Strategy Formation in Universities: Changing Strategic Decision Processes of Loosely Coupled Systems Through Information Technologies
It has been widely accepted among organizational researchers and practicing administrators that “loose-coupling” and “garbage-can models” are accurate descriptions of organization and decision making in universities and colleges. They all agree that strategy formation is difficult in loosely coupled organizations. According to the dominant theory, organizations in times of crisis should tighten up their couplings and adopt centralized analytical strategies. However, since the characteristic feature of university decision making is ambiguity, if they become tightly coupled, universities will lose sensitivity and flexibility to the environment and fail to adapt themselves to environmental changes. Through intensive case studies of a private college, I have developed and verified new hypotheses: information technologies can improve strategic decision processes at universities and enable them to formulate and implement effective strategies without tightening the couplings. Unfortunately, university administrators in Japan have no concern for utilizing information technology in management. I want to make ISAGA’91 an occasion to change their attitude.