Information Technology, Organisations, and People: Transformations in the UK Retail Financial Services Sector

By Jeff Watkins | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

This conclusion has two sections. Section 1: An overview of the research findings summarises the survey findings under the headings: Technology and New organisations. Section 2: Transformation: an analysis discusses transformation under the headings: Phases of business transformation; The transformation process and Mindset.

This study analyses business transformation in the sector by reference to a number of models which have their roots in rational planning/information processing theory, in particular, Venkatraman’s business transformation model and Galliers’ stages of growth model. Like all models they have their limitations. Doyle (1991) argues that most are unidimensional and simplistic and therefore fail to capture the dynamic nature of the interaction between the organisation, competition and technology. He warns of the danger of frameworks becoming ‘cages’ which force both the researcher and the user to think in one particular direction and to adopt predetermined classifications. Others, such as Farbey et al. (1995), argue that their strategic focus neglects operational and implementation issues which are the manager’s main concern.

Although they have weaknesses, the models used in this study also have considerable strengths. They are based on years of in-depth research by teams of leading academics and provide a synthesis of their work. They offer valuable high-level ways of explaining key strategic developments clearly to both academic and management audiences and in so doing they create a bridge between theory and management practice. In particular they are useful in that they offer a ‘big picture’ perspective, an overview of the way an industry sector is developing. They provide a starting point for strategic analysis, a way of cutting through the complexity to develop greater understanding. Treacy (1986) puts the continuing popularity and endurance of such models down to the fact that they are ‘more powerful than competing language systems for describing elements of the research.’ In other words they are one of the most effective ways of explaining abstract theories and concepts to the practising manager. However, it is clearly important never to lose sight of the fact that the model used can never fully describe the ‘rich picture’ and that it is merely a tool, one of many tools to aid understanding.

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