Only One Evolving Strategy

Only One Evolving Strategy

Kevin Johnston (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch084
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Organizations continually face numerous change forces such as indicated in Figure 1. The framework developed by Scott Morton (1991) (Figure 1) illustrates the interrelationship between strategy and other forces; namely business processes, organizational structure, people and IT. External environments (Socioeconomic and Technological) influence the organization. Changes in any one or more of these forces upsets the equilibrium of the organization, a change in any one force may require changes in some or all of the forces. Essentially Scott Morton’s framework implies that strategy should be developed in a holistic fashion, taking all forces into consideration. So IT (and business processes, organizational structure, people and their roles) should not be merely aligned with the overall strategy, or be there to support the overall strategy, they each contribute and form an essential part of a single organizational strategy.

Figure 1.

Adapted Scott Morton framework of forces on organisations (Scott Morton, 1991, p. 20)

Clearly, there is a need to face these forces and challenges, and develop strategies to manage these and other changes. The successful implementation of strategy requires the ability to manage and communicate organisational change (Hempel & Martinsons, 2009). Similarly, organisational change frequently flows from a clear strategic plan.

Much of the IS literature on strategy implementation overlaps with change management. A strategic change can affect people, technology, processes, structures, suppliers, and business partners making it difficult to implement strategic change programmes (Franken, Edwards, & Lambert, 2009). “Strategic execution requires systemic thinking” (Morgan, Levitt, & Malek, 2007, p. 11), as a change in one area can affect other areas (Scott Morton, 1991). There is frequent mention of attracting, allocating, and managing the resources needed to deliver the change programs that will deliver the strategy (Franken, Edwards, & Lambert, 2009). The strategy implementation literature also stresses the importance of culture and communication. It is of interest that this literature refers to practitioners being “left in a state of confusion when having to decide which approach is most appropriate for their situation” (Franken, Edwards, & Lambert, 2009, p. 49). This is similar to the confusion facing IS practitioners when they have to decide on an approach for implementing a system.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Change Management: The process of assisting individuals and organizations to change from one way of doing things to a new way of doing things.

Business model: How a business creates value for its customers, and how it retains some of that value.

Strategy: Plans to create and manage change, and exploit opportunities.

Alignment: The arrangement or position of different separate elements (strategies) in relation to each other.

Business Process: A collection of business activities which take several inputs and create one or more outputs.

Business Strategy: A description of the plans, actions or steps an organization intends to take in order to strengthen and grow itself.

Information technology (IT): Collection of all systems in an organization.

Digital Business Strategy: A business answer to a technical question, as opposed to an IT strategy which is essentially a technical answer to a business question.

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