Managing IT for Business Innovation: Issues of Culture, Learning, and Leadership in a Jamaican Insurance Company

Managing IT for Business Innovation: Issues of Culture, Learning, and Leadership in a Jamaican Insurance Company

Michael Barrett (University of Cambridge, UK) and Geoff Walsham (Lancaster University, UK)
Copyright: © 1995 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jgim.1995070103
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Abstract

The recent major changes in the general insurance sector have significantly increased the need for the development and use of IT for business innovation. This paper uses the case study method to explore how a Jamaican general insurance company responded to these pressures by establishing a cross-cultural joint venture for IT development. The research was guided at the meta-level by the principles of structuration theory, but explicitly uses the more familiar perspectives of culture, learning, and leadership in analysing the empirical work. Results from the case study include illustrations of how, during initiation activities of innovation, visionary leadership utilised an intimate knowledge of the business along with double loop learning capabilities. However, during the implementation of the innovation, leadership styles did not cope adequately with cultural characteristics. The paper uses insights from the case study to develop some practical implications concerning appropriate policies when managing joint ventures for IT development, particularly when cross-cultural teams are involved.

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