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From Compromise to Harmony: Organisational Innovations through Information Systems

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Feng Li


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Using the evidence gathered from 22 large firms in the UK since 1990, this paper highlights a radical change in a basic rule of organisational design: “from compromise to harmony”. Most existing organisational designs are based on a series of compromises (for instance, between central control and empowerment, or between spatial separation and process integration). Conventional organisational reforms have tended to change the balance between these compromises, and the improvement of one aspect often happens at the expense of the other. However, some recent evidence suggests that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to resolve such compromises, and an organisation today can become more decentralised with improved central control, for example. This change can have profound implications for the future form of organisations. The paper goes on to argue that organisational redesign through ICTs should be treated explicitly as an emerging field of inquiry, and it will provide the basis for a new generation of organisational theories for the information economy. To fulfil this challenging task, at least three types of research are needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Information Management

Year: 1997

Volume: 17

Issue: 6

Pages: 451-464

Print publication date: 10/06/1998

ISSN (print): 0268-4012

ISSN (electronic): 1873-4707

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0268-4012(97)00027-3


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