The Stanley Lynch Investment Group is a large investment firm headquartered in New York. The firm has 12 major investment funds, each with analysts operating in a separate department. Along with knowledge of the financial markets and the businesses it analyzes, Stanley Lynch’s competitive advantage comes from its advanced and reliable computer systems. Thus an effective information technology (IT) division is a strategic necessity, and the company’s chief information officer (CIO) holds a key role at the firm.
When the company hired J. T. Kundra as a manager of technology, he learned that the IT division at Stanley Lynch consists of 68 employees, most of whom specialize in serving the needs of a particular fund. The IT employees serving a fund operate as a distinct group, each of them led by a manager who supervises several employees (five employees report to J. T.).
He also learned that each group sets up its own computer system to store information about its projects. The problems with that arrangement quickly became evident. As J. T. tried to direct his group’s work, he would ask for documentation of one program or another. Sometimes no one was sure where to find the documentation; it might turn out to be stored in an obscure place such as only on someone’s flash drive. Other times he would quickly get three different responses from three different people with three different versions of the documentation. And if he was interested in another group’s project or a software program used in another department, getting information was next to impossible. He lacked the authority to ask employees in another group to drop what they were doing in order to hunt down information he needed.
J. T. concluded that the entire IT division could serve the firm much better if all authorized people had easy access to the work that had already been done and the software that was available. The logical place to store that information was online. From experience at a previous company, he believed that the easiest way to compile the information would be to set up a shared web project called a wiki—an online document created through the collaboration of its users, who can look up or contribute information according to their knowledge and needs. The challenge would be how to get everyone to contribute, given that he had authority over so few of the IT workers.
J. T. started by working with his five employees to build a wiki offering basic information presented in a consistent format. Then he met with two higher-level managers who report to the CIO. He showed them the wiki and explained that fast access to information would improve the IT group’s quality and efficiency. He suggested that the managers require all the IT employees to put their documentation on the wiki, and he even persuaded them that this behavior should be measured for performance appraisals. This last tactic was especially significant because at an investment company, bonuses for meeting performance targets are a big part of employees’ compensation.
The IT employees quickly came to appreciate that the wiki would help them perform better. When they visited it, they could see from the original information that it would be useful. Adoption of the wiki was swift, and before long, the IT employees came to think of it as one of their most important software systems.
Questions: 1. Give an example of differentiation in Stanley Lynch’s orga-nization structure and an example of integration in this structure. 2. What role did authority play in the adoption of the wiki by the IT division at Stanley Lynch? 3. Describe how the IT division used coordination to achieve greater integration.