Desktop: How culture in an international multi-locational travel organisation affects technology decisions in business process re-engineering

  • Anna MacVicar
  • Hilary Main
Conference paper


This paper is focused on an organisation (Company X) which is currently moving from traditional hierarchical functional departments (“silos”) to an empowered, delayered enterprise business culture. This has been precipitated by the desire to add value, implement cultural change in tandem with the acquisition of a new computer system at the cost of forty two million pounds. Given the increasing costs, both in terms of money and time to design and implement new information systems in large organisations, it is crucial to attain high acceptability and internal customer satisfaction, particularly within a company with significant powerful stakeholders. It is a difficult task to align the differing views of these groups to enable sound communication, interaction and collaboration, particularly in a “push scenario”. This work looks at a case study of the recent implementation of DESKTOP, an EDS/ORACLE based management information system within an organisation where a platform has been developed for their legacy system. Ideally a seamless transformation is required with high levels of user satisfaction. This paper seeks to focus on the internal cultural diversities of management, at all levels and examines the steps required to reach a consensus on the purchase of the new technology. The identification of key stages in the purchase/decision making process for this organisation will be considered. Various methodologies are used to gather the required data including a literature review and in depth interviews with a sample of key decision makers within the company and on the steering committee, set up to facilitate the change. This research concludes that internal and external culture directly affects the chosen technology solution. This technology solution was perceived by key personnel as an intermediate step while the organisation developed towards a “shadow pyramid” culture. There are research suggestions made to improve/enhance the acceptability to existing internal customers and future project implementation.


Business Process Chief Executive Officer Task Culture Team Culture Research Suggestion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anfuso D & Meadows, JL (1994) AT &T connects HR and Business leaders for success, Personnel Journal, Vol 73, No 12, pp 84–93Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ashburner, L (1996) Impact of technological and organisational change, Personnel Review, Vol 19, No 2, pp 16–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baba M etal (1996) Technology management and American culture: implications for business process re-design, Research methodology Management, Vol 39, No 6, pp 44–54MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baba, Metal (1996) American Culture and technology: historically grounded biases, Research Technology Management, Vol 39, No 6, pp 46MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blaxter L et al (1996) How to Research, Open University Press, BuckinghamGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cartwright, S & Cooper C (1989)) Predicting success in joint venture organisations in information technology, journal of General Management, Vol 15, No 1, pp 32–52Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chester, A (1997) Business culture and the practice of technology management, international Journal of Technology management, Vol 13, No 2, pp 120–132MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Child, J (1987) Information technology, organisation and the response to strategic challenges, California management review, Vol 30, No 1Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Davis S & Davidson B (1991) 2020 Vision: Transform your business Today to succeed in tomorrow’s economy, New York, Simon & SchusterGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dehler, G (1997) The T-form organisation: using technology to design organisations for the 21st century and waves of change: business evolution through information technology, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Vol 13, No 3, 4, pp 315–319Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Depres, C (1997) Information technology and culture, Technovation, Vol 16, No 1, pp 1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fiedler Ketal (1996) An empirically derived taxonomy of information technology structure and its relationship to organisational structure, Journal of Management Information systems, Vol 13, No 1, pp 9–34Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Groth, J (1993) Critical factors in exploiting technologies, Management decisions, Vol, No 3, pp 34–47MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kervin J (1992) Methods for Business Research, Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kolodny H et al (1996) New technology and the emerging organisational paradigm, Human Relations, Vol 49, no 12, -1487Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Konczak, L (1997) Teams and technology: fulfilling the promise of the new organisation, Personnel Psychology, Vol 50, No 1, pp 213–216Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lai V & Guynes J (1997) An assessment of the influence of organisational characteristics on information technology adoption decision: a discriminative approach, Transactions on Engineering Management, Vol 44, No 2, pp 146–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lefebvre L et al (1997) The influence prism in SMEs: the power of CEO’s perceptions on technology policy and its organisational impacts, Management Science, Vol 43, No 6, pp 856–878MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    McCleary K (1995) The effects of advanced information technology on organisational design, Health Manpower Management, Vol 21, No 2, pp 20–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mitra, S et al (1996) Analysing cost effectiveness of organisations; the impact of information technology spending, Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol 13, No 2, pp 29–57Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mullins L et al (1996) Developing culture in short-life organisations, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol 5, No 4, 15–19MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Peters T (1993) Liberation Management, Pan books Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Peters T & Waterman R (1982) In search of excellence, New York, Harper & RowGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pollert, A (1987) The flexible firm: a model in search of reality, or a policy in search of a practice, Warwick papers in industrial relations, No 19, DecemberGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Randlestone C & Butler, S (1992) Business environment and business culture, Business Studies, October, 1 pp 11–13Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rodgers, EM (1983) Diffusion of innovation, 3rd ed, The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Royle, T (1995) Corporate culture vs societal culture: a comparative study of human resource strategies in two European countries, Germany and the UK, Labour Process Conference, AprilGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ruohonen, M (1991) Stakeholders of strategic information systems planning, The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol 1, No 1, pp 15–29MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Senker, J & Senker P (1992) Gaining competitive advantage from information technology, Journal of General Management, Vol 17, No 3, pp 31–46Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Schein EH (1985) Organisational culture and leadership, San Francisco, Jossey BassGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Thong, J (1995) CEO characteristics, organisational characteristics and information technology adoption in small business, Omega, Vol 23, no 4, pp 429–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Toffler A (1990) Power Shift: knowlegde wealth and violence at the end of the 21st century, New York, BantamGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Vicere, A (1995) Executive education and strategic imperatives: a formula for crafting imperatives, American Journal of management Development, Vol 1, No 2, pp 31–36Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Whiting CE & Gilbert NE (1993) Reaching hidden stakeholders (empowernment), The Journal for Quality and Participation, Vol 16, No 3, pp 58–63Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna MacVicar
    • 1
  • Hilary Main
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hospitality, Tourism & LeisureGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Swansea Business SchoolMount Pleasant, SwanseaUK

Personalised recommendations