Developing a Technology Management Curriculum from the Perspective of Strategic Intent
Bellamy, Al, Becker, Pamela, Kuwik, Paul, Journal of Technology Studies
Universities throughout the country have become increasingly aware of the competitive environment in which they exist. The emergence of such functional units as extended degree learning programs, satellite extensions, online courses, and corporate education programs and a substantial increase in marketing and advertising campaigns attest to this age of competitive enlightenment. Recent and emerging demographic changes in birth rates and age distribution along with the emergence of colleges that utilize nontraditional delivery methods of educational services are capturing the attention of an increasingly limited pool of students, presenting a real threat to institutional homeostasis. Accordingly, institutions of higher education, similar to their private enterprise counterparts, find themselves with the unfamiliar task of strategically competing for students. It is imperative that universities understand the authenticity of this competitive environment and the entropie forces that it produces. Similar to the private sector, universities must realize the importance of developing programs and services that will not only sustain institutional integrity but also lead to competitive advantage. As Levine (2000) stated:
The survival of some institutions... will be increasingly threatened by both domestic and foreign for-profit institutions, as well as nonprofit competitors like libraries and museums that also have entered the educational marketplace. Moreover, technologies are encouraging the rise of global universities, which transcend national boundaries. The most successful institutions will be those that can respond quickest and offer a high quality education to an international student body. (p. 14)
Many different types of organizations are seeking ways in which to strategically utilize technology as a way to enhance their operational effectiveness and efficiency and to gain competitive advantage. However, there is a paucity of technology management programs within universities and colleges that offer comprehensive instruction on this topic. The absence of such programs represents an opportunity for academic institutions to respond to a significant environmental need through the development of a technology management program.
This article has two primary objectives. The first objective is to provide a basic definition for technology management. There is a lack of common understanding and definition of technology management within the academic community. Technology management is more than just a conglomeration of courses. It has an identified body of knowledge that can be taxonomized and operationally defined. Technology management reflects the need to identify and comprehend radical changes that are occurring at historical, technological, and institutional levels of analyses that few perceive with clarity. We contend that it is precisely the ambiguity inherent within the current informational technology revolution that has created a critical need for programs that clarify, illuminate, and serve as a heuristic guideline for practitioners attempting to navigate their organizations through relatively unknown contours of the information age.
The second objective is to discuss how a viable technology management program can be used as a strategy for responding to student-client demands for management programs relevant to technology. We will attempt to describe the need to develop programs within the framework of strategic intent, a concept developed by Hamel and Prahalad (1993), which emphasizes the importance of systematically integrating strategy and implementation processes to effectively accomplish organizational objectives directed towards obtaining strategic advantage.
Technology Management Defined
Even though there is empirical evidence that most private and public organizations perceive technology management as something that could help to improve their operations, there is no common or comprehensive interpretation of its meaning found among practitioners and academics (Steele, 1989). …