مطالعه دیدگاه شرکت های تابعه بر برنامه ریزی استراتژیک سیستم های اطلاعاتی در سازمان های چند ملیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28496||2007||29 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||14730 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2007, Pages 324–352
This research examines information systems strategic planning (ISSP) in multinationals from the perspective of the subsidiaries. The research was carried out through interviews with the IT and business managers in subsidiaries of nine large American, European, and Japanese multinationals. The evidence from this study reveals that, in the majority of these organisations, IS planning is either centralised or moving towards centralisation. The main focus of IS planning, in many of these organisations, is to control cost and achieve scale economies. As centralisation increases IT tends to control the planning process and, as a result, IS planning becomes more tactical than strategic and is dominated by IT infrastructure planning. Project implementation was the main criterion used to measure IS planning success. However, due to the dominant role of IT, the subsidiary business managers are often less satisfied with the IS planning approach compared with the subsidiary IT managers. The level of involvement of business managers and their satisfaction with ISSP was related to the degree of decentralisation of responsibility for IS planning.
Even though the field of information systems strategic planning (ISSP) has attracted much research since the 1970s (Doherty et al., 1999, Earl, 1993, Galliers, 1991, Galliers, 1993, Nolan, 1979, Segars and Grover, 1998 and Sullivan, 1985), few studies have focused on multinational organisations. Ives and Jarvenpaa (1991, p. 34) noted that the IS research community “has generally neglected this important area” whereas Deans and Ricks (1993, p. 16) stated that “until very recently there was a complete void in the available literature” pertaining to IS/IT in multinationals. Since 1993, a number of studies (Jarvenpaa and Ives, 1994, King and Sethi, 1999, Manwani and O’Keefe, 2003, Ramarapu and Lado, 1995, Roche, 1996 and Viitanen, 1995) have considered the particular issues of ISSP in multinationals but largely from the corporate perspective. Only the research by Mirchandani and Lederer (2004) has, to date, approached the subject of ISSP explicitly from the point of view of the subsidiaries. The large number of empirical studies in multinationals that relate to domains other than information systems shows that it is increasingly important to conduct studies in multinationals as entities distinct from single-nationals. For example, it was found that multinationals develop their business strategies based on either the different levels of global integration and local responsiveness faced by these organisations (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989 and Prahalad and Doz, 1987) or on the global co-ordination and global configuration of different multinational units (Porter, 1985). Although it can be argued that a multinational environment, from IS/IT standpoints, is purely an extension of a single-national environment, previous research has found that, for instance, the technical and managerial issues in relation to IS/IT faced by these organisations are not all the same (Tractinsky and Jarvenpaa, 1995). Deans and Ricks (1991, p. 73) wrote, “the evidence clearly indicates that difficulties associated with international information systems go beyond those associated with distance alone”, while according to Akmanligil and Palvia (2004), “classifying global system development projects as simply larger versions of their domestic counterparts is an oversimplification”. IT managers in single-nationals were found to place more emphasis on the interdependency and standardisation among different units whereas IT managers in multinationals emphasise the independence of different units in responding to their local environments (Tractinsky and Jarvenpaa, 1995). Previous studies in multinationals have mainly focused on the multinational enterprise as the unit of analysis (Birkinshaw, 1994). However, not all subsidiaries in a given multinational enterprise behave uniformly (Ghoshal and Nohria, 1989, Harzing, 2000 and Martinez and Jarillo, 1991). Martinez and Jarillo (1991) argued that, as different subsidiaries play different roles within the same multinational, the headquarters would treat each subsidiary differently. Therefore, the authors noted, “the relationship between strategy and mechanisms of coordination must be studied at the subsidiary level” (p. 433). Increasingly, research in multinationals is focusing on the subsidiaries (Birkinshaw, 1994, Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000 and O’Donnell, 2000). In addition to different political, legal, economic, social, cultural and technological environments, the complexity and risks involved in planning for IS/IT in multinationals can also be caused by resistance from foreign subsidiaries and the disparity of available IT solutions across the different countries (Ives et al., 1993). The different stages of economic development of the countries in which the subsidiaries operate can create particular issues for both local and corporate IS/IT planning (Palvia et al., 2002). The research described in this paper focused on ISSP from the perspective of multinational subsidiaries. The main objectives of the research were to examine the different approaches to ISSP, adopted by a range of multi-nationals and to understand the extent to which these approaches were perceived to be effective by the managers in those subsidiaries. The research involved interviews with the IT and business managers of nine large American, European and Japanese multinationals. The fieldwork for eight of the companies was conducted at their subsidiaries in Malaysia, the other at its subsidiary in the UK. In addition, managers from four corporate headquarters were interviewed in the USA, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. The paper is divided into seven sections. Following this introduction, Section 2 covers the review of the extant literature. Section 3 describes the research methodology and selection of companies. The evidence from cross-company analysis is summarised in Section 4.1, and Section 5 discusses the research findings and the implications before drawing overall conclusions from the study in Section 6.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The objectives of this research were to examine the different approaches to ISSP adopted by different types of multinational subsidiary and to understand the extent to which these approaches were perceived to be effective. The research shows that it is possible to distinguish between different ISSP orientations in terms of strategic focus, responsibility, and approaches to ISSP and that in many instances these are primarily influenced by the business orientation. The main conclusions that can be drawn from evidence gathered in this research are: 1. Responsibility for ISSP is increasingly being centralised even in subsidiaries that have traditionally enjoyed greater autonomy in ISSP and continue to have more autonomy in other areas of business planning. As responsibility is centralised, the involvement of subsidiary business managers in ISSP reduces and planning either focuses on IT alone or IT management increasingly determine the IS plans. The outcome of this, as evident from this study, is that local business requirements are not being adequately addressed. This is the main reason why, in five of the companies, the subsidiary business managers interviewed were less satisfied with the IS planning approach compared with their IT colleagues. 2. The focus of ISSP in the majority of the companies studied was on controlling costs and achieving scale economies. Only in three companies was there agreed to be close alignment between business and IS/IT strategy at the subsidiary level. In these companies, the focus was on subsidiary initiative or global co-ordination and responsibility for ISSP was relatively decentralised. Subsidiary business managers were involved in the process of planning. In these three companies ISSP, was judged to be more than satisfactory or successful by both business and IT managers. 3. The approaches to ISSP are influenced more by the degree of organisational centralisation of IS/IT planning and control rather than the needs of the subsidiary in terms of its distinctiveness or level of interdependency, or the opportunities for utilising IS/IT to achieve an improved competitive position in its environment. 4. Given that ‘project implementation’ was the main success criterion used in all the companies, the assessment of planning success is likely to have been significantly influenced by the success or otherwise of systems implementations. The consistency of the evidence from these companies suggests that a lack of IS/IT and business strategy alignment at the subsidiary level is a cause of the dissatisfaction at the implementation stage. The findings from this research suggest that in many multinationals, including all those in this study, the conceptualisation of ISSP is often defined more by the operational than the environmental factors identified by Finnegan and Longaigh (2002) and shown in Table 1. For example, at the subsidiary level the emphasis on the need to be responsive and competitive within the local market is important to local management but is often of secondary importance to the multinational’s global business and IS/IT priorities as well as the corporate desire to minimise the costs associated with duplication and overlap. Again, ensuring that the subsidiary is efficient in carrying out its value chain activities is usually seen as more important than dealing with aspects associated with geographical dispersion. The main findings from this work are also likely to be seen as relevant and useful by practitioners especially IS/IT managers in both multinational subsidiaries and corporate headquarters. They provide some explanations of the factors influencing the scope and degrees of discretion that different types of subsidiary have regarding ISSP and the implications for the business satisfaction with IS/IT. In turn, this may enable managers to change some aspects of the approach to ISSP to improve the subsidiaries’ satisfaction with the outcome. Some suggestions that would appear relevant to many organisations are: 1. Even if centralisation yields significant corporate benefits and reduced costs, it does not imply that business managers in the subsidiaries should not be actively engaged in IS planning–both to input their needs and to have some influence over decisions that could affect their subsidiary’s performance. Increasing centralisation of IS/IT should not result in subsidiaries becoming less competitive, especially when initiatives by subsidiary managers to increase competitiveness are expected in other activities, such as marketing or service development. 2. Equally, the adverse perceptions of IS planning by subsidiary business managers could impede the implementation of global strategies. Earlier and more consistent involvement of local business and IS/IT management in the planning of global projects might increase the commitment to successful implementation in the subsidiaries. 3. The perceived benefits of IS in the most of the subsidiaries result from operational improvements, yet there seems little encouragement and few mechanisms to share IS/IT knowledge across subsidiaries in most of the organisations studied. Facilitating managers to learn how those benefits can be achieved from colleagues in other subsidiaries might enable benefits to be replicated and also avoid costs being duplicated, which are two of the reasons often given to justify greater centralisation. 6.1. Research limitations The difficulty in generalising the findings has been one of the criticisms of case study research, compared with quantitative studies. According to Yin (1994), generalisation in the case study research is achieved through analytical generalisation rather than statistical generalisation. Analytical generalisation is context-specific. The evidence gathered in this research may be biased towards small subsidiaries of large multinationals. However, by including the business orientation framework previously been used in quantitative studies in different contexts, it is possible to build on the findings from prior work either to support those conclusions or develop further insights into aspects of multinational strategies not previously studied. By applying the framework to the IS/IT domain, this research shows that although the planning of IS/IT is influenced by the business orientation, it is not sufficient to explain the ISSP orientation in many of the companies studied. While maintaining the level of rigour necessary in conducting this research, another important aim was to ensure that the outcome of this research is relevant to practice. Relevance implies “demonstrating a meaningfulness regarding its application to the significant problems and opportunities being faced by today’s organizations and their members” (Zmud, 1996, p.xxxvii). Relevance was enhanced in this research by the use of interviews, which gave the interviewees opportunities to describe the IS planning issues and approaches openly and not be restricted by structured questionnaires. 6.2. Opportunities for further research We attempted to examine the relationship between subsidiary business interdependency and distinctiveness and ISSP approach. However, since we had only nine cases and five of these cases were concentrated in one particular category (high business interdependency and low business distinctiveness), we could not draw firm conclusions based on this categorisation. More cases or samples need to be included in future research to examine this interesting relationship between business orientation and ISSP. The evidence gathered from the corporate interviewees revealed that the corporate headquarters do treat their subsidiaries in different ways. For example, the corporate CIO of Company 4 quoted that even though IS planning in its Malaysian subsidiary is highly centralised, IS planning in its US subsidiary is decentralised. The reason given was that the US subsidiary is the biggest subsidiary within the group. Future research can examine IS planning in different multinational subsidiaries belonging to a particular multinational in order to examine the effect of subsidiary size or other characteristics on the IS planning approach. It should also be noted that the survey by Mirchandani and Lederer (2004) found no correlation between subsidiary size and the subsidiaries’ degrees of ISSP autonomy. Even though the issues related to different national cultures were explored during this research, none of the respondents believed them to be important. Furthermore, it was not the aim of this research to focus on national cultures as almost all the subsidiaries operate in the same country. In a more diverse sample, culture might well emerge as an influencing factor. Also, different corporate cultures could potentially affect both the nature of the approach to ISSP and the corporate-subsidiary management relationships but these were not studied in this research. The lack of comments on cultural issues may also, in part, be explained by the predominantly operational and technical rather than strategic focus of ISSP in the organisations studied. However, if future research conducted in subsidiaries could specifically explore this issue, it would further our understanding of the IS planning and management in multinationals since culture has been found to affect other business domains of multinationals, such as research and development (Jones and Teegen, 2001), human resources performance measurement (Lindholm, 2000) and financial performance (Newman and Nollen, 1996). Finally, further studies to specifically compare and contrast organisations where similar global IS/IT strategies resulted in different levels of success, both corporately and across different subsidiaries, would confirm or otherwise the practical value of our suggestions at the end of the previous section, for achieving more effective IS/IT management in a multinational environment.