Discussion: (250-300 words)
 This week we focus on globalization concepts.  Please explain the concept of globalization and the role information technology has in the global market. 
Assignment (2 pages in total  (one page for each topic) ):
 Information Systems for Business and Beyond Questions
Chapter 11 – study questions 1-10, Exercise 1
Chapter 12 – study questions 1-11, Exercise 1
Information Technology and Organizational Learning Assignment:
Chapter 9 – Review the section on Establishing a Security Culture.  Review the methods to reduce the chances of a cyber threat noted in the textbook.  Research other peer-reviewed source and note additional methods to reduce cyber-attacks within an organization.
Chapter 10 – Review the section on the IT leader in the digital transformation era.  Note how IT professionals and especially leaders must transform their thinking to adapt to the constantly changing organizational climate.  What are some methods or resources leaders can utilize to enhance their change attitude?
Practical connection Assignment ( three pages in length ): 
 This week select an organization that has a Global platform (they operate in more than one country), that has demonstrated operational excellence.  In this paper, perform the following activities:
Name the organization and briefly describe what good or service they sell and where they operate.
Note how they are a differentiator in the market.
Note the resources used to ensure success in their industry (remember resources are comprised of more than just people).
Explain what actions the company took to achieve operational excellence.
Information Technology
and Organizational
Managing Behavioral Change
in the Digital Age
Third Edition
Information Technology
and Organizational
Managing Behavioral Change
in the Digital Age
Third Edition
Arthur M. Langer
CRC Press
Taylor & Francis Group
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Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742
© 2018 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
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Fo r e w o r d xi
Ac k n o w l e d g m e n t s xiii
Au t h o r xv
I n t r o d u c t I o n xvii
c h A p t e r 1 th e “ r Av e l l” c o r p o r At I o n 1
Introduction 1
A New Approach 3
The Blueprint for Integration 5
Enlisting Support 6
Assessing Progress 7
Resistance in the Ranks 8
Line Management to the Rescue 8
IT Begins to Reflect 9
Defining an Identity for Information Technology 10
Implementing the Integration: A Move toward Trust and
Reflection 12
Key Lessons 14
Defining Reflection and Learning for an Organization 14
Working toward a Clear Goal 15
Commitment to Quality 15
Teaching Staff “Not to Know” 16
Transformation of Culture 16
Alignment with Administrative Departments 17
Conclusion 19
v i Contents
c h A p t e r 2 th e It d I l e m m A 21
Introduction 21
Recent Background 23
IT in the Organizational Context 24
IT and Organizational Structure 24
The Role of IT in Business Strategy 25
Ways of Evaluating IT 27
Executive Knowledge and Management of IT 28
IT: A View from the Top 29
Section 1: Chief Executive Perception of the Role of IT 32
Section 2: Management and Strategic Issues 34
Section 3: Measuring IT Performance and Activities 35
General Results 36
Defining the IT Dilemma 36
Recent Developments in Operational Excellence 38
c h A p t e r 3 te c h n o l o gy A s A vA r I A b l e A n d re s p o n s I v e
o r g A n I z At I o n A l d y n A m I s m 41
Introduction 41
Technological Dynamism 41
Responsive Organizational Dynamism 42
Strategic Integration 43
Summary 48
Cultural Assimilation 48
IT Organization Communications with “ Others” 49
Movement of Traditional IT Staff 49
Summary 51
Technology Business Cycle 52
Feasibility 53
Measurement 53
Planning 54
Implementation 55
Evolution 57
Drivers and Supporters 58
Santander versus Citibank 60
Information Technology Roles and Responsibilities 60
Replacement or Outsource 61
c h A p t e r 4 o r g A n I z At I o n A l l e A r n I n g th e o r I e s A n d
te c h n o l o gy 63
Introduction 63
Learning Organizations 72
Communities of Practice 75
Learning Preferences and Experiential Learning 83
Social Discourse and the Use of Language 89
Identity 91
Skills 92
v iiContents
Emotion 92
Linear Development in Learning Approaches 96
c h A p t e r 5 m A n A g I n g o r g A n I z At I o n A l l e A r n I n g A n d
te c h n o l o gy 109
The Role of Line Management 109
Line Managers 111
First-Line Managers 111
Supervisor 111
Management Vectors 112
Knowledge Management 116
Ch ange Management 120
Change Management for IT Organizations 123
Social Networks and Information Technology 134
c h A p t e r 6 o r g A n I z At I o n A l tr A n s F o r m At I o n A n d t h e
bA l A n c e d s c o r e c A r d 139
Introduction 139
Methods of Ongoing Evaluation 146
Balanced Scorecards and Discourse 156
Knowledge Creation, Culture, and Strategy 158
c h A p t e r 7 vI r t uA l te A m s A n d o u t s o u r c I n g 163
Introduction 163
Status of Virtual Teams 165
Management Considerations 166
Dealing with Multiple Locations 166
Externalization 169
Internalization 171
Combination 171
Socialization 172
Externalization Dynamism 172
Internalization Dynamism 173
Combination Dynamism 173
Socialization Dynamism 173
Dealing with Multiple Locations and Outsourcing 177
Revisiting Social Discourse 178
Identity 179
Skills 180
Emotion 181
c h A p t e r 8 sy n e r g I s t I c u n I o n o F It A n d
o r g A n I z At I o n A l l e A r n I n g 187
Introduction 187
Siemens AG 187
Aftermath 202
ICAP 203
v iii Contents
Five Years Later 224
HTC 225
IT History at HTC 226
Interactions of the CEO 227
The Process 228
Transformation from the Transition 229
Five Years Later 231
Summary 233
c h A p t e r 9 Fo r m I n g A c y b e r s e c u r I t y c u lt u r e 239
Introduction 239
History 239
Talking to the Board 241
Establishing a Security Culture 241
Understanding What It Means to be Compromised 242
Cyber Security Dynamism and Responsive Organizational
Dynamism 242
Cyber Strategic Integration 243
Cyber Cultural Assimilation 245
Summary 246
Organizational Learning and Application Development 246
Cyber Security Risk 247
Risk Responsibility 248
Driver /Supporter Implications 250
c h A p t e r 10 d I g I tA l tr A n s F o r m At I o n A n d c h A n g e s I n
c o n s u m e r b e h Av I o r 251
Introduction 251
Requirements without Users and without Input 254
Concepts of the S-Curve and Digital Transformation
Analysis and Design 258
Organizational Learning and the S-Curve 260
Communities of Practice 261
The IT Leader in the Digital Transformation Era 262
How Technology Disrupts Firms and Industries 264
Dynamism and Digital Disruption 264
Critical Components of “ Digital” Organization 265
Assimilating Digital Technology Operationally and Culturally 267
Conclusion 268
c h A p t e r 11 I n t e g r At I n g g e n e r At I o n y e m p l oy e e s t o
Ac c e l e r At e c o m p e t I t I v e A dvA n tA g e 269
Introduction 269
The Employment Challenge in the Digital Era 270
Gen Y Population Attributes 272
Advantages of Employing Millennials to Support Digital
Transformation 272
Integration of Gen Y with Baby Boomers and Gen X 273
i xContents
Designing the Digital Enterprise 274
Assimilating Gen Y Talent from Underserved and Socially
Excluded Populations 276
Langer Workforce Maturity Arc 277
Theoretical Constructs of the LWMA 278
The LWMA and Action Research 281
Implications for New Pathways for Digital Talent 282
Demographic Shifts in Talent Resources 282
Economic Sustainability 283
Integration and Trust 283
Global Implications for Sources of Talent 284
Conclusion 284
c h A p t e r 12 to wA r d b e s t p r A c t I c e s 287
Introduction 287
Chief IT Executive 288
Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in
the Chief IT Executive Best Practices Arc 297
Maturity Stages 297
Performance Dimensions 298
Chief Executive Officer 299
CIO Direct Reporting to the CEO 305
Outsourcing 306
Centralization versus Decentralization of IT 306
CIO Needs Advanced Degrees 307
Need for Standards 307
Risk Management 307
The CEO Best Practices Technology Arc 313
Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in
the CEO Technology Best Practices Arc 314
Maturity Stages 314
Performance Dimensions 315
Middle Management 316
The Middle Management Best Practices Technology Arc 323
Definitions of Maturity Stages and Dimension Variables in
the Middle Manager Best Practices Arc 325
Maturity Stages 325
Performance Dimensions 326
Summary 327
Ethics and Maturity 333
c h A p t e r 13 c o n c l u s I o n s 339
Introduction 339
g l o s s A ry 357
re F e r e n c e s 363
I n d e x 373
x i
Digital technologies are transforming the global economy. Increasingly,
firms and other organizations are assessing their opportunities, develop-
ing and delivering products and services, and interacting with custom-
ers and other stakeholders digitally. Established companies recognize
that digital technologies can help them operate their businesses with
greater speed and lower costs and, in many cases, offer their custom-
ers opportunities to co-design and co-produce products and services.
Many start-up companies use digital technologies to develop new prod-
ucts and business models that disrupt the present way of doing busi-
ness, taking customers away from firms that cannot change and adapt.
In recent years, digital technology and new business models have dis-
rupted one industry after another, and these developments are rapidly
transforming how people communicate, learn, and work.
Against this backdrop, the third edition of Arthur Langer’ s
Information Technology and Organizational Learning is most welcome.
For decades, Langer has been studying how firms adapt to new or
changing conditions by increasing their ability to incorporate and use
advanced information technologies. Most organizations do not adopt
new technology easily or readily. Organizational inertia and embed-
ded legacy systems are powerful forces working against the adoption
of new technology, even when the advantages of improved technology
are recognized. Investing in new technology is costly, and it requires
x ii Foreword
aligning technology with business strategies and transforming cor-
porate cultures so that organization members use the technology to
become more productive.
Information Technology and Organizational Learning addresses these
important issues— and much more. There are four features of the new
edition that I would like to draw attention to that, I believe, make
this a valuable book. First, Langer adopts a behavioral perspective
rather than a technical perspective. Instead of simply offering norma-
tive advice about technology adoption, he shows how sound learn-
ing theory and principles can be used to incorporate technology into
the organization. His discussion ranges across the dynamic learning
organization, knowledge management, change management, com-
munities of practice, and virtual teams. Second, he shows how an
organization can move beyond technology alignment to true technol-
ogy integration. Part of this process involves redefining the traditional
support role of the IT department to a leadership role in which IT
helps to drive business strategy through a technology-based learn-
ing organization. Third, the book contains case studies that make the
material come alive. The book begins with a comprehensive real-life
case that sets the stage for the issues to be resolved, and smaller case
illustrations are sprinkled throughout the chapters, to make concepts
and techniques easily understandable. Lastly, Langer has a wealth of
experience that he brings to his book. He spent more than 25 years
as an IT consultant and is the founder of the Center for Technology
Management at Columbia University, where he directs certificate and
executive programs on various aspects of technology innovation and
management. He has organized a vast professional network of tech-
nology executives whose companies serve as learning laboratories for
his students and research. When you read the book, the knowledge
and insight gained from these experiences is readily apparent.
If you are an IT professional, Information Technology and Organi­
zational Learning should be required reading. However, anyone who
is part of a firm or agency that wants to capitalize on the opportunities
provided by digital technology will benefit from reading the book.
Charles C. Snow
Professor Emeritus, Penn State University
Co­Editor, Journal of Organization Design
x iii
Many colleagues and clients have provided significant support during
the development of the third edition of Information Technology and
Organizational Learning.
I owe much to my colleagues at Teachers College, namely, Professor
Victoria Marsick and Lyle Yorks, who guided me on many of the the-
ories on organizational learning, and Professor Lee Knefelkamp, for
her ongoing mentorship on adult learning and developmental theo-
ries. Professor David Thomas from the Harvard Business School also
provided valuable direction on the complex issues surrounding diver-
sity, and its importance in workforce development.
I appreciate the corporate executives who agreed to participate
in the studies that allowed me to apply learning theories to actual
organizational practices. Stephen McDermott from ICAP provided
invaluable input on how chief executive officers (CEOs) can success-
fully learn to manage emerging technologies. Dana Deasy, now global
chief information officer (CIO) of JP Morgan Chase, contributed
enormous information on how corporate CIOs can integrate tech-
nology into business strategy. Lynn O’ Connor Vos, CEO of Grey
Healthcare, also showed me how technology can produce direct mon-
etary returns, especially when the CEO is actively involved.
And, of course, thank you to my wonderful students at Columbia
University. They continue to be at the core of my inspiration and love
for writing, teaching, and scholarly research.
x v
Arthur M. Langer, EdD, is professor of professional practice
of management and the director of the Center for Technology
Management at Columbia University. He is the academic direc-
tor of the Executive Masters of Science program in Technology
Management, vice chair of faculty and executive advisor to the dean
at the School of Professional Studies and is on the faculty of the
Department of Organization and Leadership at the Graduate School
of Education (Teachers College). He has also served as a member of
the Columbia University Faculty Senate. Dr. Langer is the author
of Guide to Software Development: Designing & Managing the Life
Cycle. 2nd Edition (2016), Strategic IT: Best Practices for Managers
and Executives (2013 with Lyle Yorks), Information Technology and
Organizational Learning (2011), Analysis and Design of Information
Systems (2007), Applied Ecommerce (2002), and The Art of Analysis
(1997), and has numerous published articles and papers, relating
to digital transformation, service learning for underserved popula-
tions, IT organizational integration, mentoring, and staff develop-
ment. Dr. Langer consults with corporations and universities on
information technology, cyber security, staff development, man-
agement transformation, and curriculum development around the
Globe. Dr. Langer is also the chairman and founder of Workforce
Opportunity Services (www.wforce.org), a non-profit social venture
x v i Author
that provides scholarships and careers to underserved populations
around the world.
Dr. Langer earned a BA in computer science, an MBA in
accounting/finance, and a Doctorate of Education from Columbia
x v ii
Information technology (IT) has become a more significant part of
workplace operations, and as a result, information systems person-
nel are key to the success of corporate enterprises, especially with
the recent effects of the digital revolution on every aspect of business
and social life (Bradley & Nolan, 1998; Langer, 1997, 2011; Lipman-
Blumen, 1996). This digital revolution is defined as a form of “ dis-
ruption.” Indeed, the big question facing many enterprises today is,
How can executives anticipate the unexpected threats brought on by
technological advances that could devastate their business? This book
focuses on the vital role that information and digital technology orga-
nizations need to play in the course of organizational development
and learning, and on the growing need to integrate technology fully
into the processes of workplace organizational learning. Technology
personnel have long been criticized for their inability to function as
part of the business, and they are often seen as a group outside the
corporate norm (Schein, 1992). This is a problem of cultural assimila-
tion, and it represents one of the two major fronts that organizations
now face in their efforts to gain a grip on the new, growing power of
technology, and to be competitive in a global world. The other major
x v iii IntroduCtIon
front concerns the strategic integration of new digital technologies
into business line management.
Because technology continues to change at such a rapid pace, the
ability of organizations to operate within a new paradigm of dynamic
change emphasizes the need to employ action learning as a way to
build competitive learning organizations in the twenty-first century.
Information Technology and Organizational Learning integrates some
of the fundamental issues bearing on IT today with concepts from
organizational learning theory, providing comprehensive guidance,
based on real-life business experiences and concrete research.
This book also focuses on another aspect of what IT can mean to
an organization. IT represents a broadening dimension of business life
that affects everything we do inside an organization. This new reality is
shaped by the increasing and irreversible dissemination of technology.
To maximize the usefulness of its encroaching presence in everyday
business affairs, organizations will require an optimal understanding
of how to integrate technology into everything they do. To this end,
this book seeks to break new ground on how to approach and concep-
tualize this salient issue— that is, that the optimization of information
and digital technologies is best pursued with a synchronous imple-
mentation of organizational learning concepts. Furthermore, these
concepts cannot be implemented without utilizing theories of strategic
learning. Therefore, this book takes the position that technology liter-
acy requires individual and group strategic learning if it is to transform
a business into a technology-based learning organization. Technology­
based organizations are defined as those that have implemented a means
of successfully integrating technology into their process of organiza-
tional learning. Such organizations recognize and experience the real-
ity of technology as part of their everyday business function. It is what
many organizations are calling “ being digital.”
This book will also examine some of the many existing organi-
zational learning theories, and the historical problems that have
occurred with companies that have used them, or that have failed
to use them. Thus, the introduction of technology into organizations
actually provides an opportunity to reassess and reapply many of the
past concepts, theories, and practices that have been used to support
the importance of organizational learning. It is important, however,
not to confuse this message with a reason for promoting organizational
x i xIntroduCtIon
learning, but rather, to understand the seamless nature of the relation-
ship between IT and organizational learning. Each needs the other to
succeed. Indeed, technology has only served to expose problems that
have existed in organizations for decades, e.g., the inability to drive
down responsibilities to the operational levels of the organization, and
to be more agile with their consumers.
This book is designed to help businesses and individual manag-
ers understand and cope with the many issues involved in developing
organizational learning programs, and in integrating an important
component: their IT and digital organizations. It aims to provide a
combination of research case studies, together with existing theories
on organizational learning in the workplace. The goal is also to pro-
vide researchers and corporate practitioners with a book that allows
them to incorporate a growing IT infrastructure with their exist-
ing workforce culture. Professional organizations need to integrate
IT into their organizational processes to compete effectively in the
technology-driven business climate of today. This book responds to
the complex and various dilemmas faced by many human resource
managers and corporate executives regarding how to actually deal
with many marginalized technology personnel who somehow always
operate outside the normal flow of the core business.
While the history of IT, as a marginalized organization, is rela-
tively short, in comparison to that of other professions, the problems
of IT have been consistent since its insertion into business organiza-
tions in the early 1960s. Indeed, while technology has changed, the
position and valuation of IT have continued to challenge how execu-
tives manage it, account for it, and, most important, ultimately value
its contributions to the organization. Technology personnel continue
to be criticized for their inability to function as part of the business,
and they are often seen as outside the business norm. IT employees
are frequently stereotyped as “ techies,” and are segregated in such a
way that they become isolated from the organization. This book pro-
vides a method for integrating IT, and redefining its role in organiza-
tions, especially as a partner in formulating and implementing key
business strategies that are crucial for the survival of many companies
in the new digital age. Rather than provide a long and extensive list of
common issues, I have decided it best to uncover the challenges of IT
integration and performance through the case study approach.
x x IntroduCtIon
IT continues to be one of the most important yet least understood
departments in an organization. It has also become one of the most
significant components for competing in the global markets of today.
IT is now an integral part of the way companies become successful,
and is now being referred to as the digital arm of the business. This
is true across all industries. The role of IT has grown enormously in
companies throughout the world, and it has a mission to provide stra-
tegic solutions that can make companies more competitive. Indeed,
the success of IT, and its ability to operate as part of the learning
organization, can mean the difference between the success and failure
of entire companies. However, IT must be careful that it is not seen as
just a factory of support personnel, and does not lose its justification
as driving competitive advantage. We see in many organizations that
other digital-based departments are being created, due to frustration
with the traditional IT culture, or because they simply do not see IT
as meeting the current needs for operating in a digital economy.
This book provides answers to other important questions that have
challenged many organizations for decades. First, how can manag-
ers master emerging digital technologies, sustain a relationship with
organizational learning, and link it to strategy and performance?
Second, what is the process by which to determine the value of using
technology, and how does it relate to traditional ways of calculating
return on investment, and establishing risk models? Third, what are
the cyber security implications of technology-based products and
services? Fourth, what are the roles and responsibilities of the IT
executive, and the department in general? To answer these questions,
managers need to focus on the following objectives:
• Address the operational weaknesses in organizations, in
terms of how to deal with new technologies, and how to bet-
ter realize business benefits.
• Provide a mechanism that both enables organizations to deal
with accelerated change caused by technological innovations,
and integrates them into a new cycle of processing, and han-
dling of change.
• Provide a strategic learning framework, by which every new
technology variable adds to organizational knowledge and
can develop a risk and security culture.
x x iIntroduCtIon
• Establish an integrated approach that ties technology account-
ability to other measurable outcomes, using organizational
learning techniques and theories.
To realize these objectives, organizations must be able to
• create dynamic internal processes that can deal, on a daily
basis, with understanding the potential fit of new technologies
and their overall value within the structure of the business;
• provide the discourse to bridge the gaps between IT- and non-
IT-related investments, and uses, into one integrated system;
• monitor investments and determine modifications to the life
• implement various organizational learning practices, includ-
ing learning organization, knowledge management, change
management, and communities of practice, all of which help
foster strategic thinking, and learning, and can be linked to
performance (Gephardt & Marsick, 2003).
The strengths of this book are that it integrates theory and practice
and provides answers to the four common questions mentioned. Many
of the answers provided in these pages are founded on theory and
research and are supported by practical experience. Thus, evidence of
the performance of the theories is presented via case studies, which
are designed to assist the readers in determining how such theories
and proven practices can be applied to their specific organization.
A common theme in this book involves three important terms:
dynamic , unpredictable , and acceleration . Dynamic is a term that rep-
resents spontaneous and vibrant things— a motive force. Technology
behaves with such a force and requires organizations to deal with its
capabilities. Glasmeier (1997) postulates that technology evolution,
innovation, and change are dynamic processes. The force then is tech-
nology, and it carries many motives, as we shall see throughout this
book. Unpredictable suggests that we cannot plan what will happen
or will be needed. Many organizational individuals, including execu-
tives, have attempted to predict when, how, or why technology will
affect their organization. Throughout our recent history, especially
during the “ digital disruption” era, we have found that it is difficult,
if not impossible, to predict how technology will ultimately benefit or
x x ii IntroduCtIon
hurt organizational growth and competitive advantage. I believe that
technology is volatile and erratic at times. Indeed, harnessing tech-
nology is not at all an exact science; certainly not in the ways in which
it can and should be used in today’ s modern organization. Finally, I
use the term acceleration to convey the way technology is speeding up
our lives. Not only have emerging technologies created this unpre-
dictable environment of change, but they also continue to change it
rapidly— even from the demise of the dot-com era decades ago. Thus,
what becomes important is the need to respond quickly to technology.
The inability to be responsive to change brought about by technologi-
cal innovations can result in significant competitive disadvantages for
This new edition shows why this is a fact especially when examining
the shrinking S-Curve. So, we look at these three words— dynamic,
unpredictable, and acceleration— as a way to define how technology
affects organizations; that is, technology is an accelerating motive
force that occurs irregularly. These words name the challenges that
organizations need to address if they are to manage technological
innovations and integrate them with business strategy and competi-
tive advantage. It only makes sense that the challenge of integrating
technology into business requires us first to understand its potential
impact, determine how it occurs, and see what is likely to follow.
There are no quick remedies to dealing with emerging technologies,
just common practices and sustained processes that must be adopted
for organizations to survive in the future.
I had four goals in mind in writing this book. First, I am inter-
ested in writing about the challenges of using digital technologies
strategically. What particularly concerns me is the lack of literature
that truly addresses this issue. What is also troublesome is the lack
of reliable techniques …
Biola University Biola University
Digital Commons @ Biola Digital Commons @ Biola
Open Textbooks
Information Systems for Business and Beyond Information Systems for Business and Beyond
David T. Bourgeois
Biola University
James L. Smith
Shouhong Wang
Joseph Mortati
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Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 1
Information Systems for
Business and Beyond (2019)
Information systems, their use in business, and the
larger impact they are having on our world.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 2
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) by David Bourgeois is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License,
except where otherwise noted.
This book was initially developed in 2014 by Dr. David Bourgeois as part
of the Open Textbook Challenge funded by the Saylor Foundation. This
2019 edition is an update to that textbook.
This book was produced with Pressbooks (https://pressbooks.com) and
rendered with Prince.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 3

Open Textbook Challenge: Making Textbooks Available (For Free!)


Information Systems for
Business and Beyond
Updated edition: August 1, 2019
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 4

Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) by David Bourgeois is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License,
except where otherwise noted.


Book Contributors
Information Systems for Business and Beyond was originally
developed in 2014 by David T. Bourgeois Ph.D.
Updates for the 2019 edition were graciously contributed by:
• James L. Smith Ph.D. (all chapters)
• Shouhong Wong, Ph.D. (chapters 4 and 8)
• Joseph Mortati, MBA (chapter 10)
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 6
Changes from Previous Edition
Information Systems for Business and Beyond was written by Dr.
David Bourgeois and originally published in 2014 as part of the
Open Textbook Challenge at the Saylor Foundation. Since then, it
has been accessed thousands of time and used in many courses
worldwide. This 2019 update to the textbook brings it up to date
and adds many new topics. True to its open textbook roots, many of
the updates have come from the community of instructors and
practitioners who are passionate about information systems. See
the page Book Contributors to see the primary contributors to this
edition. A majority of the changes listed below were made by Dr.
James Smith, who did a revision to this text in 2018.
Here is a summary of the changes made:
• New and updated images, especially those related to
statistics, in order to bring them up to date.
• References brought up to date.
• Added labs for every chapter.
• Added an index.
• Editing for consistency.
Chapter 1: What is an information system?
• Added video: Blum’s fibre optic TED Talk
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 7
Chapter 2: Hardware
• Removed text which discussed increasing dependency on
tablets and decreasing use of desktops
• Clarification of bit vs. byte, binary vs. digital. Added tables to
Understanding Binary sidebar
• Added Huang’s Law on graphics processor units
• Modified text regarding Moore’s Law to state that his law is
no longer able to be maintained
Chapter 3: Software
• Added information about Ubuntu Linux
• Added information about Tableau
• Supply Chain Management: added an emphasis on use of
Information Systems up and down supply chain by Walmart
to gain competitive advantage
Chapter 4: Data and Databases
• Database schemas redesigned
• Data types added
• SQL examples include output
• NoSQL described
• Data Dictionary re-ordered to column name
• New section on “Why database technology?”
• Differentiation of data, information, and knowledge
• Section on Data models
• Changed illustrative example of database tables and
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 8
• Updated section on Business Intelligence to focus on the rise
of analytics and data science. Includes a new “What is Data
Science?” sidebar.
Chapter 5: Networking and Communication
• History of ARPANET initial four nodes, etc.
• Metcalfe’s Law
Chapter 6: Information Systems Security
• Added information on blockchain and Bitcoin.
Chapter 8: Business Processes
• Introduce tools (DFD, BPMN, UML) of business process
• Introduce examples of DFD.
Chapter 10: Information Systems Development
• Java sample code
• Mismanaging Change side bar
• Added section on mobile development.
• Added sidebar on risks of end-user computing
• Added Eclipse IDE
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 9
Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide
• World 3.0 written by economist Pankaj Ghemawat; also, his
TED talk video
Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of
Information Systems
• Facebook and Cambridge Analytics data privacy
• General Data Protection Regulation section
Chapter 13: Trends in Information Systems
• Waze mapping app
• Drone video
• Drone blood delivery in Kenya video
• Added sidebar on Mary Meeker and her Internet Trends
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 10
How you can help
This is an open textbook and relies on the support of its users to
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1. Let us know you are using this textbook.
◦ If you are an instructor, please let us know you’ve
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supporting us financially through PayPal. Please note: this
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hosting and supporting this open textbook project. All
contributions are marked as donations towards this open
textbook project.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 11
Welcome to Information Systems for Business and Beyond. In this
book, you will be introduced to the concept of information systems,
their use in business, and how information systems can be used to
gain competitive advantage.
This book is written as an introductory text, meant for those with
little or no experience with computers or information systems.
While sometimes the descriptions can get a bit technical, every
effort has been made to convey the information essential to
understanding a topic while not getting overly focused in detailed
Chapter Outline
The text is organized around thirteen chapters divided into three
major parts, as follows:
• Part 1: What Is an Information System?
◦ Chapter 1: What Is an Information System? – This
chapter provides an overview of information systems,
including the history of how information systems got to
where it is today.
◦ Chapter 2: Hardware – This is a discussion of information
systems hardware and how it works. You will look at
different computer parts and learn how they interact.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 12
◦ Chapter 3: Software – Without software, hardware is
useless. This chapter covers software and the role it plays
in an organization.
◦ Chapter 4: Data and Databases – This chapter explores
how organizations use information systems to turn data
into information that can then be used for competitive
advantage. Special attention is paid to the role of
◦ Chapter 5: Networking and Communication – Today’s
computers are expected to also be communication
devices. This chapter reviews the history of networking,
how the Internet works, and the use of networks in
organizations today.
◦ Chapter 6: Information Systems Security – This chapter
discusses the information security triad of confidentiality,
integrity, and availability. Different security technologies
are reviewed, and the chapter concludes with a primer on
personal information security.
• Part 2: Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
◦ Chapter 7: Does IT Matter? – This chapter examines the
impact that information systems have on an organization.
Can IT give a company a competitive advantage? This
chapter discusses the seminal works by Brynjolfsson,
Carr, and Porter as they relate to IT and competitive
◦ Chapter 8: Business Processes – Business processes are
the essence of what a business does, and information
systems play an important role in making them work.
This chapter will discuss business process management,
business process reengineering, and ERP systems.
◦ Chapter 9: The People in Information Systems – This
chapter will provide an overview of the different types of
people involved in information systems. This includes
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 13
people who create information systems, those who
operate and administer information systems, those who
manage information systems, and those who use
information systems.
◦ Chapter 10: Information Systems Development – How are
information systems created? This chapter will review the
concept of programming, look at different methods of
software development, review website and mobile
application development, discuss end-user computing,
and look at the “build vs. buy” decision that many
companies face.
• Part 3: Information Systems beyond the Organization
◦ Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide – The
rapid rise of the Internet has made it easier than ever to do
business worldwide. This chapter will look at the impact
that the Internet is having on the globalization of business
and the issues that firms must face because of it. It will
also cover the concept of the digital divide and some of
the steps being taken to alleviate it.
◦ Chapter 12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of
Information Systems – The rapid changes in information
and communication technology in the past few decades
have brought a broad array of new capabilities and
powers to governments, organizations, and individuals
alike. This chapter will discuss the effects that these new
capabilities have had and the legal and regulatory changes
that have been put in place in response.
◦ Chapter 13: Future Trends in Information Systems – This
final chapter will present an overview of some of the new
technologies that are on the horizon. From wearable
technology to 3-D printing, this chapter will provide a
look forward to what the next few years will bring.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 14
For the Student
Each chapter in this text begins with a list of the relevant learning
objectives and ends with a chapter summary. Following the
summary is a list of study questions that highlight key topics in
the chapter. In order to get the best learning experience, you
would be wise to begin by reading both the learning objectives
and the summary and then reviewing the questions at the end of
the chapter.
For the Instructor
Instructors: if you have adopted this book for your course, would
you be so kind as to let us know in the instructor survey?
Learning objectives can be found at the beginning of each
chapter. Of course, all chapters are recommended for use in an
introductory information systems course. However, for courses
on a shorter calendar or courses using additional textbooks, a
review of the learning objectives will help determine which
chapters can be omitted.
At the end of each chapter, there is a set of study questions and
exercises (except for chapter 1, which only offers study
questions). The study questions can be assigned to help focus
students’ reading on the learning objectives. The exercises are
meant to be a more in-depth, experiential way for students to
learn chapter topics. It is recommended that you review any
exercise before assigning it, adding any detail needed (such as
length, due date) to complete the assignment. Some chapters also
include lab assignments.
As an open textbook, support for supplemental materials relies
on the generosity of those who have created them and wish to
share them. Supplemental materials, including slides and
quizzes, are located on the home page for this book. If you wish
to contribute materials that you have created, please fill out the
instructor survey and communicate that fact.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 15


Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 16
Chapter 1: What Is an
Information System?
Upon successful completion of this chapter, you
will be able to:
• Define what an information system is by
identifying its major components;
• Describe the basic history of information
systems; and
• Describe the basic argument behind the article
“Does IT Matter?” by Nicholas Carr.
Welcome to the world of information systems, a world that seems
to change almost daily. Over the past few decades information
systems have progressed to being virtually everywhere, even to the
point where you may not realize its existence in many of your daily
activities. Stop and consider how you interface with various
components in information systems every day through different
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 1
electronic devices. Smartphones, laptop, and personal computers
connect us constantly to a variety of systems including
messaging, banking, online retailing, and academic resources,
just to name a few examples. Information systems are at the
center of virtually every organization, providing users with
almost unlimited resources.
Have you ever considered why businesses invest in technology?
Some purchase computer hardware and software because everyone
else has computers. Some even invest in the same hardware and
software as their business friends even though different technology
might be more appropriate for them. Finally, some businesses do
sufficient research before deciding what best fits their needs. As you
read through this book be sure to evaluate the contents of each
chapter based on how you might someday apply what you have
learned to strengthen the position of the business you work for, or
maybe even your own business. Wise decisions can result in
stability and growth for your future enterprise.
Information systems surround you almost every day. Wi-fi
networks on your university campus, database search services in
the learning resource center, and printers in computer labs are
good examples. Every time you go shopping you are interacting
with an information system that manages inventory and sales.
Even driving to school or work results in an interaction with the
transportation information system, impacting traffic lights,
cameras, etc. Vending machines connect and communicate using
the Internet of Things (IoT). Your car’s computer system does
more than just control the engine – acceleration, shifting, and
braking data is always recorded. And, of course, everyone’s
smartphone is constantly connecting to available networks via
Wi-fi, recording your location and other data.
Can you think of some words to describe an information system?
Words such as “computers,” “networks,” or “databases” might pop
into your mind. The study of information systems encompasses a
broad array of devices, software, and data systems. Defining an
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 2

information system provides you with a solid start to this course
and the content you are about to encounter.
Defining Information Systems
Many programs in business require students to take a course in
information systems. Various authors have attempted to define the
term in different ways. Read the following definitions, then see if
you can detect some variances.
• “An information system (IS) can be defined technically as a
set of interrelated components that collect, process, store, and
distribute information to support decision making and control
in an organization.” 1
• “Information systems are combinations of hardware,
software, and telecommunications networks that people
build and use to collect, create, and distribute useful data,
typically in organizational settings.” 2
• “Information systems are interrelated components working
together to collect, process, store, and disseminate
information to support decision making, coordination,
control, analysis, and visualization in an organization.” 3
As you can see these definitions focus on two different ways of
describing information systems: the components that make up an
information system and the role those components play in an
organization. Each of these need to be examined.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 3
The Components of Information
Information systems can be viewed as having five major
components: hardware, software, data, people, and processes. The
first three are technology. These are probably what you thought of
when defining information systems. The last two components,
people and processes, separate the idea of information systems from
more technical fields, such as computer science. In order to fully
understand information systems, you will need to understand how
all of these components work together to bring value to an
Technology can be thought of as the application of scientific
knowledge for practical purposes. From the invention of the
wheel to the harnessing of electricity for artificial lighting,
technology has become ubiquitous in daily life, to the degree that
it is assumed to always be available for use regardless of
location. As discussed before, the first three components of
information systems – hardware, software, and data – all fall
under the category of technology. Each of these will be addressed
in an individual chapter. At this point a simple introduction
should help you in your understanding.
Hardware is the tangible, physical portion of an information system
– the part you can touch. Computers, keyboards, disk drives, and
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 4
Flash drives are all examples of systems hardware. How these
hardware components function and work together will be
covered in Chapter 2.
Software comprises the set of instructions that tell the hardware
what to do. Software is not tangible – it cannot be touched.
Programmers create software by typing a series of instructions
telling the hardware what to do. Two main categories of software
are: Operating Systems and Application software. Operating
Systems software provides the interface between the hardware
and the Application software. Examples of operating systems for
a personal computer include Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu
Linux. The mobile phone operating system market is dominated
by Google Android and Apple iOS. Application software allows
the user to perform tasks such as creating documents, recording
data in a spreadsheet, or messaging a friend. Software will be
explored more thoroughly in Chapter 3.
The third technology component is data. You can think of data
as a collection of facts. For example, your address (street, city
state, postal code), your phone number, and your social
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 5
networking account are all pieces of data. Like software, data is also
intangible, unable to be seen in its native state. Pieces of unrelated
data are not very useful. But aggregated, indexed, and organized
together into a database, data can become a powerful tool for
businesses. Organizations collect all kinds of data and use it to make
decisions which can then be analyzed as to their effectiveness. The
analysis of data is then used to improve the organization’s
performance. Chapter 4 will focus on data and databases, and how
it is used in organizations.
Networking Communication
Besides the technology components (hardware, software, and
data) which have long been considered the core technology of
information systems, it has been suggested that one other
component should be added: communication. An information
system can exist without the ability to communicate – the first
personal computers were stand-alone machines that did not
access the Internet. However, in today’s hyper-connected world,
it is an extremely rare computer that does not connect to another
device or to an e-network. Technically, the networking
communication component is made up of hardware and
software, but it is such a core feature of today’s information
systems that it has become its own category. Networking will be
covered in Chapter 5.
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 6
People Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
When thinking about information
systems, it is easy to focus on the technology
components and forget to look beyond these
tools to fully understand their integration into
an organization. A focus on the people
involved in information systems is the next
step. From the front-line user support staff, to
systems analysts, to developers, all the way
up to the chief information officer (CIO), the
people involved with information systems are an essential element.
The people component will be covered in Chapter 9.
The last component of information systems is process. A
process is a series of steps undertaken to achieve a desired outcome
or goal. Information systems are becoming more integrated with
organizational processes, bringing greater productivity and better
control to those processes. But simply automating activities using
technology is not enough – businesses looking to utilize information
systems must do more. The ultimate goal is to improve processes
both internally and externally, enhancing interfaces with suppliers
and customers. Technology buzzwords such as “business process
re-engineering,” “business process management,” and “enterprise
resource planning” all have to do with the continued improvement
of these business procedures and the integration of technology with
them. Businesses hoping to gain a competitive advantage over their
competitors are highly focused on this
Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 7
component of information systems. The process element in
information systems will be discussed in Chapter 8.
The Role of Information Systems
You should now understand that information systems have a
number of vital components, some tangible, others intangible, and
still others of a personnel nature. These components collect, store,
organize, and …

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