[Go to Previous topic] [Return to Overview] [Go to Next topic]

Technology and organizational change:
a return to the 'The Real World'

Having briefly reviewed some of the features of what we will call " The Real World" (i.e. the world in which large businesses work), and some of the tactical and strategic responses to the changes in that environment, we will now return to the central issue of this module: the relationship between technology and organizational change.

This section of the module will use examples from the article Computer Based Information Systems and Manager's Work, and the associated case studies to illustrate the complexity and inter-relatedness of real world. We will begin by reviewing the previous material in terms of strategic objectives (intentions for the future) and tactical solutions (actions taken in the present) and look at two simple linear models of technological and organizational change. We will then go on to review some of the integrationist models that portray an impact not as a linear outcome but as an interactive and ongoing process. Following, this we will introduce the idea of a simple 2 x 2 matrix (which we will use both here and in later sections of the module).

There are no simple answers to management problems - the 'real world' is complex and dynamic and solutions to problems are multiple and multi-dimensional. The aim of the matrix below is to provide a simple analytical device to deal with this complexity.

A simple generic form of the 2 x 2 matrix

The columns of the matrix are fixed as "social" and "technical" in line with our assumption at the start of the module that all problems have both a technical and a social component to them. The rows of the matrix (labeled X and Y above) can then be used to contrast other influences on the relationship between managing a large multinational business organization and the technology used to do this.

Throughout this section of the module the rows of the matrix will be used to represent two broad strategic objectives that an organization might pursue. Hence, using Porter's notion of competitive advantage, we label the rows "X = Cost Focus" and "Y = Value Focus". In the next four topics in the module, we will use this to review two predominantly technological approaches: Information Management Systems and Knowledge Management Systems followed by two predominantly managerial approaches: The Bureaucratic Organization and The Networked Organization. The corresponding matrix for this view of the relationship between (information) technology and management is shown below.

The matrix as it appears in the next sections of this module
Cost Focus
Information Management Systems
The Bureaucratic Organization
Value Focus
Knowledge Management Systems
The Networked Organization






Some other illustrations Linear Models Integrationist Models

[Go to Previous topic] [Return to Overview] [Go to Next topic]