“Information Technology and Innovation” by Jon‐Arild Johannessen

Summary of the Article

Organizations that operate in today’s competitive world cannot function properly without incorporating technology into their daily activities. In particular, investing in information technology (IT) guarantees businesses greater performance and, consequently, profitability. The article “Information Technology and Innovation: Identifying Critical Innovation Factors” by Jon‐Arild Johannessen examines the central role that IT plays in influencing organizational change. This author links the need for information technology to the ever-changing clients’ demands and ways of doing business. Although Johannessen does not explicitly state his study’s problem, it is noticeable in the introductory paragraph. This article seeks to examine the function that IT plays in determining the arrangement of a company’s organizational structure as part of change management.

According to Johannessen, examining the issue of IT and organizational structural change in contemporary businesses cannot be exhaustive without a mention of concepts such as innovation and exovation. Although the available literature has substantially examined the former idea of innovation, this article acknowledges that exovation is a new phenomenon, which captures aspects that businesses have to put in place to maximize their capacity to undertake innovations. Johannessen introduces a detailed plan of how his article will investigate the link between IT and modernization in organizations. This study does not specify any method for use to analyze its problem. However, the use of the existing literature as a possible method is observable in the article. Nonetheless, several findings from this study have been highlighted, including the role of IT in augmenting crucial transformations regarding the manner of operations in institutions.

A Critical Evaluation of the Article

In many scholarly documents, authors seem to adopt standard formatting whereby crucial sections such as the introduction, the problem statement, research questions, the literature review, discussions, findings, recommendations, and conclusions are addressed separately for clarity purposes. This plan not only helps in ensuring that all issues regarding a particular subject are sufficiently investigated but also ensures that the targeted audience among other analysts does not struggle to understand a particular author’s point of view or thesis. Despite examining an issue that is central to present-day business operations, Johannessen does not follow the above typical arrangement. However, a close examination of his work reveals that all aspects mentioned earlier are indeed incorporated into his work.

Virtually all scholarly studies regarding a particular subject give one or more questions that show the reader the issue under investigation. Such inquiries are expected to match the problem stated in the respective work. They reveal critical elements the specific author wishes to respond to using their preferred methods. It is crucial to ensure that these questions appear within or immediately after the introductory paragraph. However, some questions fail to capture the core of the subject under study. In the current article, readers are introduced to the concept of IT and its impact on organizational structural change driven by innovation. As such, they anticipate a question that is tailored to match these aspects. Johannessen’s question reads, “How does IT affect the organizational structure?” (p. 4). In addition to meeting readers’ expectations in terms of its strategic location within the introductory section, this question is premeditated because it allows the author to sufficiently examine the implied issue of institutional change and innovation brought about by the incorporation of IT into an organization’s operations.

This article fits into other studies on the subject of IT and innovation. Just like other scholarly findings, this work acknowledges the central role that IT has held in advancing the manner of doing work, the structuring of various organizational activities, steering institutional transformations, and paving the way for innovative and strategic business prospects. Johannessen’s article does not miss other studies it should have reviewed when coming up with the content of this work. The author’s plan of distributing close to 40 scholarly works from previous authors implies that he has conducted a thorough literature search. Nevertheless, some readers expect keywords such as innovation to be accompanied by corresponding studies that not only define them but also specify what they entail. Although the word “innovation” appears more than 80 times in the current article, no attempt has been made to describe it. This omission may be viewed as the author’s deliberate move that is founded on the awareness that many people operating in today’s competition-driven world not only know what innovation means but also understand how technology has influenced its application to many organizations.

The problem being examined may partly be regarded as matching the method deployed to respond to the key question. As earlier mentioned, Johannessen’s study investigates the extent to which IT influences organizational structural changes through its capacity to result in innovative ideas. The implied literature review approach captures this problem well. The section that succeeds in the introductory segment introduces essential innovation aspects that have a bearing on information technology. For instance, this author examines the idea of change agents whereby he reviews the literature on this category of people before claiming that very few of them have been found to actively embrace IT-generated innovations to enhance their organizations’ vision and mission statements.

To address his problem, Johannessen effectively deploys views of other scholars, for instance, when contrasting the role of change agents and IT champions to confirm that information technology is indeed the way to go for institutions that wish to abandon conventional ways of operating, such as the use of information management systems. According to this article, any statement used for substantiating claims, for instance, IT experts’ ability to advance organizational activities and image without seeking “help from the information system department to generate new ideas” (p. 5), is well supported. Overall, when analyzing the contribution of IT to organizational transformations through modernization, Johannessen derives all data from the existing literature regarding the subject. Important keywords that may have guided his search include innovation, IT, and organizational structure, and change management. However, the reason behind my claim that the problem is partly in line with the method used is that no separate section is set for the literature review to confirm the extent to which the author justifies that the stated gap in IT exists.

Findings given in the current article are not reported in a consistent and clear manner. Every study is aimed at presenting judgments that can be used by other scholars for further explorations on particular topics. In fact, many authors go a step further to clarify whether their results can be generalized or not. Shedding light on this issue helps interested scholars to determine the extent to which they can rely on such studies on their works. In the current article, although Johannessen attempts to list various findings from the MIT Sloan School of Management, it remains unclear to the reader concerning whether they depict the real results targeted by this author or not. Confusion arises because one would interpret such findings as representing a separate study by the MIT Sloan School of Management, as opposed to the article under investigation. Johannessen seems to shift his focus from analyzing results from the literature review’s observation to explaining results from the above managerial institution.

For instance, on page six, he singles out one of the MIT Sloan School of Management’s findings, where he presents IT as capable of “helping to integrate the functions of the activity at all levels within and among organizations” (p. 6). If such results indicate the actual response to the problem stated earlier, readers would expect the article to examine all the six findings. Consequently, it is possible to make two conclusions from Johannessen’s study. Firstly, one may assume that he did not report any findings. Secondly, another reader may interpret this observation to mean that this article discussed its results in the course of presenting the literature review. However, the latter conclusion would be unlikely because the word “finding” appears only three times in the entire study. From another perspective, although this author claims to summarize the results of his research in Table 1, it would take the reader more time before understanding what is reported therein. Overall, it is troublesome to interpret the current article’s findings, despite the author’s efforts to capture them in his article.

I have noticed problems with data that the article overlooked. For instance, presenting a list of six findings and summarizing them in an unclear table instead of expounding on each of them implies the abandonment of crucial information. Moreover, this study would have been more resourceful if the author gave examples from real-life companies whereby IT was deployed successfully to facilitate innovation and, consequently, structural changes. In addition, the claim that information technology can hinder the implementation of a particular innovation plan would have made more sense if accompanied by a case in point whereby a particular business had its modernization agendas interrupted because of the wrong application of information technology strategies.

Instead, Johannessen only supports his claim by stating, “IT can hamper an innovation process…if the use of IT generates a segmentalistic culture” (p. 6). No previous studies are deployed to support this argument. However, this article acknowledges the existence of limitations. The issue raised above regarding the incomprehensiveness of Table 1 is captured as a limitation. Johannessen confirms that indeed this tabulated summary is unfinished because it not only fails to include several additional findings but also does not depict the actual views of the study’s problem. Including this information in research helps readers to realize that any weakness encountered in a study may be resulting from the stated limitations.

In addition to the article’s logic being clear, claims made are supported using convincing data. Johannessen’s presentation of the issue of IT and its influence on business operations is reasonable. Readers are introduced to various aspects that constitute IT, including hardware, software, and smart chips, among others. In addition, his presentation of the link between information technology and organizational structure or change is logical. Readers without an IT or organizational operations background may never question any information given because everything is clearly explained. Nonetheless, not fallacies are spotted in the current article.

My Opinion on the Article

I agree with the current article’s findings. In my perspective, this study’s presentation of the concept of IT and its application to organizational activities is not only detailed but also in line with previous scholarly works on this particular subject. Instead of setting aside a section on the review of literature whereby crucial information borrowed from other authors can be included, this article distributes such information in all sections, including the introductory paragraph. In my opinion, the author may have done so deliberately as a way of demonstrating to scholars or readers that most of the information they give represents views of other researchers.

I support Johannessen’s belief that the acknowledgment of authorship should be done continuously, as opposed to appreciating scholars’ opinions only in the literature review section. For instance, to confirm that the new idea of exovation is borrowed from external sources, Johannessen includes corresponding literature materials. In this article, he presents it as “a concept used by Clark and Staunton…defining what has to exist in an organization to ensure full utilization of the innovation potential” (p. 4). Despite such recognition, I view it as misplaced because some studies allocate a distinct section on definitions of various terms and phrases. However, I do not remain skeptical of Johannessen’s results because they match my expectations regarding this subject. Overall, I regard the article as informative and worth reading, especially by individuals who may be planning to deploy IT to facilitate their operations.

The Article’s Contribution to Knowledge and its Application to Today’s World

The current article contributes significantly to the knowledge regarding the subject of IT, innovation, and organizational change. Scholars who wish to investigate previous authors’ findings on these topics may consult the study by Johannessen because it offers detailed and well-supported materials to substantiate the claim that indeed IT has a bearing on organizations’ structural changes because of innovations associated with information technology champions. Regarding its application to today’s world, Johannessen’s study presents a crucial subject that business proprietors would wish to be introduced to, especially those who may be seeking to advance their ways of doing work. Many companies are emphasizing the need for innovative ideas as a way of making them profitable in their respective competitive areas of operations. While some organizations rely on conventional strategies for developing original ways of doing business, the current article offers an advanced mechanism whereby institutions can seize innovative opportunities created by IT experts.

Suggestions to Improve the Article

Almost all studies have gaps that can be sealed to enhance their quality and reliability. It is crucial to note that such weaknesses are not created intentionally. However, they pave the way for continuous explorations on a particular subject. Although the current article is praised for its tremendous presentation of the subject of IT and its role in influencing organizational operations, it would have been more resourceful if various sections were investigated separately. For instance, having a distinct segment reviewing the existing literature or developing a disparate problem statement would have allowed the author to capture crucial information sufficiently. In particular, the confusion witnessed when examining this article’s findings would have been avoided if Johannessen had a distinct results presentation section. In addition, capturing some real-life examples of companies that have deployed IT successfully to make structural changes would have added more value to this article.