BIS Discipline Seminar: Dr Walter Fernandez
Dr Walter Fernandez is Professor at the School of Information Systems and Technology Management. Walter worked for 20 years in corporate Australia before moving to academe in 2003. Walter has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in top international conferences and journals. He serves at editorial boards of first-tier academic journals including the Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), the European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS) and Information Systems Research (ISR) and is a Founding President of the Special Interest Groups on Grounded Theory Methodology at the Association for Information Systems. His research focuses on managing major IT projects and programs, implementing information technology projects in developing countries, and achieving value with strategic and transformational deployment of IT. He teaches project and program management at postgraduate level.
In the quest to achieve new levels of organizational agility, efficiency, and flexible use of human resources, organizations often find it necessary to transform their practices. In such cases, the organization’s top executives mandate transformation programs to be implemented as a set of coordinated projects that contribute to achieving the organization’s strategic objectives. Information technologies (IT) are perceived as key enablers of these transformational programs due to their potential to both facilitate the management of the new environment and support the organization’s employee in performing their jobs under new expectations of responsiveness and collaboration.
Yet, despite the enabling support of IT and the transformation imperatives, there is a significant gap between the need for change and its successful implementation. Converting top executives’ aspirations for organizational transformation into reality can be a risky endeavour, and often is. At risk is the prestige of the organization and that of the leaders promoting transformation, plus the careers of the organization’s employees. For the transformation disrupts long-stablished practices of hundreds of employees. Risking such far reaching destabilisation is not taken lightly and is often a response to critical imperatives, when other options are not perceived as possible.
This presentation will highlight emerging findings from an ongoing longitudinal case study of a strategic program of transformation conducted at a major Australian government department. Initial analysis of findings from this case study suggest that the application of affordance theory will provide a useful lens through which to examine the complexity of significant elements at work in organizational transformation programs. Further, our case proposes that while programs of transforming practice are risky, the risk can be mitigated by adopting a set of strategies that facilitate the idealisation, co-creation, and actualization of the technological affordances that underpin organisational transformation.