Today, digital technology drives remarkable organizational growth. It is liberating companies from the tyranny of materiality and accelerating on a grand scale the ever-tighter integration of the economy that the railroad, telegraph and earlier technologies began. Now businesses can operate anytime, anywhere—and with seemingly anybody. For companies that successfully exploit this technology, the prospects seem bright. But information technology places demands on workers and imparts its own discipline to the workplace. The aim of the Jones School Information Technology is to prepare aspiring business leaders—executives, strategists, innovators and line managers—to manage the complex interplay of strategy, people and technology.
Coursework for MBAs and Executive MBAs
In the classroom, we consider cases in which business leaders have tried to use information technology to enhance organizational development and support competitive strategy. Some succeeded and others failed. From our analysis of their experiences, we develop some general guidelines for businesses seeking to exploit technology. Several points about the strategic use of information technology emerge:
- Information technology matters; companies that successfully manage their use of it will sooner or later gain competitive advantages that are difficult to overcome.
- The full meaning of the technology emerges from its interaction with people and their ways of working. Ignorance of this interaction has caused untold frustration, pain and failure in past deployments.
- Business leaders should, therefore, play in a key role in deploying technology for strategic purposes. Although they need not become technologists to do so, managers should acquire a basic understanding of information technology and how it shapes organizational behavior.