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Management Information Systems Professor Presents Findings to Canadian Information Processing Society

Wednesday, July 15 2015 12:00am

Does your business have the systems in place to support innovation?

In today’s rapidly changing business climate, organizations are challenged to respond at the speed-of-market to new business opportunities. Recently, Dr. Nadège Levallet, a Management Information Systems professor in the College of Business, was invited to present her thesis findings to the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), the professional association for IT practitioners in Canada. Levallet’s research centered on the role that information technology and systems play in helping leadership seize unexpected business opportunities, an organizational capability called strategic improvisation.

“The discussion with the participants at CIPS focused on the best environment to foster strategic improvisation, including information technologies and the type of organizational structure and culture that are best to facilitate experimentation and risk-taking,” said Levallet.

 Levallet conducted two studies. The first was a case study around four small to medium size organizations in Canada. For each organization, Levallet interviewed the top management team members probing how leadership addresses unexpected business opportunities, strategic market threats, and how the rapid industry changes affect an organization’s ability to innovate.

The second study was a survey of 100 Canadian subject matter experts with multiple respondents in senior levels. The data was analyzed using two different statistical methods to discover which groups of conditions are more favorable for the development of strategic improvisation.

“Overall the results point to a need for organizations to develop a flexible IT infrastructure, along with information management capabilities and organizational memory,” said Levallet. “That structure allows organizations to address business opportunities as they arise without being weighed down by systems that aren’t designed to provide instant data, insight, and communication abilities.”

Levallet presented attendees with a step-by-step approach that decision-makers can implement to develop strategic improvisation capabilities in their organization. In addition to an evaluation of the organization’s competitive environment and culture, top managers should also assess their IT strategy, which determines the capabilities to develop. For instance, an organization with an innovative IT strategy should focus on a highly flexible IT infrastructure combined with a strong organizational memory.