Information Technology Systems Case Study
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IT Systems Case Study
Email, intranets, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and web-based applications that manage
everything from enterprise resource planning to the supply chain have made communication across
and between organizations nearly seamless. This has inevitably affected the way organizations are
structured. There has been a steady move away from top-down hierarchical structures toward flat,
decentralized, virtual organizations with units that maintain an increasing measure of independence
from direct central control.
Two articles in your reading this week, one by Hitt and Brynjolfsson and the other by Lucas and
Baroudi, offer different, yet complementary, analyses of the impact of technology on organizational
structures. The former presents an empirical study supporting the idea that information technology
IT SYSTEMS CASE STUDY 2
necessarily drives firms to decentralize authority within the organization, while the latter concludes
that IT design and organizational design are inextricably linked.
Your task is to read the case study “The Effect of Technological Innovation on Organizational
Structure: Two Case Studies of the Effects of the Introduction of a New Technology on Informal
Organizational Structures” and, applying the research in your readings this week, write an essay that
addresses the following questions:
� What specific challenges faced each of the universities relating to the new technology?
� What type of strategic responses did the universities attempt to implement in response, and which
ones led to greater success?
� Do you think social action theory is a useful framework for understanding the relative success or
failure of each of these universities?
� Considering that universities are often very traditional in structure and have remained relatively
unchanged compared to other types of organizations, what are the implications of this case study for
organizations that are less bound by tradition?
� To what degree does this case study confirm or deny the research presented in this week’s journal
Your paper should comprise 3�5 pages in APA format.
IT SYSTEMS CASE STUDY 3
Information Technology Systems Case Study
- What specific challenges faced each of the universities relating to the new technology
as illustrated in the case study?
Organizational structures of many organizations have received tremendous revolution from
the case study. The study noticed that universities were faced by many challenges connected
to the introduction of the new technology. One of the challenges was that they were
dependent to the central control center. Therefore, they lacked independence to make
innovations. Another challenge that universities faced was unavailability of business
intelligence. Business intelligence aids an organization to obtain resources from digital data
for firm business-production mechanism (Kahn, (2000). Universities were also frequented
with non-elaborative and disorderly electronic records. This denied them chances to go
through various records to update the existing technology. Most of the universities
information methodology to efficiently improve communication and correlation of various
information sources was poor. According to (Kahn, (2000), information technology, that is
mainly appropriated in communication, does not affect human data processing capabilities as
human can analyze the information produced by computers. Heavily built bureaucratic
structures hindered universities from accessing relevant agencies so as to improve their
current technological status (Kahn, (2000).
- What type of strategic responses did the universities attempt to implement in
response and which ones led to greater success?
The universities came up with three strategic responses in the attempt to implement responses
to the challenges faced relating to the new technology. One of the strategies was
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normativistic communication. This type of communication, as proposed by the universities,
has the pro to be regulated and precise, but on the other hand, it was very fixed and this could
halt the spontaneous rising of initiatives from the base of the organization. Descriptivist
communications was also devised by the universities to overcome the challenges (Müller,
(2003). The advantage of this response strategy was that it was being bidirectional, by the
fact that data came from more than one source. The universities asserted that this would
promote participation from the background and the ability for the top management to detect
the mood of the whole firm. The setbacks from this form of response were that that there
could arouse dispute at top-level management (Müller, (2003). The management could take
into account the responses from the basis but not necessarily meaning that the lower levels
are satisfied with the outcome. The areas of disappointment to the juniors could emanate
from the feeling that their suggestion have to follow clearly stated procedures that are biased
from the top management’s stand, even if they pretend to be neutral (Müller, (2003).
Constructivist communication was another response technique proposed by the universities to
overcome the challenges. The response was commendable as it had the advantage of being
isolated from imposed procedures. This type of response ensured that communication matters
are solely left to the actors involved in the process. The effect of this response was that it
affected new and predictable outcomes and creating space for innovations and inventions
(Information Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour, (2006). The
universities noticed that the response was frequented with certain drawbacks. The response
was associated with aspects such as communication being fuzzy and could not be controlled.
This made the top management unable to extract the findings of these processes, as they are
frequently not available. Constructivist communication gave remarkable results as it calls for
isolation of management to other stakeholders. It enabled universities to gather diverse
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information which promoted discoveries in technological advancements (Information
Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour, M. (2001).
- Do you think social action theory is a useful framework for understanding the
relative success or failure of each of these universities?
Social action theory is quite important in understanding the comparative success or failures of
these universities. It agrees and support that human beings have the ability to act differently
in different social contexts. The correlation between organizational structure and technology
anatomy is reinstated by social action theory approval on technology as well as information
technology (Sor, (2004). Social action literature governs universities leaders to apprehend the
relationships between technology and information formation and the university’s response to
transformations (Sor, (2004). Arguably, this correlation is established in the case study where
certain universities uphold decentralized form of record management. The institution
embraces the result of the spontaneous change in budgetary system due to computerized
financial regulation system.
Sor, (2004) attest that embracing of new technology prompted universities to start new
alliances by sending email text messages, announcing of online workshops and seminars and
disbursing information to other campuses. Social contract theory also exhibits itself in the
case study with the actions of other universities that declined to accommodate the new
technology. These universities never formed alliances through internet and continued to apply
the traditional practices of technology (Sor, (2004). These activities are emanating from the
perceptive that social action theory is accountable for rearrangement of work duties,
production of communication networks, transformation in leadership and the decentralization
of power process. The case study concludes that social action is effective. The case study also
proposes that organizations (universities) facing technological revolution should revitalize
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communication between workmates, decentralization of power and authority and boundary-
bridging regulation techniques (Sor, P. (2004).
- Considering universities are often very traditional in structure and have remained
relatively unchanged compared to other types of organization, what are the
implications of this case study for organizations that are less bound by tradition?
Organizations that are bound to traditional structure prone themselves to so many challenges.
One of the challenges is that they will be in vicious cycle of high cost and consequently will
decrease in productivity in their operations as it is less likely to form alliances to enable it to
appropriately use new technology (Information Resources Management Association., &
Khosrow-Pour, (2001). Concentration on old forms of organization structure kills innovation.
This is as a result of unavailability of information which acts as raw materials to inventions.
Dependency is propagated by the fact that universities will always wait for other institutions
to feed them with information (Information Resources Management Association., &
- To what degree does this case study confirm or deny the research presented in this
week’s journal articles?
According to week’s journal articles, despite many organizations upholding the virtue of new
technology, traditional elements of communication are still being used. The articles appears
to contradict the case study on the impacts of the orientation of new technology on informal
organizational structure by arguing that the modern form of technology incorporates both
traditional and modern aspects of technology (Information Resources Management
Association., & Khosrow-Pour, (2001). The journal articles calls for incorporation of both
technologies, but not discard of the traditional type as it acts as the reference point to the new
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technology. The case study denies the allegations by putting forth arguments that a complete
configuration of organization to modern world must do away with the native methods of
information structure (Information Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour,
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Information Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour, M. (2001). Managing
information technology in a global environment. Hershey, PA: Idea Group
Information Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour, M. (2006). Emerging
trends and challenges in information technology management. Hershey, Penn: Idea
Kahn, R. (2000). The effect of technological innovation on organizational structure: Two
case studies of the effects of the introduction of new technology on informal
organizational structures. Journal of Business and Technical communication, 14 (13).
Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Müller, R. (2003). Communication of information technology project sponsors and managers
in buyer-seller relationships. S.l.: Dissertation.com.
Salazar, A. J. (2007). Handbook of information technology in organizations and electronic
markets. New Jersey: World Scientific.
Sor, P. (2004). Information technology and organizational structure: vindicating theories
from the past. Management decision, 42 (1/2).