Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 4–20

Technochange management: using IT to drive organizational change

  • M Lynne Markus
State of the Art

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jit.2000002

Cite this article as:
Markus, M. J Inf Technol (2004) 19: 4. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jit.2000002

Abstract

Using IT in ways that can trigger major organizational changes creates high-risk, potentially high-re ward, situations that I call technochange (for technology-driven organizational change). Technochange differs from typical IT projects and from typical organizational change programs and therefore requires a different approach. One major risk in technochange—that people will not use information technology and related work practices—is not thoroughly addressed by the discipline of IT project management, which focuses on project cost, project schedule, and solution functionality. Organizational change management approaches are also generally not effective on their own, because they take as a given the IT “solutions” developed by a technical team. Consequently, the potential for the IT “solution” to be misaligned with important organizational characteristics, such as culture or incentives, is great.

Merely combining IT project management and organizational change management approaches does not produce the best results, for two reasons. First, the additive approach does not effectively address the many failure-threatening problems that can arise over the lengthy sequential process of the typical technochange lifecycle. Second, the additive approach is not structured to produce the characteristics of a good technochange solution: a complete intervention consisting of IT and complementary organizational changes, an implementable solution with minimal misfits with the existing organization, and an organization primed to appropriate the potential benefits of the technochange solution. With hard work and care, the combined IT project management plus organizational change approach can be made to work. However, an iterative, incremental approach to implementing technochange can be a better strategy in many situations. The essential characteristic of the technochange prototyping approach is that each phase involves both new IT functionality and related organizational changes, such as redesigned business processes, new performance metrics, and training.

Keywords

IS implementationIT project managementorganizational change managementresistance to changesystem development life cycle

Copyright information

© Association for Information Technology Trust 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M Lynne Markus
    • 1
  1. 1.Trustee Professor of Management, McCallum Graduate School of Business, Bentley CollegeWalthamUSA