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Organizational Knowledge and Technology

An Action-Oriented Perspective on Organization and Information Systems

Rodrigo Magalhães

This book attempts to make sense of a new area of integrated study, namely information systems and information technology (IS/IT) and the organization. It also aims to bring this mix into the broader theme of complexity as applied to organization and management and to draw useful conclusions about how to organize and how to manage IS/IT in the knowledge era. The author argues in favour of a more action-oriented – as opposed to planning dominated – approach to information systems management.
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Chapter 7: An Action-Based View of IS/IT Strategic Alignment

Rodrigo Magalhães


We human beings are not rational animals; we are emotional, languaging animals that use the operational coherences of language, through the constitution of rational systems, to explain and justify our actions, while in the process and without realizing it, we blind ourselves about the emotional grounding of all the rational domains that we bring forth. (Humberto Maturana, 1988:787) INTRODUCTION In Chapter Two we stated that IS/IT strategic alignment is among the major source of dissatisfaction in corporate management. David Norton (2002), one of the creators of the Balanced Scorecard methodology, in expressing the view that after more than two decades of trying the issue of IT alignment has still not been ‘solved’, asks the question: ‘What is it about IT that makes alignment such an elusive, frustrating and career-jeopardizing goal?’ (p. 1). In Chapter Six, we discussed briefly the SAM (Strategic Alignment Model) developed by the MIT team led by Scott Morton (1991) and made a reference to a few other papers about IS/IT strategic alignment. There is, however, one more model which needs to be mentioned – the OFF (Organizational Fit Framework) created by Earl (1996). This model, although inspired by the SAM concept, has a few different characteristics. Instead of a construction model, Earl proposes an observation model, the aim of OFF being not to prescribe but to serve as a check list of the items that management has to be aware of, in the toil towards the strategic alignment of IS/IT. The OFF model deals...

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