Information Systems Strategy Formation Embedded into a Continuous Organizational Learning Process

Information Systems Strategy Formation Embedded into a Continuous Organizational Learning Process

Timo Auer (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and Tapio Reponen (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland)
Copyright: © 1997 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.1997040103
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Abstract

Mintzberg’s viewpoint that strategy is an emergent learning process rather than a plan has a valuable contribution to make to the Information Systems (IS) field. This argumentation has rendered both the necessity of strategy planning sessions and the strategy plan itself questionable. Here, strategy is seen from an experiential learning perspective, but learning is supported by planning sessions. The purpose of the planning process is to produce a formal plan to direct IS development and utilization. On the other hand strategy is what an organization knows, not what is written. The outcome of an IS strategy process should thus be an increased understanding of IS opportunities and constraints, and a shared view of IS utilization. This study presents an approach to combine the learning and planning approaches to strategy formation. An approach to link the experiential learning cycle and the Information Systems Strategy (ISS) process is presented and tested. The proposed solution is based on four process phases. First, evaluation of the current organizational reality of IS utilization from the management, usage and Information Technology (IT) viewpoints. Secondly, joint learning through an interactive planning process between interest groups to improve managerial abilities, change organizational structures and reach a common view of IS use and management (i.e. IS Strategy). Thirdly, another learning process directed by IS strategy during implementation at middle management and personnel levels. Finally, the outcome of the ISS process has to be constantly observed and evaluated to understand progress and needs for further development. A longitudinal case study has been conducted to test the developed approach. The research process is presented and the outcomes of the approach discussed.

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