EBusiness and Organisational Change: Reconciling traditional values with business transformation

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Authors: L. Harris, P. Jackson

Publication Year: 2003

Source: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/47199/1/Jackson-Harris2002.doc

Journal: Journal of Organizational Change Management

Volume: 16

Issue: 5

Categories: Change, Organizational Change


While much attention has recently been focused on the problems facing Internet start-ups, the challenge of e-business affects a much broader constituency of organisations. For established companies, the key challenge is one of change. Such companies must rethink fundamental aspects of company strategy, which may lead to a radical overhaul of existing ways of doing business, with company structure and culture becoming much more customer-focused. Resistance at all company levels may need to be overcome, with a need to build commitment and consensus around e-business strategies. However, companies must also deal with a paradox in e-business change. As the “dot.com” crash showed, there are many strengths in “bricks and mortar” companies. Evolving a new business model based around “e-enablement” must therefore avoid the “baby and bathwater syndrome”. Only by recognising and rising to these challenges and dilemmas, and devoting sufficient time, resources and expertise to them, will companies make a success of their e-business ventures.

Critical Reflection

The authors in the paper first distinguish eCommerce from eBusiness. It first states when it comes to eCommerce strategies they are often characterized by companies that have online catalogues and allow people to order their products online. In contrast to eCommerce, the eBusiness Strategies cover the whole organization and aim to enhance the relationships with the costumers. Also this paper states that nowadays internet and eBusiness are having a major role and impact on organizations. This impact can be either beneficial to the company or lead it to failure depending on how companies incorporate the new values associated with e-business. When it comes to change management it becomes necessary when developing eBusiness strategies that the Change management team spend time “sharpening the big question”, this can be achieve by asking question such as:

•Which business areas are we open to exploring, and which are we going to avoid? •Which parts of our business are going online fastest? •What changes do we expect from competitors? •Which start-ups are going to put us out of business? •Which of our competitors would make good partners? After presenting the two cases (Global technology Company, Uk Retailer) it is concluded that the more agile newcomers organization are not always the more successful. The economy itself favors the companies that were created before this technology revolution, helping them to face start-ups competition. One of the problems of these startups is that they often arrive with the vision of changing the world instead of establishing effective routines for their operations. In the end the authors warn the ‘old companies’ that implementing eBusiness in the company will have big changes that can’t be done overnight. Most of the stakeholders will be affected by this change and also new skills and forms of behavior will appear. Also is denoted the importance to reduce the resistant of the company towards new changes to prevent the company to stay behind and to avoid their position in the market to be challenged.