Technological advances lead to organizational change

May 23, 2011

Changes due to new technologies take time and are difficult to overview. This is a conclusion made in a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg. The author of the thesis, researcher Sara Hjelm Lidholm, studied a company's transition from mail order to e-commerce over a period of 10 years. The results of the transition include an entirely new organisation and an increased customer focus with stronger customer relations.

Sara Hjelm Lidholm followed a Swedish company's transition from being a mail order company to becoming an e-commerce company for a period of 10 years – a period that included both the IT bubble and the broadband explosion. Hjelm Lidholm for example studied how the function of e-commerce changed over time and how this changed the entire organisational structure of the company.

'When the company started using the Internet to sell products in 1996, it was perceived as a complement to the catalogue and other sales channels. Today the Internet is the company's number one sales channel, and this transition has led to extensive organisational change and sometimes also to conflicts between departments and between new and old staff,' says Hjelm Lidholm.

Sara Hjelm Lidholm for example points to the fact that the company's development initially was led by the IT department and the available technology at the time with a view of the Internet as a shop window. Today, all parts of the company are completely customer oriented, and the development is mainly led by the marketing department. The Internet is where the company conducts its business, implying that it has moved closer to and developed stronger links with the customers.

One conclusion reached by Hjelm Lidholm is that there are no quick fixes in a process of major change – every involved actor must complete all the necessary phases. The original definition of the work is never the same as the definition used at the end of the work – the available opportunities and technologies, as well as the world at large, keep changing.

'Processes of change triggered by new technologies are particularly difficult to predict and assess over time, since new opportunities emerge and the playing field keeps changing. As a result, the process must be continually adjusted to suit the way things unfold. And any work of change takes time – in fact, it usually takes much longer than initially thought.'

Explore further: IT-enabled change must involve the entire organization

Related Stories

IT-enabled change must involve the entire organization

March 29, 2010

The secret to successful IT-enabled change is the right balance between "hard" factors like planning, goals, structure and system architecture and "soft" factors like mindset, culture and organisation. This is one conclusion ...

Profiting on the Internet

March 17, 2010

Despite the hyperbole, there are many examples that prove that business use of the Internet is not always profitable, the bursting of the bubble aside. Now, a Tunisian researcher reports in the International Journal ...

Domain registry on the rise

April 27, 2006

Internet domain names may become as ubiquitous as Social Security numbers one day, according to Dotster Inc.

Time Warner Cable sees Web future as 1Q tops views

April 28, 2011

(AP) -- Time Warner Cable Inc.'s high-speed Internet service overshadowed its core cable TV business as a boost in broadband subscribers contributed to a 52 percent increase in first-quarter net income.

Venda riding e-commerce boom

May 3, 2006

E-commerce is booming, and growing e-sales outsource company Venda is aiming to keep riding that boom to the top.

Recommended for you

How to cut your lawn for grasshoppers

November 22, 2017

Picture a grasshopper landing randomly on a lawn of fixed area. If it then jumps a certain distance in a random direction, what shape should the lawn be to maximise the chance that the grasshopper stays on the lawn after ...

Plague likely a Stone Age arrival to central Europe

November 22, 2017

A team of researchers led by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has sequenced the first six European genomes of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis dating from the Late Neolithic ...

Ancient barley took high road to China

November 21, 2017

First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both a winter and summer crop during a thousand-year ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.