CONSTRUCT TO GUIDE THE MANAGEMENT OF THE DEFENCE ENTERPRISE INFORMATION SYSTEM IN THE DOD

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CHAPTER 3: APPLYING AN APPROPRIATE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE CASE STUDY

INTRODUCTION

As already indicated, the DOD expected that management practice should be based on sound scientific theory and that an appropriate strategic ICT planning process would conform to this. From this followed the requirement for the analysis of exiting theory along the same timeline as the actual research to support the institutionalisation of an appropriate strategic ICT planning process.
The quest to conform to the “Hermeneutic Principle” as presented by Klein and Myers (1999)55 will also apply to the chronology of this literature study. The schema below provides insight into the research timeline and as such identifies the primary theoretical focus areas.
The timeline and the numbered sequence indicate the sequence of steps 1 to 5 with due consideration that the actual process was dynamically iterative with a number of activities taking place in parallel and with numerous reviews of areas already covered to ensure congruence, alignment and improvement. In the same process the interpretation, application and contributions to scientific knowledge were also addressed as summarised in the findings and conclusions of this research.
The fact that structural or organizational arrangements influenced the institutionalisation and execution of the strategic ICT planning process, given the large number of role players and stakeholders involved, emphasised the clarification of roles and responsibilities in accordance with structural arrangements within the organization. Such structural arrangements and mechanisms were eventually found to be one of the imperatives to ensure the institutionalisation of the strategic ICT planning process in the DOD. It also served to provide a basis for alignment between business and information management.
As the research was undertaken as a process of enhanced learning, the initial understanding of the strategic ICT planning process was primarily directed by theory on strategic ICT planning as presented by Ward and Griffiths (1996)56. Knowing the theory without an understanding of the issues encountered in the DOD as a diversified organization was found to be inadequate to institutionalise the strategic ICT planning process. The ability to augment the existing theory regarding strategic ICT management with the experiences encountered in the DOD was enhanced by a thorough understanding of strategic management in general, as presented by authors such as Thompson and Strickland (2003)57, and many others.
From the requirement to ensure alignment between the business environment and the ICT environment it was found that the theory provided by, for instance Luftman (1996)58, presented a basis to ensure this alignment between the business and the business systems strategy and the information and the ICT system strategy. The complexity of the organization and the specific relationships that existed between the organizational components of the DOD necessitated collaboration and to this end the work done by authors such as Mintzberg et al. (1998)59 provided an understanding of the characteristics of different types of organizations which would in some combination make up the diversified organization.
When putting all of the relevant theory together into a single comprehensive reference or knowledge framework as a result of action and reflection, it served to guide the institutionalisation of the strategic ICT planning process for the DOD. The theory as indicated in the following sub-sections of this chapter therefore contributed to the institutionalisation of an appropriate strategic ICT planning process in the DOD as opposed to merely designing a process.
From these introductory comments that set out the intention for the presentation of the literature study the following will be presented:

  • An overview of the nature of diversified organizations
  • The strategic management process as appropriate to diversified organizations
  • Strategic ICT planning as a function of strategic alignment
  • Strategic ICT management in diversified organizations
  • Strategic ICT planning approach, framework and process
  • The application of strategic ICT planning as an integral part of strategic business management in diversified organizations
  • Formulation of the IS/ICT management strategy
  • The relationship between organizational learning and the requirement for structure

THE NATURE OF COMPLEX OR DIVERSIFIED ORGANIZATIONS

With the imperative that people have to execute the strategic ICT planning process in a coordinated and structured manner towards specific individual and corporate objectives, specific structural arrangements and management mechanisms became indispensable as confirmed during this research. An understanding of the nature of the organization became imperative.

Concept of the Diversified Organization

Most authors suggest that the more complex the organization, the greater the expected complexity of the planning process. This is in line with the thinking of authors on management theory such as Mintzberg (1998)60, Thompson and Strickland (2003)61, Lewis, Goodman and Fandt (1998)62, and on strategic ICT management such as Ward and Griffiths (1996)63. Regarding ICT research authors such as Baskerville and Wood-Harper (1998)64, Klein and Myers (1999)65 have a similar position for ICT research that coincides with the position of Whitley (1984)66 when he describes ICT research as a fragmented adhocracy. All of these have the element of complexity as an integral characteristic.
From a business perspective the complexity of diversity is described by Thompson and Strickland (2003:291)67 as follows when referring to a “diversified” organization:
“… a diversified company is a collection of individual businesses, corporate strategy making is a bigger-picture making exercise than line-of-business strategy making. In a single-business enterprise, management has to contend with only one industry environment and the question of how to compete successfully in it. But in a diversified company corporate managers must strategize for several different business divisions competing in diverse industry environments and craft a multi-industry, multi-business strategy. »

Structure of Diversified Organizations

The essential element of diversified organizations is considered to be that they are not ‘of single business’. As such there is a multitude of disciplines and/or functions that could require recognition and need to be dealt with in the strategic management arena in general. The ability to harmonise the efforts of (semi-autonomous) strategic business units towards appropriate objectives or strategic intent within a structured policy framework, should therefore be addressed.
From Figure 3.2 as mainly interpreted from the work of Thompson and Strickland (2003) op. cit., Pearce and Robinson (2003)68 and Luftman (1996)69, the emphasis is placed on the fact that the diversified organization has a corporate level that is separated from the strategic business unit management level. The ability to ensure alignment and integration from a corporate perspective with due consideration of the interests of the respective business units influenced the research paradigm.
Given the imperative of structure the necessity to enable the ability to manage, the following management mechanisms as presented by Thompson and Strickland (2003) op. cit. reflect the functional and hierarchical nature of the diversified organization. This can be presented as follows as being relevant to the DOD and its specific structural arrangements:
When considering the corporate perspective of the organization and strategic management the respective lines of business can be presented as a value chain when considering the basic approach of Porter (1985)70 regarding value chains and the fact that there is a separation between core business and supporting business. The requirement for corporate direction adds another dimension to such a corporate value chain for a diversified organization.
Given the fact that ICT serves as an enabler for the organization as a whole, the three depictions presented in Figures 3.2 – 3.4 set the framework for the identification of those functions that could be transversely common within the organization and those processes that are unique in nature within the diversified organization from a holistic perspective.
Such a perspective highlights the necessity to identify role players, participants and stakeholders if the ICT strategy is required to represent a corporate and collaborative perspective. From this research appropriate structure to ensure specific collaboration and execution was considered a prerequisite for the successful institutionalisation of the strategic ICT planning process in the DOD. To this end the problems experienced by the researcher with the nature of diversity within the enterprise and relevant to a strategic ICT planning process confirmed the observations of for instance Ward and Griffiths (1996)71 relating to the following issues of management approaches as presented by Mintzberg (1998)72, environmental aspects as taken from for instance Thompson and Strickland (2003)73, the process of strategy formulation as described by authors such as Pearce and Robinson (2003)74 and requirements for alignment as presented by authors such as Luftman (1996)75.

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STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT IN DIVERSIFIED ORGANIZATIONS

With an understanding of the nature of the diversified organization, those influences and characteristics that are relevant to strategic management became important to this research. To this end the following discussion of theory will centre on the development of strategic management and its relevance to ICT management. It will also elucidate the implication of being able to manage change, with change being a characteristic of strategic management and the fact that the respective business units of the diversified organization might have different levels of maturity. Given the nature of the requirement for alignment, increased pressure is placed on the ability to manage activities in a structured, yet appropriate manner and as such the implication of alignment as an integral activity of strategic management will be discussed. All of these will constantly be made relevant to not only ICT management in general, but also the research undertaken.

Historical Development of Traditional Considerations for Strategic Business Management in Diversified Organizations

As far back as the venerable Sun Zi76 (Tzu)77, who around 400 BC started to delineate strategies and matched them to the conditions in which the military was involved in the development of management as a science and as a practice. Practitioners and authors such as Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) made further contributions to the management discipline. The gist of the contributions made by the Sun Zi and Von Clausewitz was that in order to be successful, planning was required and the better and more comprehensive the planning and the ability to manage change, the higher the potential for success. It is also clear from their writings that all the conditions which could influence the outcome of strategic objectives had to be considered during the planning process. This still remains appropriate and relevant to this day and is even making a come-back.
Management as a scientific approach towards attaining objectives further developed during the mid-nineteenth century, when economists such as Adam Smith and Charles Babbage developed the systematic management approach78. Their essential approach was to understand the nature of the organization in its complexity as a system of interdependent components that function in harmony towards a common objective.

CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION TO THIS RESEARCH 
1.1 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
1.2 APPROPRIATENESS OF THE DOD TO THIS RESEARCH AS A DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATION
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT AND MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY
1.4 MOTIVATION FOR THIS STUDY
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES
1.6 RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS
1.7 RESEARCH APPROACH
1.8 THESIS FRAMEWORK
1.9 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 2 – DESCRIPTION OF THE DOD: IT’S CONTEXT, HISTORY, POSITION WITHIN SA GOVERNMENT, STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION
2.1 CONSTRUCT TO GUIDE THE MANAGEMENT OF THE DEFENCE ENTERPRISE INFORMATION SYSTEM IN THE DOD
2.1.1 Functional approach for strategic information management in the DOD
2.1.2 Functions of the Secretary for Defence as relevant to DEIS management
2.1.3 Functions of the C SANDF as relevant to DEIS management
2.1.4 Defence enterprise information system management context
2.1.5 Comments on the strategic DEIS management context
2.2 STRATEGIC CMIS MANAGEMENT APPROACH
2.2.1 Functions of the Secretary for Defence and the C SANDF
2.2.2 Functions of the GITO and the C CMIS as related to the functions of the Secretary for Defence and the C SANDF respectively
2.2.3 GITO functions in support of the Secretary for Defence
2.2.4 C CMIS functions in support of the C SANDF
2.2.5 Contextual construct for the GITO and the C CMIS
2.2.6 Primary stakeholders
2.2.7 Participation in DOD management forums
2.2.8 DOD internal DEIS management mechanisms
2.2.9 External information systems management mechanisms
2.3 THE INFORMATION SYSTEM MANAGEMENT FUNCTION WITHIN DOD
2.3.1 Context for IS strategy formation and formulation as part of the ICT management paradigm
2.3.2 Historical context for establishing a new strategic ICT management approach in the SA DOD
2.3.3 Historical structural arrangements and intention with organisational and functional transformation of the DOD and the ICT management function
2.3.4 Expectations for the delivery of DEIS strategic direction
2.3.5 Expected future challenges subsequent to the establishment of the DEIS strategic direction
CHAPTER 3 – APPLYING AN APPROPRIATE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK TO THE CASE STUDY
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 THE NATURE OF COMPLEX OR DIVERSIFIED ORGANIZATIONS
3.3 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT IN DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATIONS
3.4 STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING AS A FUNCTION OF STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
3.5 STRATEGIC ICT MANAGEMENT IN DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATIONS
3.6 STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING APPROACH, FRAMEWORK AND PROCESS AS APPROPRIATE TO THE DOD
3.7 APPLYING THE STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING PROCESS
3.8 FORMULATION OF THE ICS/ICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
3.9 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING AND THE REQUIREMENT FOR STRUCTURE
3.10 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING PROCESS AND THE NATURE OF THE DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATION
3.11 THE DISCONNECTION BETWEEN STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING PROCESS AND THE DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATION
3.12 IMPLICATIONS OF LEADING ISSUES THAT GUIDED THIS RESEARCH
3.13 A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AS INTERPRETED FROM LITERATURE TO GUIDE THE INSTITUTIONALISATION OF THE STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING PROCESS IN THE DOD AS A DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATION
3.14 CRITICAL ISSUES THAT WILL ENSURE SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIC
3.15 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4 – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY/DESIGN 
41 INTRODUCTION
4.2 AIM OF THIS CHAPTER
4.3 APPROPRIATENESS OF USING A SINGLE CASE STUDY
4.4 ACTION RESEARCH AS A RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.5 ALIGNMENT BETWEEN THE RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT AND THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.6 SYNOPSIS OF THE CASE STUDY UNDERTAKEN IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE
4.7 INFERENCES AND DEDUCTIONS AS DRAWN FROM THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE ACTION RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS TO THE CASE STUDY
4.8 ESTABLISHMENT OF AN APPROPRIATE FRAMEWORK TO COMBINE AND PRESENT RESEARCH AND RESEARCH FINDINGS
4.9 CONCLUDING DISCUSSION
4.10 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER 5 – RESULTS AND FINDINGS OF RESEARCH UNDERTAKEN IN THE DOD
5.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
5.2 THE HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM STRATEGY FOR THE DOD,
5.3 CONCLUSIONS FROM THE FUNCTIONAL RESEARCH
5.4 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF FUNCTIONAL RESEARCH
5.5 PRESENTING THE DATA FROM THE RESEARCH
5.6 PRESENTATION OF A CONCEPTUAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK FOR STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING IN DIVERSIFIED ORGANISATIONS
5.7 CONCLUSIONS DRAWN REGARDING THE STRATEGIC ICT PLANNING PROCESS IN THE DOD
5.8 SUMMARY OF LESSONS LEARNT
CHAPTER 6 – EVALUATION OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
6.1 EVALUATION OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
6.2 TRANSFERABILITY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.3 ASSESSMENT OF CONTRIBUTION OF RESEARCH
6.4 RECOMMENDATIONS FOLLOWING FROM RESEARCH ON FURTHER RESEARCH
6.5 CONCLUSION

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