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H A R V A R ID e u s t N E s sI s c H o o L
9-301-147
JUNE 7, 200 r
RICHARD L. NOLAN
Information Technology Management
from 1"960-2000
Evolving from the earlier p"riod" of electromechanical ADP (Automated Data Processing)
technologies the modem digital computer came into its own form of information technology during
the period frorn 196A to 2000. Heralded by the advances of the digital computer, Europeans are
thought to have inkoduced the acronym IT, which stands for Lrformation Technolog'y.' This term,
which Americans rapidly adopted, signified digital convergence in data, voice, and video. Also
during this time the organization continuously reinvented and assigned new functions to the
comPuter as dictated by improved economics and organizational iearning. Evenfually these changes
accumulated so as to become an information revolution that changed the way companies strucfured
and managed themselves-
Stages Theory of IT Management
The Stages Theory, fust proposed tn 7973,' h as been widely used as a not'mative th*ry for the
management of IT. The theory is based on the notion that the complicated nature of computer
technolory would produce a body of knowledge on the effective nunagement of tT within an
organization. As a result, the assimilation of computer technologies, and more broadly, information
technologies, required bold experimentation, out of which emerged four stages of organizational
Ieaming.
These four distinct stages of organizational learning formed an "9shaped" curve. Initially limited
investment and contained erperimentation for proving the value of the technology in the
organization characterized Stage I: Initiation. Foliowing initiation, the steep part of the gshaped
curve (Stage II: Contagion) represented a period of high learning in the organization whereby the
technology proliferated in a relatively uncontrolled manner. Uncontrolled growth eventually led to
inefficiency, which created a demand for controls that slowed...

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