life cycle; • implement various organizational learning practices, including learning organization, knowledge management, change management, and communities of practice, all of which help foster strategic thinking, and learning, and can be linked to performance (Gephardt & Marsick, 2003). The strengths of this book are that it integrates theory and practice and provides answers to the four common questions mentioned. Many of the answers provided in these pages are founded on theory and research and are supported by practical experience. Thus, evidence of the performance of the theories is presented via case studies, which are designed to assist the readers in determining how such theories and proven practices can be applied to their specific organization. A common theme in this book involves three important terms: dynamic , unpredictable , and acceleration . Dynamic is a term that represents spontaneous and vibrant things— a motive force. Technology behaves with such a force and requires organizations to deal with its capabilities. Glasmeier (1997) postulates that technology evolution, innovation, and change are dynamic processes. The force then is technology, and it carries many motives, as we shall see throughout this book. Unpredictable suggests that we cannot plan what will happen or will be needed. Many organizational individuals, including executives, have attempted to predict when, how, or why technology will affect their organization. Throughout our recent history, especially during the “ digital disruption” era, we have found that it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict how technology will ultimately benefit or x x ii In t r o d u c ti o n hurt organizational growth and competitive advantage. I believe that technology is volatile and erratic at times. Indeed, harnessing technology is not at all an exact science; certainly not in the ways in which it can and should be used in today’ s modern organization. Finally, I use the term acceleration to convey the way technology is speeding up our lives. Not only have emerging technologies created this unpredictable environment of change, but they also continue to change it rapidly— even from the demise of the dot-com era decades ago. Thus, what becomes important is the need to respond quickly to technology. The inability to be responsive to change brought about by technological innovations can result in significant competitive disadvantages for organizations. This new edition shows why this is a fact especially when examining the shrinking S-Curve. So, we look at these three words— dynamic, unpredictable, and acceleration— as a way to define how technology affects organizations; that is, technology is an accelerating motive force that occurs irregularly. These words name the challenges that organizations need to address if they are to manage technological innovations and integrate them with business strategy and competitive advantage. It only makes sense that the challenge of integrating technology into business requires us first to understand its potential impact, determine how it occurs, and see what is likely to follow. There are no quick remedies to dealing with emerging technologies, just common practices and sustained processes that must be adopted for organizations to survive in the future. I had four goals in mind in writing this book. First, I am interested in writing about the challenges of using digital technologies strategically. What particularly concerns me is the lack of literature that truly addresses this issue. What is also troublesome is the lack of reliable techniques for the evaluation of IT, especially since IT is used in almost every aspect of business life. So, as we increase our use and dependency on technology, we seem to understand less about how to measure and validate its outcomes. I also want to convey my thoughts about the importance of embracing nonmonetary methods for evaluating technology, particularly as they relate to determining return on investment. Indeed, indirect and nonmonetary benefits need to be part of the process of assessing and approving IT projects. In t r o d u c ti o n x x iii Second, I want to apply organizational learning theory to the field of IT and use proven learning models to help transform IT staff into becoming better members of their organizations. Everyone seems to know about the inability of IT people to integrate with other departments, yet no one has really created a solution to the problem. I find that organizational learning techniques are an effective way of coaching IT staff to operate more consistently with the goals of the businesses that they support. Third, I want to present cogent theories about IT and organizational learning; theories that establish new ways for organizations to adapt new technologies. I want to share my experiences and those of other professionals who have found approaches that can provide positive outcomes from technology investments. Fourth, I have decided to express my concerns about the validity and reliability of organizational learning theories and practices as they apply to the field of IT. I find that most of these models need to be enhanced to better fit the unique aspects of the digital age. These modified models enable the original learning techniques to address IT-specific issues. In this way, the organization can develop a more holistic approach toward a common goal for using technology. Certainly, the balance of how technology ties in with strategy is essential. However, there has been much debate over whether technology should drive business strategy or vice versa. We will find that the answer to this is “ yes.” Yes, in the sense that technology can affect the way organizations determine their missions and business strategies; but “ no” in that technology should not be the only component for determining mission and strategy. Many managers have realized that business is still business, meaning that technology is not a “ silver bullet.” The challenge, then, is to determine how best to fit technology into the process of creating and supporting business strategy. Few would doubt today that technology is, indeed, the most significant variable affecting business strategy. However, the most viable approach is to incorporate technology into the process of determining business strategy. I have found that many businesses still formulate their strategies first, and then look at technology, as a means to efficiently implement objectives and goals. Executives need to better understand the unique and important role that technology provides us; it can drive business strategy, and support it, at the same time. x xiv In t r o d u c ti o n Managers should not solely focus their attention on generating breakthrough innovations that will create spectacular results. Most good uses of technology are much subtler, and longer-lasting. For this reason, this book discusses and defines new technology life cycles that blend business strategy and strategic learning. Building on this theme, I introduce the idea of responsive organizational dynamism as the core theory of this book. Responsive organizational dynamism defines an environment that can respond to the three important terms (dynamic, unpredictable, and acceleration). Indeed, technology requires organizations that can sustain a system, in which individuals can deal with dynamic, unpredictable, and accelerated change, as part of their regular process of production. The basis of this concept is that organizations must create and sustain such an environment to be competitive in a global technologically-driven economy. I further analyze responsive organizational dynamism in its two subcomponents: strategic integration and cultural assimilation, which address how technology needs to be measured as it relates to business strategy, and what related social– structural changes are needed, respectively. Change is an important principle of this book. I talk about the importance of how to change, how to manage such change, and why emerging technologies are a significant agent of change. I support the need for change, as an opportunity to use many of the learning theories that have been historically difficult to implement. That is, implementing change brought on by technological innovation is an opportunity to make the organization more “ change ready” or, as we define it today, more “ agile.” However, we also know that little is known about how organizations should actually go about modifying existing processes to adapt to new technologies and become digital entities— and to be accustomed to doing this regularly. Managing through such periods of change requires that we develop a model that can deal with dynamic, unpredictable, and accelerated change. This is what responsive organizational dynamism is designed to do. We know that over 20% of IT projects still fail to be completed. Another 54% fail to meet their projected completion date. We now sit at the forefront of another technological spurt of innovations that will necessitate major renovations to existing legacy systems, requiring that they be linked to sophisticated e-business systems. These e-business systems will continue to utilize the Internet, and emerging mobile In t r o d u c ti o n xxv technologies. While we tend to focus primarily on what technology generically does, organizations need urgently to prepare themselves for the next generation of advances, by forming structures that can deal with continued, accelerated change, as the norm of daily operations. For this edition, I have added new sections and chapters that address the digital transformation, ways of dealing with changing consumer behavior, the need to form evolving cyber security cultures, and the importance of integrating Gen Y employees to accelerate competitive advantage. This book provides answers to a number of dilemmas but ultimately offers an imbricate cure for the problem of latency in performance and quality afflicting many technologically-based projects. Traditionally, management has attempted to improve IT performance by increasing technical skills and project manager expertise through new processes. While there has been an effort to educate IT managers to become more interested and participative in business issues, their involvement continues to be based more on service than on strategy. Yet, at the heart of the issue is the entirety of the organization. It is my belief that many of the programmatic efforts conducted in traditional ways and attempting to mature and integrate IT with the rest of the organization will continue to deliver disappointing results. My personal experience goes well beyond research; it draws from living and breathing the IT experience for the past 35 years, and from an understanding of the dynamics of what occurs inside and outside the IT department in most organizations. With such experience, I can offer a path that engages the participation of the entire management team and operations staff of the organization. While my vision for this kind of digital transformation is different from other approaches, it is consistent with organizational learning theories that promote the integration of individuals, communities, and senior management to participate in more democratic and visionary forms of thinking, reflection, and learning. It is my belief that many of the dilemmas presented by IT have existed in other parts of organizations for years, and that the Internet revolution only served to expose them. If we believe this to be true, then we must begin the process of integrating technology into strategic thinking and stop depending on IT to provide magical answers, and inappropriate expectations of performance. x xvi In t r o d u c ti o n Technology is not the responsibility of any one person or department; rather, it is part of the responsibility of every employee. Thus, the challenge is to allow organizations to understand how to modify their processes, and the roles and responsibilities of their employees, to incorporate digital technologies as part of normal workplace activities. Technology then becomes more a subject and a component of discourse. IT staff members need to emerge as specialists who participate in decision making, development, and sustained support of business evolution. There are also technology-based topics that do not require the typical expertise that IT personnel provide. This is a literacy issue that requires different ways of thinking and learning during the everyday part of operations. For example, using desktop tools, communicating via e-mail, and saving files and data, are integral to everyday operations. These activities affect projects, yet they are not really part of the responsibilities of IT departments. Given the knowledge that technology is everywhere, we must change the approach that we take to be successful. Another way of looking at this phenomenon is to define technology more as a commodity, readily available to all individuals. This means that the notion of technology as organizationally segregated into separate cubes of expertise is problematic, particularly on a global front. Thus, the overall aim of this book is to promote organizational learning that disseminates the uses of technology throughout a business, so that IT departments are a partner in its use, as opposed to being its sole owner. The cure to IT project failure, then, is to engage the business in technology decisions in such a way that individuals and business units are fundamentally involved in the process. Such processes need to be designed to dynamically respond to technology opportunities and thus should not be overly bureaucratic. There is a balance between establishing organizations that can readily deal with technology versus those that become too complex and inefficient. This balance can only be attained using organizational learning techniques as the method to grow and reach technology maturation. Overview of the Chapters Chapter 1 provides an important case study of the Ravell Corporation (a pseudonym), where I was retained for over five years. During this In t r o d u c ti o n x x vii period, I applied numerous organizational learning methods toward the integration of the IT department with the rest of the organization. The chapter allows readers to understand how the theories of organizational learning can be applied in actual practice, and how those theories are particularly beneficial to the IT community. The chapter also shows the practical side of how learning techniques can be linked to measurable outcomes, and ultimately related to business strategy. This concept will become the basis of integrating learning with strategy (i.e., “ strategic learning” ). The Ravell case study also sets the tone of what I call the IT dilemma, which represents the core problem faced by organizations today. Furthermore, the Ravell case study becomes the cornerstone example throughout the book and is used to relate many of the theories of learning and their practical applicability in organizations. The Ravell case has also been updated in this second edition to include recent results that support the importance of alignment with the human resources department. Chapter 2 presents the details of the IT dilemma. This chapter addresses issues such as isolation of IT staff, which results in their marginalization from the rest of the organization. I explain that while executives want technology to be an important part of business strategy, few understand how to accomplish it. In general, I show that individuals have a lack of knowledge about how technology and business strategy can, and should, be linked, to form common business objectives. The chapter provides the results of a three-year study of how chief executives link the role of technology with business strategy. The study captures information relating to how chief executives perceive the role of IT, how they manage it, and use it strategically, and the way they measure IT performance and activities. Chapter 3 focuses on defining how organizations need to respond to the challenges posed by technology. I analyze technological dynamism in its core components so that readers understand the different facets that comprise its many applications. I begin by presenting technology as a dynamic variable that is capable of affecting organizations in a unique way. I specifically emphasize the unpredictability of technology, and its capacity to accelerate change— ultimately concluding that technology, as an independent variable, has a dynamic effect on organizational development. This chapter also introduces my theory of responsive organizational dynamism, defined as a disposition in x x viii In t r o d u c ti o n organizational behavior that can respond to the demands of technology as a dynamic variable. I establish two core components of responsive organizational dynamism: strategic integration and cultural assimilation . Each of these components is designed to tackle a specific problem introduced by technology. Strategic integration addresses the way in which organizations determine how to use technology as part of business strategy. Cultural assimilation, on the other hand, seeks to answer how the organization, both structurally and culturally, will accommodate the actual human resources of an IT staff and department within the process of implementing new technologies. Thus, strategic integration will require organizational changes in terms of cultural assimilation. The chapter also provides a perspective of the technology life cycle so that readers can see how responsive organizational dynamism is applied, on an IT project basis. Finally, I define the driver and supporter functions of IT and how these contribute to managing technology life cycles. Chapter 4 introduces theories on organizational learning, and applies them specifically to responsive organizational dynamism. I emphasize that organizational learning must result in individual, and organizational transformation, that leads to measurable performance outcomes. The chapter defines a number of organizational learning theories, such as reflective practices, learning organization, communities of practice, learning preferences and experiential learning, social discourse, and the use of language. These techniques and approaches to promoting organizational learning are then configured into various models that can be used to assess individual and organizational development. Two important models are designed to be used in responsive organizational dynamism: the applied individual learning wheel and the technology maturity arc. These models lay the foundation for my position that learning maturation involves a steady linear progression from an individual focus toward a system or organizational perspective. The chapter also addresses implementation issues— political challenges that can get in the way of successful application of the learning theories. Chapter 5 explores the role of management in creating and sustaining responsive organizational dynamism. I define the tiers of middle management in relation to various theories of management participation in organizational learning. The complex issues of whether In t r o d u c ti o n xxix organizational learning needs to be managed from the top down, bottom up, or middle-top-down are discussed and applied to a model that operates in responsive organizational dynamism. This chapter takes into account the common three-tier structure in which most organizations operate: executive, middle, and operations. The executive level includes the chief executive officer (CEO), president, and senior vice presidents. The middle is the most complex, ranging from vice president/director to supervisory roles. Operations covers what is commonly known as “ staff,” including clerical functions. The knowledge that I convey suggests that all of these tiers need to participate in management, including operations personnel, via a self-development model. The chapter also presents the notion that knowledge management is necessary to optimize competitive advantage, particularly as it involves transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. I view the existing theories on knowledge management, create a hybrid model that embraces technology issues, and map them to responsive organizational dynamism. Discussions on change management are included as a method of addressing the unique ways that technology affects product development. Essentially, I tie together responsive organizational dynamism with organizational change theory, by offering modifications to generally accepted theories. There is also a specific model created for IT organizations, that maps onto organizational-level concepts. Although I have used technology as the basis for the need for responsive organizational dynamism, I show that the needs for its existence can be attributed to any variable that requires dynamic change. As such, I suggest that readers begin to think about the next “ technology” or variable that can cause the same needs to occur inside organizations. The chapter has been extended to address the impact of social networking and the leadership opportunities it provides to technology executives. Chapter 6 examines how organizational transformation occurs. The primary focus of the chapter is to integrate transformation theory with responsive organizational dynamism. The position taken is that organizational learning techniques must inevitably result in organizational transformation. Discussions on transformation are often addressed at organizational level, as opposed to focusing on individual development. As in other sections of the book, I extend a number of theories so that they can operate under the auspices of responsive xxx In t r o d u c ti o n organizational dynamism, specifically, the works of Yorks and Marsick (2000) and Aldrich (2001). I expand organizational transformation to include ongoing assessment within technology deliverables. This is accomplished through the use of a modified Balanced Scorecard originally developed by Kaplan and Norton (2001). The Balanced Scorecard becomes the vehicle for establishing a strategy-focused and technology-based organization. Chapter 7 deals with the many business transformation projects that require outsource arrangements and virtual team management. This chapter provides an understanding of when and how to consider outsourcing and the intricacies of considerations once operating with virtual teams. I cover such issues as management considerations and the challenges of dealing in multiple locations. The chapter extends the models discussed in previous chapters so that they can be aligned with operating in a virtual team environment. Specifically, this includes communities of practice, social discourse, self-development, knowledge management, and, of course, responsive organizational dynamism and its corresponding maturity arcs. Furthermore, I expand the conversation to include IT and non-IT personnel, and the arguments for the further support needed to integrate all functions across the organization. Chapter 8 presents updated case studies that demonstrate how my organizational learning techniques are actually applied in practice. Three case studies are presented: Siemens AG, ICAP, and HTC. Siemens AG is a diverse international company with 20 discrete businesses in over 190 countries. The case study offers a perspective of how a corporate chief information officer (CIO) introduced e-­business strategy. ICAP is a leading international money and security broker. This case study follows the activities of the electronic trading community (ETC) entity, and how the CEO transformed the organization and used organizational learning methods to improve competitive advantage. HTC (a pseudonym) provides an example of why the chief IT executive should report to the CEO, and how a CEO can champion specific projects to help transform organizational norms and behaviors. This case study also maps the transformation of the company to actual examples of strategic advantage. Chapter 9 focuses on the challenges of forming a “ cyber security” culture. The growing challenges of protecting companies from outside In t r o d u c ti o n xxxi attacks have established the need to create a cyber security culture. This chapter addresses the ways in which information technology organizations must further integrate with business operations, so that their firms are better equipped to protect against outside threats. Since the general consensus is that no system can be 100% protected, and that most system compromises occur as a result of internal exposures, information technology leaders must educate employees on best practices to limit cyberattacks. Furthermore, while prevention is the objective, organizations must be internally prepared to deal with attacks and thus have processes in place should a system become penetrated by third-party agents. Chapter 10 explores the effects of the digital global economy on the ways in which organizations need to respond to the consumerization of products and services. From this perspective, digital transformation involves a type of social reengineering that affects the ways in which organizations communicate internally, and how they consider restructuring departments. Digital transformation also affects the risks that organizations must take in what has become an accelerated changing consumer market. Chapter 11 provides conclusions and focuses on Gen Y employees who are known as “ digital natives” and represent the new supply chain of talent. Gen Y employees possess the attributes to assist companies to transform their workforce to meet the accelerated change in the competitive landscape. Most executives across industries recognize that digital technologies are the most powerful variable to maintaining and expanding company markets. Gen Y employees provide a natural fit for dealing with emerging digital technologies. However, success with integrating Gen Y employees is contingent upon Baby Boomer and Gen X management adopting new leadership philosophies and procedures suited to meet the expectations and needs of these new workers. Ignoring the unique needs of Gen Y employees will likely result in an incongruent organization that suffers high turnover of young employees who will ultimately seek a more entrepreneurial environment. Chapter 12 seeks to define best practices to implement and sustain responsive organizational dynamism. The chapter sets forth a model that creates separate, yet linked, best practices and maturity arcs that can be used to assess stages of the learning development x x x ii In t r o d u c ti o n of the chief IT executive, the CEO, and the middle management. I discuss the concept of common threads , by which each best practices arc links through common objectives and outcomes to the responsive organizational dynamism maturity arc presented in Chapter 4. Thus, these arcs represent an integrated and hierarchical view of how each component of the organization contributes to overall best practices. A new section has been added that links ethics to technology leadership and maturity. Chapter 13 summarizes the many aspects of how IT and organizational learning operate together to support the responsive organizational dynamism environment. The chapter emphasizes the specific key themes developed in the book, such as evolution versus revolution; control and empowerment; driver and supporter operations; and responsive organizational dynamism and self-generating organizations. Finally, I provide an overarching framework for “ organizing” reflection and integrate it with the best practices arcs. As a final note, I need to clarify my use of the words information technology, digital technology, and technology. In many parts of the book, they are used interchangeably, although there is a defined difference. Of course, not all technology is related to information or digital; some is based on machinery or the like. For the purposes of this book, the reader should assume that IT and digital technology are the primary variables that I am addressing. However, the theories and processes that I offer can be scaled to all types of technological innovation. 1 The “R av ell” C o rp or ation Introduction Launching into an explanation of information technology (IT), organizational learning, and the practical relationship into which I propose to bring them is a challenging topic to undertake. I choose, therefore, to begin this discussion by presenting an actual case study that exemplifies many key issues pertaining to organizational learning, and how it can be used to improve the performance of an IT department. Specifically, this chapter summarizes a case study of the IT department at the Ravell Corporation (a pseudonym) in New York City. I was retained as a consultant at the company to improve the performance of the department and to solve a mounting political problem involving IT and its relation to other departments. The case offers an example of how the growth of a company as a “learning ­organization”—one in which employees are constantly learning during the normal workday (Argyris, 1993; Watkins & Marsick, 1993)—­utilized reflective practices to help it achieve the practical strategic goals it sought. Individuals in learning organizations integrate processes of learning into their work. Therefore, a learning organization must advocate a system that allows its employees to interact, ask questions, and provide insight to the business. The learning organization will ultimately promote systematic thinking, and the building of organizational memory (Watkins & Marsick, 1993). A learning organization (discussed more fully in Chapter 4) is a component of the larger topic of organizational learning. The Ravell Corporation is a firm with over 500 employees who, over the years, had become dependent on the use of technology to run its business. Its IT department, like that of many other companies, was isolated from the rest of the business and was regarded as a peripheral entity whose purpose was simply to provide technical support. This was accompanied by actual physical isolation—IT was 1 2 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY placed in a contained and secure location away from mainstream operations. As a result, IT staff rarely engaged in active discourse with other staff members unless specific meetings were called relating to a particular project. The Ravell IT department, therefore, was not part of the community of organizational learning—it did not have the opportunity to learn along with the rest of the organization, and it was never asked to provide guidance in matters of general relevance to the business as a whole. This marginalized status resulted in an us-versus-them attitude on the part of IT and non-IT personnel alike. Much has been written about the negative impact of marginalization on individuals who are part of communities. Schlossberg (1989) researched adults in various settings and how marginalization affected their work and self-efficacy. Her theory on marginalization and mattering is applied to this case study because of its relevance and similarity to her prior research. For example, IT represents similar characteristics to a separate group on a college campus or in a workplace environment. Its physical isolation can also be related to how marginalized groups move away from the majority population and function without contact. The IT director, in particular, had cultivated an adversarial relationship with his peers. The director had shaped a department that fueled his view of separation. This had the effect of further marginalizing the position of IT within the organization. Hand in hand with this form of separatism came a sense of actual dislike on the part of IT personnel for other employees. IT staff members were quick to point fingers at others and were often noncommunicative with members of other departments within the organization. As a result of this kind of behavior, many departments lost confidence in the ability of IT to provide support; indeed, the quality of support that IT furnished had begun to deteriorate. Many departments at Ravell began to hire their own IT support personnel and were determined to create their own information systems subdepartments. This situation eventually became unacceptable to management, and the IT director was terminated. An initiative was begun to refocus the department and its position within the organization. I was retained to bring about this change and to act as the IT director until a structural transformation of the department was complete. T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 3 A New Approach My mandate at Ravell was initially unclear—I was to “fix” the ­problem; the specific solution was left up to me to design and implement. My goal became one of finding a way to integrate IT fully into the organizational culture at Ravell. Without such integration, IT would remain isolated, and no amount of “fixing” around this issue would address the persistence of what was, as well, a cultural problem. Unless IT became a true part of the organization as a whole, the entire IT staff could be replaced without any real change having occurred from the organization’s perspective. That is, just replacing the entire IT staff was an acceptable solution to senior management. The fact that this was acceptable suggested to me that the knowledge and value contained in the IT department did not exist or was misunderstood by the senior management of the firm. In my opinion, just eliminating a marginalized group was not a solution because I expected that such knowledge and value did exist, and that it needed to be investigated properly. Thus, I rejected management’s option and began to formulate a plan to better understand the contributions that could be made by the IT department. The challenge was threefold: to improve the work quality of the IT department (a matter of performance), to help the department begin to feel itself a part of the organization as a whole and vice versa (a matter of cultural assimilation), and to persuade the rest of the organization to accept the IT staff as equals who could contribute to the overall direction and growth of the organization (a fundamental matter of strategic integration). My first step was to gather information. On my assignment to the position of IT director, I quickly arranged a meeting with the IT department to determine the status and attitudes of its personnel. The IT staff meeting included the chief financial officer (CFO), to whom IT reported. At this meeting, I explained the reasons behind the changes occurring in IT management. Few questions were asked; as a result, I immediately began scheduling individual meetings with each of the IT employees. These employees varied in terms of their position within the corporate hierarchy, in terms of salary, and in terms of technical expertise. The purpose of the private meetings was to allow IT staff members to speak openly, and to enable me to hear their concerns. I drew on the principles of action science, pioneered 4 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY by Argyris and Schö n (1996), designed to promote individual selfreflection regarding behavior patterns, and to encourage a productive exchange among individuals. Action science encompasses a range of methods to help individuals learn how to be reflective about their actions. By reflecting, individuals can better understand the outcomes of their actions and, especially, how they are seen by others. This was an important approach because I felt learning had to start at the individual level as opposed to attempting group learning activities. It was my hope that the discussions I orchestrated would lead the IT staff to a better understanding than they had previously shown, not only of the learning process itself, but also of the significance of that process. I pursued these objectives by guiding them to detect problem areas in their work and to undertake a joint effort to correct them (Argyris, 1993; Arnett, 1992). Important components of reflective learning are single-loop and double-loop learning. Single-loop learning requires individuals to reflect on a prior action or habit that needs to be changed in the future but does not require individuals to change their operational procedures with regard to values and norms. Double-loop learning, on the other hand, does require both change in behavior and change in operational procedures. For example, people who engage in double-loop learning may need to adjust how they perform their job, as opposed to just the way they communicate with others, or, as Argyris and Schö n (1996, p. 22) state, “the correction of error requires inquiry through which organizational values and norms themselves are modified.” Despite my efforts and intentions, not all of the exchanges were destined to be successful. Many of the IT staff members felt that the IT director had been forced out, and that there was consequently no support for the IT function in the organization. There was also clear evidence of internal political division within the IT department; members openly criticized each other. Still other interviews resulted in little communication. This initial response from IT staff was disappointing, and I must admit I began to doubt whether these learning methods would be an antidote for the department. Replacing people began to seem more attractive, and I now understood why many managers prefer to replace staff, as opposed to investing in their transformation. However, I also knew that learning is a gradual process and that it would take time and trust to see results. T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 5 I realized that the task ahead called for nothing short of a total cultural transformation of the IT organization at Ravell. Members of the IT staff had to become flexible and open if they were to become more trusting of one another and more reflective as a group (Garvin, 2000; Schein, 1992). Furthermore, they had to have an awareness of their history, and they had to be willing to institute a vision of partnering with the user community. An important part of the process for me was to accept the fact that the IT staff were not habitually inclined to be reflective. My goal then was to create an environment that would foster reflective learning, which would in turn enable a change in individual and organizational values and norms (Senge, 1990). The Blueprint for Integration Based on information drawn from the interviews, I developed a preliminary plan to begin to integrate IT into the day-to-day operations at Ravell, and to bring IT personnel into regular contact with other staff members. According to Senge (1990), the most productive learning occurs when skills are combined in the activities of advocacy and inquiry. My hope was to encourage both among the staff at Ravell. The plan for integration and assimilation involved assigning IT resources to each department; that is, following the logic of the self-dissemination of technology, each department would have its own dedicated IT person to support it. However, just assigning a person was not enough, so I added the commitment to actually relocate an IT person into each physical area. This way, rather than clustering together in an area of their own, IT people would be embedded throughout the organization, getting first-hand exposure to what other departments did, and learning how to make an immediate contribution to the productivity of these departments. The on-site IT person in each department would have the opportunity to observe problems when they arose— and hence, to seek ways to prevent them—and, significantly, to share in the sense of accomplishment when things went well. To reinforce their commitment to their respective areas, I specified that IT personnel were to report not only to me but also to the line manager in their respective departments. In addition, these line managers were to have input on the evaluation of IT staff. I saw that making IT staff officially accountable to the departments they worked with was a tangible 6 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY way to raise their level of commitment to the organization. I hoped that putting line managers in a supervisory position, would help build a sense of teamwork between IT and non-IT personnel. Ultimately, the focus of this approach was to foster the creation of a tolerant and supportive cultural climate for IT within the various departments; an important corollary goal here was also to allow reflective reviews of performance to flourish (Garvin, 1993). Enlisting Support Support for this plan had to be mustered quickly if I was to create an environment of trust. I had to reestablish the need for the IT function within the company, show that it was critical for the company’s business operations, and show that its integration posed a unique challenge to the company. However, it was not enough just for me to claim this. I also had to enlist key managers to claim it. Indeed, employees will cooperate only if they believe that self-assessment and critical thinking are valued by management (Garvin, 2000). I decided to embark on a process of arranging meetings with specific line managers in the organization. I selected individuals who would represent the day-to-day management of the key departments. If I could get their commitment to work with IT, I felt it could provide the stimulus we needed. Some line managers were initially suspicious of the effort because of their prior experiences with IT. However, they generally liked the idea of integration and assimilation that was presented to them, and agreed to support it, at least on a trial basis. Predictably, the IT staff were less enthusiastic about the idea. Many of them felt threatened, fearing that they were about to lose their independence or lose the mutual support that comes from being in a cohesive group. I had hoped that holding a series of meetings would help me gain support for the restructuring concept. I had to be careful to ensure that the staff members would feel that they also had an opportunity to develop a plan, that they were confident would work. During a number of group sessions, we discussed various scenarios of how such a plan might work. I emphasized the concepts of integration and assimilation, and that a program of their implementation would be experimental. Without realizing it, I had engaged IT staff members in a process of self-governance. Thus, I empowered them T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 7 to feel comfortable with voicing new ideas, without being concerned that they might be openly criticized by me if I did not agree. This process also encouraged individuals to begin thinking more as a group. Indeed, by directing the practice of constructive criticism among the IT staff, I had hoped to elicit a higher degree of reflective action among the group and to show them that they had the ability to learn from one another as well as the ability to design their own roles in the organization (Argyris, 1993). Their acceptance of physical integration and, hence, cultural assimilation became a necessary condition for the ability of the IT group, to engage in greater reflective behavior (Argyris & Schö n, 1996). Assessing Progress The next issue concerned individual feedback. How was I to let each person know how he or she was doing? I decided first, to get feedback from the larger organizational community. This was accomplished by meeting with the line managers and obtaining whatever feedback was available from them. I was surprised at the large quantity of information they were willing to offer. The line managers were not shy about participating, and their input allowed me to complete two objectives: (1) to understand how the IT staff was being perceived in its new assignment and (2) to create a social and reflective relationship between IT individuals and the line managers. The latter objective was significant, for if we were to be successful, the line managers would have to assist us in the effort to integrate and assimilate IT functions within their community. After the discussions with managers were completed, individual meetings were held with each IT staff member to discuss the feedback. I chose not to attribute the feedback to specific line managers but rather to address particular issues by conveying the general consensus about them. Mixed feelings were also disclosed by the IT staff. After conveying the information, I listened attentively to the responses of IT staff members. Not surprisingly, many of them responded to the feedback negatively and defensively. Some, for example, felt that many technology users were unreasonable in their expectations of IT. It was important for me as facilitator not to find blame among them, particularly if I was to be a participant in the learning organization (Argyris & Schön, 1996). 8 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY Resistance in the Ranks Any major organizational transformation is bound to elicit resistance from some employees. The initiative at Ravell proved to be no exception. Employees are not always sincere, and some individuals will engage in political behavior that can be detrimental to any organizational learning effort. Simply put, they are not interested in participating, or, as Marsick (1998) states, “It would be naï ve to expect that everyone is willing to play on an even field (i.e., fairly).” Early in the process, the IT department became concerned that its members spent much of their time trying to figure out how best to position themselves for the future instead of attending to matters at hand. I heard from other employees that the IT staff felt that they would live through my tenure; that is, just survive until a permanent IT director was hired. It became difficult at times to elicit the truth from some members of the IT staff. These individuals would skirt around issues and deny making statements that were reported by other employees rather than confront problems head on. Some IT staff members would criticize me in front of other groups and use the criticism as proof that the plan for a general integration was bound to fail. I realized in a most tangible sense that pursuing change through reflective practice does not come without resistance, and that this resistance needs to be factored into the planning of any such organizationally transformative initiative. Line Management to the Rescue At the time that we were still working through the resistance within IT, the plan to establish a relationship with line management began to work. A number of events occurred that allowed me to be directly involved in helping certain groups solve their IT problems. Word spread quickly that there was a new direction in IT that could be trusted. Line management support is critical for success in such transformational situations. First, line management is typically comprised of people from the ranks of supervisors and middle managers, who are responsible for the daily operations of their department. Assuming they do their jobs, senior management will cater to their needs and listen to their feedback. The line management of any organization, necessarily engaged to some degree in the process of learning T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 9 (a “learning organization”), is key to its staff. Specifically, line managers are responsible for operations personnel; at the same time, they must answer to senior management. Thus, they understand both executive and operations perspectives of the business (Garvin, 2000). They are often former staff members themselves and usually have a high level of technical knowledge. Upper management, while important for financial support, has little effect at the day-to-day level, yet this is the level at which the critical work of integration and the building of a single learning community must be done. Interestingly, the line management organization had previously had no shortage of IT-related problems. Many of these line managers had been committed to developing their own IT staffs; however, they quickly realized that the exercise was beyond their expertise, and that they needed guidance and leadership. Their participation in IT staff meetings had begun to foster a new trust in the IT department, and they began to see the possibilities of working closely with IT to solve their problems. Their support began to turn toward what Watkins and Marsick (1993, p. 117) call “creating alignment by placing the vision in the hands of autonomous, cross-functional synergetic teams.” The combination of IT and non-IT teams began to foster a synergy among the communities, which established new ideas about how best to use technology. IT Begins to Reflect Although it was initially difficult for some staff members to accept, they soon realized that providing feedback opened the door to the process of self-reflection within IT. We undertook a number of exercises, to help IT personnel understand how non-IT personnel perceived them, and how their own behavior may have contributed to these perceptions. To foster self-reflection, I adopted a technique developed by Argyris called “the left-hand column.” In this technique, individuals use the right-hand column of a piece of paper to transcribe dialogues that they felt had not resulted in effective communication. In the left-hand column of the same page, participants are to write what they were really thinking at the time of the dialogue but did not say. This exercise is designed to reveal underlying assumptions that speakers may not be aware of during their exchanges and that may be 10 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY impeding their communication with others by giving others a wrong impression. The exercise was extremely useful in helping IT personnel understand how others in the organization perceived them. Most important, the development of reflective skills, according to Schö n (1983), starts with an individual’s ability to recognize “leaps of abstraction”—the unconscious and often inaccurate generalizations people make about others based on incomplete information. In the case of Ravell, such generalizations were deeply entrenched among its various personnel sectors. Managers tended to assume that IT staffers were “just techies,” and that they therefore held fundamentally different values and had little interest in the organization as a whole. For their part, the IT personnel were quick to assume that non-IT people did not understand or appreciate the work they did. Exposing these “leaps of abstraction” was key to removing the roadblocks that prevented Ravell from functioning as an integrated learning organization. Defining an Identity for Information Technology It was now time to start the process of publicly defining the identity of IT. Who were we, and what was our purpose? Prior to this time, IT had no explicit mission. Instead, its members had worked on an ad hoc basis, putting out fires and never fully feeling that their work had contributed to the growth or development of the organization as a whole. This sense of isolation made it difficult for IT members to begin to reflect on what their mission should or could be. I organized a series of meetings to begin exploring the question of a mission, and I offered support by sharing exemplary IT mission statements that were being implemented in other organizations. The focus of the meetings was not on convincing them to accept any particular idea but rather to facilitate a reflective exercise with a group that was undertaking such a task for the first time (Senge, 1990). The identity that emerged for the IT department at Ravell was different from the one implicit in their past role. Our new mission would be to provide technical support and technical direction to the organization. Of necessity, IT personnel would remain specialists, but they were to be specialists who could provide guidance to other departments in addition to helping them solve and prevent problems. As they became more intimately familiar with what different departments T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 11 did—and how these departments contributed to the organization as a whole—IT professionals would be able to make better informed recommendations. The vision was that IT people would grow from being staff who fixed things into team members who offered their expertise to help shape the strategic direction of the organization and, in the process, participate fully in organizational growth and learning. To begin to bring this vision to life, I invited line managers to attend our meetings. I had several goals in mind with this invitation. Of course, I wanted to increase contact between IT and non-IT people; beyond this, I wanted to give IT staff an incentive to change by making them feel a part of the organization as a whole. I also got a commitment from IT staff that we would not cover up our problems during the sessions, but would deal with all issues with trust and honesty. I also believed that the line managers would reciprocate and allow us to attend their staff meetings. A number of IT individuals were concerned that my approach would only further expose our problems with regard to quality performance, but the group as a whole felt compelled to stick with the beliefs that honesty would always prevail over politics. Having gained insight into how the rest of the organization perceived them, IT staff members had to learn how to deal with disagreement and how to build consensus to move an agenda forward. Only then could reflection and action be intimately intertwined so that after-the-fact reviews could be replaced with periods of learning and doing (Garvin, 2000). The meetings were constructive, not only in terms of content issues handled in the discussions, but also in terms of the number of line managers who attended them. Their attendance sent a strong message that the IT function was important to them, and that they understood that they also had to participate in the new direction that IT was taking. The sessions also served as a vehicle to demonstrate how IT could become socially assimilated within all the functions of the community while maintaining its own identity. The meetings were also designed as a venue for group members to be critical of themselves. The initial meetings were not successful in this regard; at first, IT staff members spent more time blaming others than reflecting on their own behaviors and attitudes. These sessions were difficult in that I would have to raise unpopular questions and ask whether the staff had truly “looked in the mirror” concerning 12 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY some of the problems at hand. For example, one IT employee found it difficult to understand why a manager from another department was angry about the time it took to get a problem resolved with his computer. The problem had been identified and fixed within an hour, a time frame that most IT professionals would consider very responsive. As we looked into the reasons why the manager could have been justified in his anger, it emerged that the manager had a tight deadline to meet. In this situation, being without his computer for an hour was a serious problem. Although under normal circumstances a response time of one hour is good, the IT employee had failed to ask about the manager’s particular circumstance. On reflection, the IT employee realized that putting himself in the position of the people he was trying to support would enable him to do his job better. In this particular instance, had the IT employee only understood the position of the manager, there were alternative ways of resolving the problem that could have been implemented much more quickly. Implementing the Integration: A Move toward Trust and Reflection As communication became more open, a certain synergy began to develop in the IT organization. Specifically, there was a palpable rise in the level of cooperation and agreement, with regard to the overall goals set during these meetings. This is not to suggest that there were no disagreements but rather that discussions tended to be more constructive in helping the group realize its objective of providing outstanding technology support to the organization. The IT staff also felt freer to be self-reflective by openly discussing their ideas and their mistakes. The involvement of the departmental line managers also gave IT staff members the support they needed to carry out the change. Slowly, there developed a shift in behavior in which the objectives of the group sharpened its focus on the transformation of the department, on its acknowledgment of successes and failures, and on acquiring new knowledge, to advance the integration of IT into the core business units. Around this time, an event presented itself that I felt would allow the IT department to establish its new credibility and authority to the other departments: the physical move of the organization to a T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 13 new location. The move was to be a major event, not only because it ­represented the relocation of over 500 people and the technological infrastructure they used on a day-to-day basis, but also because the move was to include the transition of the media communications systems of the company, to digital technology. The move required tremendous technological work, and the organization decided to perform a “technology acceleration,” meaning that new technology would be introduced more quickly because of the opportunity presented by the move. The entire moving process was to take a year, and I was immediately summoned to work with the other departments in determining the best plan to accomplish the transition. For me, the move became an emblematic event for the IT group at Ravell. It would provide the means by which to test the creation of, and the transitioning into, a learning organization. It was also to provide a catalyst for the complete integration and assimilation of IT into the organization as a whole. The move represented the introduction of unfamiliar processes in which “conscious reflection is … necessary if lessons are to be learned” (Garvin, 2000, p. 100). I temporarily reorganized IT employees into “SWAT” teams (subgroups formed to deal with defined problems in high-pressure environments), so that they could be eminently consumed in the needs of their community partners. Dealing with many crisis situations helped the IT department change the existing culture by showing users how to better deal with technology issues in their everyday work environment. Indeed, because of the importance of technology in the new location, the core business had an opportunity to embrace our knowledge and to learn from us. The move presented new challenges every day, and demanded openness and flexibility from everyone. Some problems required that IT listen intently to understand and meet the needs of its community partners. Other situations put IT in the role of teaching; assessing needs and explaining to other departments what was technically possible, and then helping them to work out compromises based on technical limitations. Suggestions for IT improvement began to come from all parts of the organization. Ideas from others were embraced by IT, demonstrating that employees throughout the organization were learning together. IT staff behaved assertively and without fear of failure, suggesting that, perhaps for the first time, their role had 14 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY extended beyond that of fixing what was broken to one of helping to guide the organization forward into the future. Indeed, the move established the kind of “special problem” that provided an opportunity for growth in personal awareness through reflection (Moon, 1999). The move had proved an ideal laboratory for implementing the IT integration and assimilation plan. It provided real and important opportunities for IT to work hand in hand with other departments— all focusing on shared goals. The move fostered tremendous camaraderie within the organization and became an excellent catalyst for teaching reflective behavior. It was, if you will, an ideal project in which to show how reflection in action can allow an entire organization to share in the successful attainment of a common goal. Because it was a unique event, everyone—IT and non-IT personnel alike— made mistakes, but this time, there was virtually no finger-pointing. People accepted responsibility collectively and cooperated in finding solutions. When the company recommenced operations from its new location—on time and according to schedule—no single group could claim credit for the success; it was universally recognized that success had been the result of an integrated effort. Key Lessons The experience of the reorganization of the IT department at Ravell can teach us some key lessons with respect to the cultural transformation and change of marginalized technical departments, generally. Defining Reflection and Learning for an Organization IT personnel tend to view learning as a vocational event. They generally look to increase their own “technical” knowledge by attending special training sessions and programs. However, as Kegan (1998) reminds us, there must be more: “Training is really insufficient as a sole diet of education—it is, in reality a subset of education.” True education involves transformation, and transformation, according to Kegan, is the willingness to take risks, to “get out of the bedroom of our comfortable world.” In my work at Ravell, I tried to augment this “diet” by embarking on a project that delivered both vocational training and education through reflection. Each IT staff person was given T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 15 one week of technical training per year to provide vocational development. But beyond this, I instituted weekly learning sessions in which IT personnel would meet without me and produce a weekly memo of “reflection.” The goal of this practice was to promote dialogue, in the hope that IT would develop a way to deal with its fears and mistakes on its own. Without knowing it, I had begun the process of creating a discursive community in which social interactions could act as instigators of reflective behavior leading to change. Working toward a Clear Goal The presence of clearly defined, measurable, short-term objectives can greatly accelerate the process of developing a “learning organization” through reflective practice. At Ravell, the move into new physical quarters provided a common organizational goal toward which all participants could work. This goal fostered cooperation among IT and non-IT employees and provided an incentive for everyone to work and, consequently, learn together. Like an athletic team before an important game, or even an army before battle, the IT staff at Ravell rallied around a cause and were able to use reflective practices to help meet their goals. The move also represented what has been termed an “eye-opening event,” one that can trigger a better understanding of a culture whose differences challenge one’s presuppositions (Mezirow, 1990). It is important to note, though, that while the move accelerated the development of the learning organization as such, the move itself would not have been enough to guarantee the successes that followed it. Simply setting a deadline is no substitute for undergoing the kind of transformation necessary for a consummately reflective process. Only as the culmination of a process of analysis, socialization, and trust building, can an event like this speed the growth of a learning organization. Commitment to Quality Apart from the social challenges it faced in merging into the core business, the IT group also had problems with the quality of its output. Often, work was not performed in a professional manner. IT organizations often suffer from an inability to deliver on schedule, 16 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY and Ravell was no exception. The first step in addressing the quality problem, was to develop IT’s awareness of the importance of the problem, not only in my estimation but in that of the entire company. The IT staff needed to understand how technology affected the dayto-day operations of the entire company. One way to start the dialogue on quality is to first initiate one about failures. If something was late, for instance, I asked why. Rather than addressing the problems from a destructive perspective (Argyris & Schö n, 1996; Schein, 1992; Senge, 1990), the focus was on encouraging IT personnel to understand the impact of their actions—or lack of action—on the company. Through self-reflection and recognition of their important role in the organization, the IT staff became more motivated than before to perform higher quality work. Teaching Staff “Not to Know” One of the most important factors that developed out of the process of integrating IT was the willingness of the IT staff “not to know.” The phenomenology of “not knowing” or “knowing less” became the facilitator of listening; that is, by listening, we as individuals are better able to reflect. This sense of not knowing also “allows the individual to learn an important lesson: the acceptance of what is, without our attempts to control, manipulate, or judge” (Halifax, 1999, p. 177). The IT staff improved their learning abilities by suggesting and adopting new solutions to problems. An example of this was the creation of a two-shift help desk that provided user support during both day and evening. The learning process allowed IT to contribute new ideas to the community. More important, their contributions did not dramatically change the community; instead, they created gradual adjustments that led to the growth of a new hybrid culture. The key to this new culture was its ability to share ideas, accept error as a reality (Marsick, 1998), and admit to knowing less (Halifax, 1999). Transformation of Culture Cultural changes are often slow to develop, and they occur in small intervals. Furthermore, small cultural changes may even go unnoticed or may be attributed to factors other than their actual causes. This T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 17 raises the issue of the importance of cultural awareness and our ability to measure individual and group performance. The history of the IT problems at Ravell made it easy for me to make management aware of what we were newly attempting to accomplish and of our reasons for creating dialogues about our successes and failures. Measurement and evaluation of IT performance are challenging because of the intricacies involved in determining what represents success. I feel that one form of measurement can be found in the behavioral patterns of an organization. When it came time for employee evaluations, reviews were held with each IT staff member. Discussions at evaluation reviews focused on the individuals’ perceptions of their role, and how they felt about their job as a whole. The feedback from these review meetings suggested that the IT staff had become more devoted, and more willing to reflect on their role in the organization, and, generally, seemed happier at their jobs than ever before. Interestingly, and significantly, they also appeared to be having fun at their jobs. This happiness propagated into the community and influenced other supporting departments to create similar infrastructures that could reproduce our type of successes. This interest was made evident by frequent inquiries I received from other departments about how the transformation of IT was accomplished, and how it might be translated to create similar changes in staff behavior elsewhere in the company. I also noticed that there were fewer complaints and a renewed ability for the staff to work with our consultants. Alignment with Administrative Departments Ravell provided an excellent lesson about the penalties of not aligning properly with other strategic and operational partners in a firm. Sometimes, we become insistent on forcing change, especially when placed in positions that afford a manager power—the power to get results quickly and through force. The example of Ravell teaches us that an approach of power will not ultimately accomplish transformation of the organization. While senior management can authorize and mandate change, change usually occurs much more slowly than they wish, if it occurs at all. The management ranks can still push back and cause problems, if not sooner, then later. While I aligned with the line units, I failed to align with important operational partners, 18 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY particularly human resources (HR). HR in my mind at that time was impeding my ability to accomplish change. I was frustrated and determined to get things done by pushing my agenda. This approach worked early on, but I later discovered that the HR management was bitter and devoted to stopping my efforts. The problems I encountered at Ravell are not unusual for IT organizations. The historical issues that affect the relationship between HR and IT are as follows: • IT has unusual staff roles and job descriptions that can be inconsistent with the rest of the organization. • IT tends to have complex working hours and needs. • IT has unique career paths that do not “fit” with HR standards. • IT salary structures shift more dynamically and are very sensitive to market conditions. • IT tends to operate in silos. The challenge, then, to overcome these impediments requires IT to • • • • reduce silos and IT staff marginalization achieve better organization-wide alignment develop shared leadership define and create an HR/IT governance model The success of IT/HR alignment should follow practices similar to those I instituted with the line managers at Ravell, specifically the following: • Successful HR/IT integration requires organizational learning techniques. • Alignment requires an understanding of the relationship between IT investments and business strategy. • An integration of IT can create new organizational cultures and structures. • HR/IT alignment will likely continue to be dynamic in nature, and evolve at an accelerated pace. The oversight of not integrating better with HR cost IT dearly at Ravell. HR became an undisclosed enemy—that is, a negative force against the entire integration. I discovered this problem only later, and was never able to bring the HR department into the fold. Without HR being part of the learning organization, IT staff continued to T he “ Rav el l” C o r p o r ati o n 19 struggle with aligning their professional positions with those of the other departments. Fortunately, within two years the HR vice president retired, which inevitably opened the doors for a new start. In large IT organizations, it is not unusual to have an HR member assigned to focus specifically on IT needs. Typically, it is a joint position in which the HR individual in essence works for the IT executive. This is an effective alternative in that the HR person becomes versed in IT needs and can properly represent IT in the area of head count needs and specific titles. Furthermore, the unique aspect of IT organizations is in the hybrid nature of their staff. Typically, a number of IT staff members are consultants, a situation that presents problems similar to the one I encountered at Ravell—that is, the resentment of not really being part of the organization. Another issue is that many IT staff members are outsourced across the globe, a situation that brings its own set of challenges. In addition, the role of HR usually involves ensuring compliance with various regulations. For example, in many organizations, a consultant is permitted to work on site for only one year before U.S. government regulations force the company to hire them as employees. The HR function must work closely with IT to enforce these regulations. Yet another important component of IT and HR collaboration is talent management. That is, HR must work closely with IT to understand new roles and responsibilities as they develop in the organization. Another challenge is the integration of technology into the day-to-day business of a company, and the question of where IT talent should be dispersed throughout the organization. Given this complex set of challenges, IT alone cannot facilitate or properly represent itself, unless it aligns with the HR departments. This becomes further complex with the proliferation of IT virtual teams across the globe that create complex structures that often have different HR ramifications, both legally and culturally. Virtual team management is discussed further in the book. Conclusion This case study shows that strategic integration of technical resources into core business units can be accomplished, by using those aspects of organizational learning that promote reflection in action. This kind of integration also requires something of a concomitant form of assimilation, on the cultural level (see Chapter 3). Reflective thinking fosters the 20 IN F O RM ATI O N T EC HN O L O GY development of a learning organization, which in turn allows for the integration of the “other” in its various organizational manifestations. The experience of this case study also shows that the success of organizational learning will depend on the degree of cross fertilization achievable in terms of individual values and on the ability of the community to combine new concepts and beliefs, to form a hybrid culture. Such a new culture prospers with the use of organizational learning strategies to enable it to share ideas, accept mistakes, and learn to know less as a regular part their di...
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Study Questions
Which countries are the biggest users of the Internet? Social media? Mobile?
The countries with the biggest number of internet users include China, India, the United
States, and Indonesia. Also, the nations with the highest penetration in the use of social media
platforms include UAE, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore. The countries with the biggest
number of users of mobile include China, India, United States, Brazil, and Russia.
Which country had the largest Internet growth (in %) in the last five years?
The country with the largest internet growth in % in the last five years in Bangladesh.
How will most people connect to the Internet in the future?
In the future, people will connect to the internet using portable devices such as phones and
computers. However, technology is changing, ...

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