Coping with IT Disruptions - With Behavioral IT® Skills
32 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2020 Last revised: 17 May 2021
Date Written: October 20, 2020
For sustaining businesses in a VUCA World, or a world with Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, it is important to address the primary cause of VUCA. The culprit is the rapidly changing technology, more significantly the Information Technology. Though the primary driver of change today is IT, not many change management courses discuss how to manage IT-Driven change.
It is natural for people to resist change. The real problem, then, is not technology, but the basic human instinct to resist change. Technology changes fast, but it takes generations to change the minds and behaviour of people. The vehicle of businesses runs on two uneven wheels - one wheel (technology) runs at jet speed and the other (people) at bullock cart speed. It is extremely important to address this “inertia of the human mind” to sustain businesses.
To deal with the social sustainability problems arising out of Information Technology, you need a solution with a behavioural approach. Hence the author has coined a new term called “Behavioral IT®” to address the social issues of IT (Ref.2 “Managers Don't Need IT Skills…”). Behavioral IT can be looked at as a new field of study, a managerial skill or/and a strategy which deals with the psychological, behavioural and attitudinal aspects of technological change. Most of what we will discuss in this paper can be classified as “Behavioral IT®” concepts.
Man has gone through a major disruption before – that of the industrial revolution. It took over 100 years for the human mind to cope with machines. We had just mastered the disruption of machines when we got another jolt with the onslaught of computers and another revolution - the information revolution.
The inertia of the mind caused us to look at the onslaught of computers as just an introduction of yet another machine (maybe super machine) and to use our old industrial age mindset to tackle this change. But is the computer a completely different animal as compared to the industrial age machine? Do we need a mindset different from the industrial mindset to tackle this revolution and the VUCA world? What is this information age mindset that will correct this inertia of the mind? This paper tries to answer these questions. Over 70% failures in IT projects indicates that something is seriously wrong.
This paper is a study of evolution of human psychology from the industrial-age to the information-age. It takes a multidisciplinary approach with major stress on psychology of change. It looks at the key features of information technology in contrast to the industrial one to draw useful conclusions as to what we need to learn and unlearn from the past to ensure a smoother change.
This paper is useful for all CXO’s, managers, heads of companies and heads of departments – in short, for all the change drivers or change catalysts in businesses. It is of course useful for students of management too.
Keywords: People Aspects of IT, Behavioral Aspects of IT, Behavioral IT, IT-Driven Change Management, Psychology of Change, IT Soft-Skills, IT for CXOs, IT for Corporate Leaders, IT Strategy, IT Disruption
JEL Classification: L29, M00, M10, M12, M14, M15, M19, M20, M29, M30, M39, M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation