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Why an organization's response to digital disruption should focus on people, processes and the organization itself and not necessarily just on technology

March 27, 2019 — The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation (on sale 4/23/19) by Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky and Garth R. Andrus is part of the Management on the Cutting Edge, from the MIT Sloan Management Review and the MIT Press. Books in the “Management on the Cutting Edge” series present original research from leading lights in academia and industry, providing practical advice to business leaders on how to prepare for the exciting — and challenging — future that awaits us.

The authors analyze how to manage, adapt, and thrive in a world and time marked by disruption. Kane, Phillips, Copulsky, and Andrus look at the organizational changes required to harness the power of technology and focus on people, from c-suite executives to hands-on project managers and everywhere in-between. Based on four years of research conducted in association with MIT Sloan Management Review, and Deloitte, the authors surveyed more than 16,000 people over four years about their experiences with digital disruption and their perceptions of the nature and adequacy of their organizations response. The authors interviewed more than seventy-five thought leaders at companies like Walmart, Google, MetLife, Salesforce, Marriott, and Facebook.

The authors posit that while most leaders and employees acknowledge that digital disruption is happening, they often are not acting accordingly. They position this disruption as being primarily about people and introduce the key concept of digital maturity, which is the goal most companies should aspire to when trying to compete in a changing landscape. Kane, Phillips, Copulsky, and Andrus address the importance of business strategy for successfully navigating a competitive environment infused with technology. They discuss how affordances—a focus on what technology allows companies to do differently—is a valuable way of thinking about the strategic challenges companies face.

The Technology Fallacy introduces the characteristics of digital leadership, as well as the digital talent mindset. The authors argue that the key way employees need to respond to digital disruption is through continual learning. Most companies, the authors argue, feel they are lacking sufficient talent to compete in a digital world and need strategies that organizations can follow to attract and retain these valuable employees.

The authors then go on to look at the future of work and what it will look like in the coming decade. Necessary characteristics include being exploratory, distributed, collaborative, agile, and data driven. Digitally maturing companies, they argue, are organized differently, with more cross-functional teams.

Digital disruption won't end anytime soon; the average worker will probably experience numerous waves of disruption during the course of a career. The insights offered by The Technology Fallacy will hold true through them all.

Media Contacts:

Victoria Phillips
Public Relations
Deloitte Consulting LLP
+1 424 400 9130

Nicholas DiSabatino
MIT Press
+1 617-253-2079

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