Education

LEARNING FROM THE ICT INDUSTRY REALLIFE CONTEXT

TURNAROUND EVOLUTION IN THE ICT INDUSTRY

After the ICT bubble period it seems that industry has moved to a new phase of evolution. Complexity and ambiguity have increased and the lucrative image of ICT has diminished (Earl 2003). Investors now understand more about the nature of the ICT industry and think more carefully of using their money.

Information systems are now more integrated which demands not just nice multimedia properties: there are also difficult combinations of different age transaction systems. Internal systems renewal is just a start for whole industry-level changes.

Universities and other educational institutions need to build competencies to recognize and share these challenges. One way of doing this is to involve students in small field works and even action research projects. Li this paper an attempt is made to discuss topics and learning areas in which this particular leadership culture is dominating.

A Need for Contextual Understanding

The ICT industry went through a period of strong tumover of personnel which occasionally resulted in poor quality management, and productivity problems. Business know-how was too often sacrificed for hiitial Public Offerings. Hence, growing importance is now on sensibility of the work, work community, organisational culture and management style.

The proposed framework serves as a theoretical lens for exploration. Competitive requirements make companies aware of good quahty and project deadlines. Personnel differences refer to differences in age, culture, job career, professional backgrounds, even gender, and race in some contextual settings.

REAL LIFE CONTEXTS AND LEARNING CHALLENGES

This context is represented in typical start-up ICT companies, such as the so-called new media companies of the 1990s. Customer intimacy might be very intensive and knowledge sharing is easy due to small company size.

Diversity Management

This context is typical for some of the fast growing dotcom-companies. After having increased their size, acquired smaller firms and got Initial Public Listing (DPO) their rapid growth has caused communication problems and a clash of cultures.

Many “family” companies have been “chopped in pieces”. Relation-specific assets grow but they are fragmented. Customers are not instantly customers of the new merger-based company.

Professional Practice Management

This is the direction for rather homogenous company personnel in an increasing competitive situation. Companies can create systematic approaches, improve strategies, structures, and processes in line with customer demands. Especially project managers need to be aware of project deadlines, strong enough to resist “last minute changes” and “over-quality”.

The advantage of these companies is customer relationships. Professional rules, patterns, and even support systems can help sharing knowledge inside the company and within customers. Complementary competencies are identified and constant review of service quality is done. Governance is more systematic but enables freedom when necessary.

Total Quality and Learning Management

This context requires both the management of competitive forces and also different personnel management approaches. These companies are normally big players with diverse personnel also working abroad. They need to take care of both old legacy systems and emerging new e-business systems. Often these organizations take care of outsourcing and application service provision and also may hire people for customer companies.

Relation-specific assets are usually managed by customer account managers. Projects and customers are categorized. Companies have initiated both formal and informal knowledge sharing practices. Complementary resources are gained through team building, task forces and evolving organizational arrangements. Governance uses total quality management.

CONCLUDING

Real-life learning challenges were examined in the context of the ICT industry. One of the most challenging issues is leadership in emergent situations. Contextual changes can be due to competitive factors or evolution of the personnel variances. As start-up companies need IT competence and high level motivation of creating new artefacts in an inspiring atmosphere, a fast-growing IT company needs a more controlled and systematized way of doing business. “Clashes of culture” mean that knowledge is needed when companies outsource or merge together.

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