The role of macro context for the link between technological and organizational change
Journal of Organizational Change Management , Volume 26 - Issue 5 p. 793- 810
Purpose: Technology is an important driver of organizational change and often strategically used to facilitate adaptations in organizational processes and cultures. While the link between technological and organizational change is widely recognized, the role of macro-context for this link remains undervalued. Based on data from technology implementations in European police forces the paper aims to illustrate the importance of integrating analyses of the macro-context to understand the complexity of technology driven organizational change. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted 56 interviews and five focus groups with police officers from 13 countries on two of the major technology trends in European police forces: automatic number plate recognition systems (ANPR) systems and social media. They further conducted site visits to police forces in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom to observe technology usage first hand. Comparing accounts across countries they analyzed how macro-context impacted adoption decisions and implementation processes. In this analysis they concentrated on the five macro-contextual factors in the PESTL framework, i.e. political, economic, social, technological and legal factors. Findings: In analyses of ANPR systems and social media the paper details how the macro-context of police organizations impacted decisions to adopt a technology as well as the intra-organizational alignments of processes and structures. Practical implications: Organizational decision makers and implementers need to be aware not only of the strong agency of technology for organizations' structure and processes, but also of the relevance of the organizational macro-context for the process and impact of technology implementations on the organizational as well as individual level. Originality/value: The paper illustrates the impact of the macro-context of organizations in shaping the link between technological change and organizational change.