Leading Dynamic Organizations in the Information Age
Bill Lekse Joe Nedder
E-mail: email@example.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Location: Babson Hall 216 C Work Phone: 781-750-8068 ext. 230
Office Extension: 4470 Office Hours: By Appointment
Office Hours: By Appointment
Session 1 - Introduction
The first class will include:
* Welcome and Introductions
* Course objectives, logistics, syllabus
* IT and OB frameworks we will use throughout the class
* Discussion of readings
The discussion on IT will include two parts.
Part 1: Motivation for studying information technology
Part 2: Technology Overview-An introduction of IT terminology and concepts, and a framework for
conceptualizing information systems.
PART 1: Motivation
Digital Rx, by Scott Kirsner, Fast Company, January 2002.
An article about the Information Technology (IT )transformation and financial turnaround at the Detroit Medical
Getting IT Right. Feld, Charlie S. and Stoddard, Donna B. Harvard Business Review, February 2004. (An
PART 2: Technology Overview
READING: IT Primer (click on the link above under the session heading)
The intent of today's session is to establish a baseline understanding of the parts of an IT architecture and to
establish a common terminology for discussion of those parts. This may not be the most exciting session in the
course but it will provide a necessary foundation for future case discussions. We will leverage your collective
experience with information technology and information management in order to bring the entire class to a
common level of understanding and use of key terms.
As preparation for class, please think about the following questions. Be prepared to discuss your answers in
class. Use your most recent work experience and your experience as a consumer to inform your answers. Your
experience may not allow you to address every question, just do your best!
What kind of operating system and computer hardware do you normally work on in the workplace? ....at home?
Assuming you have a computer at home and at work, are these computers the same? If so, what are the
advantages of having the same in both places?
What other kinds of operating systems and comptuer hardware exist that offer alternatives to what you use?
What kind of application software do you work on? What kind of application software do you use most of the
In what types of networks do you have experience? LANs, WANs, Internet, Intranets, etc.
How do these networks differ? Strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, cost?
What does platform mean?
What is a firewall? What is its primary function?
Please note any significant positive or negative experiences that you may have had with networks and/or
Data and Databases
With what types of databases do you have experience?
How do the capabilities of these databases differ?
What are the major advantages of databases vs. flat files or other forms of data storage?
Please note any significant positive or negative experiences that you may have had with data, data
management or databases?
What experiences have you had with enterprise-level applications such as ERP, CRM, etc.? What are the
primary capabilities inherent in these systems?
What experiences have you had with groupware (beyond e-mail), such as Lotus Notes or Exchange? What is
the primary function of groupware?
How have the capabilities inherent in web servers and web browsers influenced the expansion of electronic
Please note any significant positive or negative experiences that you may have had when interfacing with any
of these applications.
People, organization and processes (POP)
Look back at an IT implementation failure that you experienced or observed. What kinds of risk were not
Compare and contrast the different system development methodologies (SDLC, Prototyping, RAD). Have you
had experience (positive/negative) with any of these methods? How do you think a firm should select their
For those who may want a review of IT terminology the following sites may be useful. Use
them as the semester progresses.
These online resources are dedicated to IT.
These online resources are broader in scope, but have an IT section.
Session 2 - Information Technology & the Modern Manager
PART 1: IT Mini-case
This case will stimulate a discussion on our continued overview of IT, which we started last week and will finish
CASE: Apex Manufacturing (click on the link under the session heading)
The Worldwide Web and Internet Technologies (in course packet)
Zeichick, Alex. Host-to-Web Explained. Red Herring, July 1999.
OBJECTIVE: The Apex Manufacturing case looks at a fictitious company that is at a crossroads in its
technology architecture. The company has been using old technology for many years and is now faced with a
series of decisions brought about by the hiring of a new CEO and a new strategic plan.
1. What are are strengths and weaknesses of each alternative?
2. What are the benefits and issues of using package software solutions?
3. What are the benefits and issues of developing your own solutions?
4. What would be your recommendation for Apex?
PART 2: The World of the Modern Manager - Erik Peterson (80 minutes)
What Leaders Really Do. John P. Kotter, Harvard Business Review May/June 1990 (An Ebscohost link.)
Venerable Harvard Professor John Kotter explains the difference between managing and leading.
Erik Petersen A 9-494-005 (in course packet)
Erik Petersen B 9-494-006 (in course packet)
Case Discussion Questions:
1. What problems are facing Erik Peterson?
2. What are the underlying causes of these problems? How effective has Peterson been in taking charge of the
Hanover startup, in terms of managing the new operation and providing leadership?
3. What actions, if any, should Peterson take to turn the situation around? What should he do to prepare for his
meeting with Chip Knight, Ric Jenkins, and Dash Harper at the end of March?
Session 3 (Saturday - 17 September)- Implementing IT in a Work Process: A Simulation
Tentative schedule: 9am - 4pm (this is a required class)
In this Saturday session we will be conducting a business simulation that explores the challenges of
implementing a simple IT system into an existing work process amidst a competitive, fast-paced environment.
* If necessary, re-familiarize yourself with MS Excel
* Everyone please bring a calculator (any kind that can do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.)
* We will also need at least 25 students to bring a laptop computer with MS Excel installed (any version) and a
3 1/2" floppy disk drive. We'll ask for volunteers in class.
Session 4 - Motivating Knowledge Workers
A Brief Note on Social Motives, Harvard Business School Note #477-053 (in course packet)
The classic McClelland need theory of motivation.
Nine Steps Toward Creating a Great Workplace- Right Here and Right Now. Harvard Management Update
March 1999 No. U9903A (An Ebscohost link.)
Soul of a New Machine Excerpt (in course packet)
-- A brief one page intro to the reading is linked above
This is not a chapter excerpt but compilation of various passages in the book that talk about the team's work,
motivation, and commitment, as well as Tom West's managing style. Tracy Kidder's book won the Pulitzer
Prize in the early 80's.
1. What are your theories about why these people are giving this kind of effort?
2. How effective would you say Tom West has been as a manager? As a leader? Why?
3. Thinking about your future as a "motivating manager", what lessons can you take away from this story?
Instructions given on how to complete on-line DiSC behavioral assessment at the end of class. The results and
debrief will be discussed in Session #7.
Session 5- Knowledge Management
First Individual Assignment Due - hand in before class starts
CASE: Knowledge Management at Andersen Consulting (in course packet)
What's Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge? , Hansen,M.T., Nohria,N., Harvard Business Review,
March/April 1999(An Ebscohost link.)
Just-in-Time Delivery Comes to Knowledge Management, Davenport, T. and, Glaser, J., Harvard Business
Review, July 2002(An Ebscohost link.)
How to Fix Knowledge Management. Gilmour, David. Harvard Business Review, October 2003. (An
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the role Knowledge Management can play in leveraging the firm's intellectual
capital. Specific objectives include:
-- To explore and develop a working definition of knowledge that effectively differentiates the concept from data
processing and/or information management.
-- Explore IT architecture requirements necessary for development of an effective KM system in a distributed
-- To demonstrate the technical challenges associated with the development of knowledge management (KM)
-- To explore the organizational challenges associated with the deployment of knowledge management (KM)
systems in a professional services organization.
-- To integrate the evolving role of IT in the creation and management of knowledge assets with the
organizational challenges inherent in their effective deployment.
NOTE: These discussion questions are intended as additional stimulation for in-class discussion. For your
assignment, focus your efforts only on the instructions and questions as they are stated in the
1. How would you define 'Knowledge'? How does knowledge differ from information or data?
2. What is Knowledge Management and what role does IT play in the effective creation and operation of an
organization's knowledge management capability?
3. What are some of the technical challenges that Andersen management must overcome to make the KM
4. What are the key IT architecture components that must be in place in order to enhance Andersen's
knowledge management capabilities?
5. What organizational challenges will Andersen face? Consider both internal, employee-based issues and
external, client-focused issues?
6. Has Andersen followed the KM guidelines as laid out in the Hansen, Nohria and Tierney article?
-Does the company follow a codification or personalization strategy?
-Does this choice fit the contingencies?
7. What are some alternatives for effectively working with and managing large volumes of data, information or
Session 6 - Influence and Conflict in the Info Age
Influence without Authority: The Use of Alliances Reciprocity, and Exchange to Accomplish Work. Allen R.
Cohen and David L. Bradford, Organizational Dynamics, Winter 1989 (An Ebscohost link.)
The Necessary Art of Persuasion. J.A. Conger, Harvard Business Review, May-June 1998 (An Ebscohost link.)
In-Class discussion: Twelve Angry Men (movie shown in class)
Session 7 -- eCommerce and eCommerce Firms
CASE: Amazon.com 2000
Mighty Amazon, Vogelstein, F., Fortune, May 26th, 2003 p. 60 (An Ebscohost link.)
OBJECTIVE: Understand some of the ways that e-commerce is radically changing the retail marketplace, and
gain insight into how firms may successfully evolve into an eCommerce (i.e., information technology) firm.
1. What are the necessary competencies of a physical retailer? ...of an online retailer? ...of a ?click & mortar?
2. What are Amazon's business models? Strengths and weaknesses of each?
3. What is the right mix of retailing, auctions and marketplaces?
4. Does potential for economies of scope remain when online business takes possession of inventory?
5. What products or services sell well in the online retailing? What ones do not sell well? Are there any
generalities we can draw here?
6. Can the same physical infrastructure that is used to move books be used to move toys, power tools, lawn
7. How easy/difficult is it to launch new product categories?
8. What different types of technologies are the backbone for a business like Amazon's?
9. Where will the innovation in online retailing occur?
10. What are the main risks that may potentially undermine the long-term viability of online retailing?
11. Should they develop a logistics network on a regional, national or international level?
Session 8 - Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Individual Behavioral
Part I: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CASE: MOORE MEDICAL CORPORATION (in course packet)
Avoid the Four Perils of CRM, Rigby, D.K., Reichheld, F.F., Schefter, P., Harvard Business Review , Febuary
2002 (An Ebscohost link.)
OBJECTIVE: CRM is an emerging area. This case will enable a discussion of the technology that underlies
CRM, and illustrate the objectives and implementation challenges associated with CRM. (Note: This case can
be used for a discussion on ERP as well. Our objective is to focus on the company's implementation of the
As you prepare this case, assume that Moore Medical purchases the Clarify CRM solution. Further assume
that this system can deliver to all of their marketing and customer relationship needs. Then, using the
framework presented in the article, consider the following questions:
1. What are the characteristics of the practitioner customer segment? Should Moore treat all six practitioner
customer segments alike?
2. Does Moore?s current strategy and structure fit well with its emphasis on the practitioner customer segment?
3. Should the company invest in CRM? How do you quantify the benefits of CRM? What other criteria may be
used to guide analysis of the investment decision?
4. Assuming the company moves forward with CRM, how should Moore go about implementing the CRM
system as an integral component of its marketing function?
5. What changes will be required in Moore's IT architecture and what risks do you foresee with regards to
Moore Medical Pre-brief
I have an interesting exercise that you may choose to use while preparing the Moore Medical
case study. While this exercise is best used as a ?pre-brief,? it will also be interesting to those
who have already read the case. It should not be used as a substitute to reading the case.
THIS EXERCISE IS NOT REQUIRED OF YOU.
A colleague of mine and another MBA8500 ITM professor, Professor Ted Grossman has
prepared a pre-brief on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for the Moore
Medical case. This is a multi-media presentation that you may view prior to reading and
analyzing the case. There are just a few things you need to know before you access the
1. If you do not have the latest version of Flash Player (version 7) you will be prompted to
download the plug-in when you open the presentation. (This download is a very quick process).
2. This presentation contains audio files, therefore you will need a sound card and speakers or
3. Some of this material will take a moment or two to begin. The content is best used on a
broadband connection, on which the entire exercise should take about 45-60 minutes.
The link to the presentation is provided below.
To view the CRM pre-brief: http://faculty.babson.edu/grossman/breeze/crm/index.html
To download in ZIP format and then uncompress to view (recommended if you use a
narrowband connection?i.e., 56kbps modem and phone line connection):
AGAIN, THIS EXERCISE IS NOT REQUIRED OF YOU.
Part 2: Individual Behavioral Styles
Please complete the on-line behavioral assessment before _____________. The password and instructions
were given out in Session #3.
OBJECTIVE: Hand out DiSC (Behavioral Assessment) results and debrief .
Communication in One-on-One Relationships, Harvard Business School Note #476-075 (in packet). A Harvard
note on misunderstanding in interpersonal communication.
Session 9 - ERP Systems and Implementing Change
Part 1: ERP Systems
OBJECTIVE: This session reviews the ERP implementation efforts at Cisco. Our discussion will include the
challenges of ERP implementation, suggestions for successful implementation, and benefits from a good
CASE: Cisco Systems, Inc.-- Implementing ERP
Enterprise Resource Planning: Common Myths Versus Evolving Reality, Mabert, V.A., Soni, A.,
Venkataramanan, M.A., Business Horizons, May/June 2001(An Ebscohost link.)
Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. John P.Kotter, HBR, March/April 1995 (An Ebscohost link.)
Avoiding the Pitfalls of ERP Systems. Theodore Grossman and James Walsh. June 2003. (click on the link
above under session heading)
Putting the Enterprise into the Enterprise System. Thomas Davenport, HBR,July/Aug 1998(An Ebscohost link.)
NOTE: These discussion questions are intended as additional stimulation for in-class discussion. For your
assignment, focus your efforts only on the instructions and questions as they are stated in the
1. What reasons do executives give for not implementing an ERP solution? Why did Cisco decide to implement
2. What factors contributed to the project's success?
3. What problems occurred during implementation? Could they have been prevented?
4. Describe the pre-ERP IT architecture at Cisco. What are the key weaknesses of this IT environment? How
effectively does the ERP solution address these weaknesses?
5. Evaluate the IT risk profile for the ERP implementation? As a manager, what actions would you take to
mitigate the technology risks of this project?
6. Did Cisco follow a single vendor or best-of-breed approach to ERP implementation? What are the trade-offs
between these alternative approaches?
7. Would you consider this to be a successful project? Why or why not?
Part 2: Group Presentations on ERP Case (The assignment is under Assignments)
IT Staff Groups Advocate for Best of Breed Solution
Consultant Groups Advocate for Integrated Solution
Session 10 - Performance Management & Leadership
Part 1: Group Presentations on ERP Case (The assignment is under Assignments)
Plant manager groups present their decision and the rationale behind it.
Part 2: LEADERSHIP AND PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Managing Performance Harvard Reprint 9-496-022 (in packet)
Leadership that Gets Results Dan Goleman, Harvard Business Review, March-April 2000 (An Ebscohost link.)
This article comes from the author of "Emotional Intelligence" and is the latest version of situational or
contingency theory of leadership (i.e. the best leaders adapt their leadership style to fit the situation at hand).
CASE: Wolfgang Keller at Konigsbrau-Hellas A 9-498-045 (in packet)
1. What is your analysis of the situation facing Keller as he returns to Athens?
2. What is your assessment of Petrou's performance? Please be specific.
3. How effective has Keller been as a coach to Petrou? Why? Could you have done better? Why? How?
4. What are the underlying causes of his performance problems? What actions should Keller take upon
returning to Athens? Be specific.
5. What are the implications for Keller's development as a leader?
Come prepared to assume the role of either Keller or Petrou in a performance review situation.
Session 11 - Systems Development: Design and Implementation
CASE: Mount Auburn: Physician Order Entry (in course packet)
Implementing New Technology. Leonard-Barton, Dorothy and Kraus, William A. Harvard Business Review,
Nov/Dec 1985. (An EBSCOhost link.)
Please click on the "PDF Full Text" link at the top or bottom of the page to retrieve the full text of the
Old Data Systems a Health Care Burden. Healy, Beth. Boston Globe, February 4, 2003.
Please follow these directions to retrieve the full text of this article:
1. Click on this link to get to the library?s Newsbank page. (Right click on the link & Open in a New Window so
you can still get these instructions)
2. Click on the ?Connect to Newsbank? link. (You will need to enter your Babson usename/password if off
3. Click on the ?Start Search? button for the Boston Globe.
4. Click on the ?Customized? tab.
5. In the first ?Search for? box type: ?old health systems? and choose Headline from the dropdown box next to
6. In the ?Limit search by date? area enter: 02/04/2003.
7. Click ?Search? button.
8. Click on the title of the article to retrieve the full text.
Our objective is to explore issues related to systems design and implementation. Read the Mt Auburn case and
then read the article on implementing new technology. The newspaper article sets the context in that the
health care industry is considered behind many other industries in terms of setting up efficient administrative
processes. During the latter part of the class session, we will focus on one of the most critical aspects of
systems development life cycle - the development of user interfaces (UI). We will conduct an exercise in
designing an effective user interface.
There are three lines of questioning involving system implementation issues in the conclusion section of the
case on page 8. These include: training, rollout strategy and testing. A fourth line of questioning involves
evaluating the system once it is implemented. In addition to these questions, you may want to consider the
1. Why are there so many errors in hospitals, where safety and human health are (or should be) the most
2. How can IT help reduce ADEs? What kinds of ADEs, if any, can IT not help with?
3. How would you roll out the new POE system at Mount Auburn? Would you start in Labor and Delivery, or
elsewhere in the hospital? How would you convince physicians to use the new systems? Would you force them
to use it? Could you force them to use it if you wanted to? Would you immediately turn on the system's decision
4. How large an impact do you think the new POE system will have on processes within Labor and Delivery
once it is introduced? Once it is rolled out across the hospital, how large an impact will it have on medical
errors and patient well-being?
5. In addition to a desire to improve patient safety, what other reasons are behind Mount Auburn's decision to
implement its POE system? How common are these reasons outside hospitals and health care?
6. In what ways is the POE effort at Mount Auburn (system selection and implementation) like other corporate
IT projects? In what ways is it different?
Session 12 -- Application Service Providers and the Outsourcing Option
Second Individual Assignment Due
CASE: Xuma (in course packet)
Web and IT Hosting Facilities (in course packet)
Hagel III, John and John Seely Brown. Your Next IT Strategy. Harvard Business Review, October 2001. (An
Hint: It is best to read the Web and IT hosting Facilities technical note first so that you have some basic
understanding of the outsourcing model. Read the case study second, and the 'Your Next IT Strategy' third.
OBJECTIVE: To understand the nature of an Application Service Provider, and to discuss various aspects of
the outsourcing decision. We will also talk about the current and potential impacts on organizations' structure
and the information technology marketplace. Finally, we will briefly talk about the next evolution of ASPs--Web
1. How does the outsourcing model differ from the "traditional" application model where all parts of the
information system are kept in-house.
2. Why use an ASP rather than keep applications in-house? Why might managers decide to keep applications
2. Are ASP services really less expensive than keeping applications in-house? Be critical in answering this
question. What are the costs associated with either model? Can you identify a relatively complete list of
general cost items?
3. What applications might you outsource to an ASP? ....keep in-house? Can you identify types of applications
that would be outsourced and kept in-house?
4. When factors are important to consider when contracting with an ASP?
5. What is a Web Service Provider (WSP)? How do ASPs and WSPs differ?
Session 13 -- Culture & Teams
Building Companies to Last , Collins, J., Inc. Magazine, May 16, 1995(An Ebscohost link.)
*** Excerpt from the definitive 1990's management study, argues for the power of culture to sustain an
Whole Foods is All Teams, Charles Fishman, Fast Company, April 1996
Go to http://www.fastcompany.com/online/02/team1.html#
*** How one company uses culture to improve productivity and satisfaction.
A Note for Analyzing Work Groups (in course packet)
*** An article describing the group composition/task design/culture/effectiveness model we've used in class.
JUST SKIM THIS ARTICLE - IT'S ABOUT THE OB MODEL WE'VE ALREADY DISCUSSED IN CLASS --
Think how this model might apply to the Slade Plating Department...
GoffeE, R. and G. Jones. What Holds the Modern Company Together? (An Ebscohost link.)
CASE: Slade Plating Company
1. How would you describe the culture of the Sarto group? Be specific.
2. What factors have led to the emergence of group culture and the current situation in the Plating Department?
HINT: LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE EXHIBITS
3. What impact has the culture had on the effectiveness of the Plating Department?
4. What actions would you take if you were Porter? What are the risks associated with these actions?
Session 14 - Offshore Outsourcing
Will You Survive the Services Revolution? Karmarkar, Uday. Harvard Business Review, June 2004. (An
Rao, Madhu. Key Issues for Global IT Sourcing: Country and Individual Factors. Information Systems
Management Journal,Summer 2004.(An EBSCOhost link.)
OBJECTIVE: We will have a general discussion on the offshore outsourcing option. We will explore the topic
from different perspectives, including those of management, workers and shareholders. We will identify
functions and processes that firms may (not) want to outsource offshore. We will talk about the corresponding
opportunities and risks that arise when resorting to outsourcing offshore, with an emphasis on the ethical
dimensions of the decision. We will identify countries that have attracted many American businesses and other
countries that may in the future, and proceed by specifying important traits or characteristics to look at when
considering a country as a location for offshore outsourcing. Finally, we will discuss tactics for skillful
outsourcing to an offshore location. Come prepared to answer the following questions.
1. Who benefits/loses when firms outsource to an offshore location?
2. What kinds of functions or processes might a firm choose for offshore outsourcing? ...choose to keep at a
3. In general, what are the opportunities and risks associated with offshore outsourcing?
4. Do ethical considerations dictate that American business managers not outsource offshore? If not, how
might one reconcile conflicting view that arise from looking at the issue from an individiaul worker versus a
manager or shareholder?
5. Where are American businesses outsourcing? Why these countries? What do these countries have in
6. How might a manager proceed with outsourcing a group, department or function of a company? What
tactics may be best employed?
Session 15 - Saturday - (3 December) - Emerging Technologies
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm (required)
To explore the impact of emerging technologies, this final Saturday session will focus on student group
presentations of emergent technologies and their impact on organizations in terms of strategy, structure,
processes and and workers.