Pinpointing that one of the main problems that led to the failure of the VCF systems was the organization’s culture, the CIO had clear that to succeed implementing the new Sentinel system “the agency’s cultural bias against information-sharing and technology” (Holmes, 2005, para. 1) had to change. This probably led him to saying “We want to automate those things that are most manually cumbersome for the agency so they can see that technology can actually enhance their productivity. This is how to change their attitudes” (Pearlson, Saunders & Galletta, 2016). He believed that by changing their perception of technology, the agency would end up embracing the new system.
As mentioned by Pearson et al. (2016) “culture is defined by a set of shared values and beliefs that a group hold and that determines how the group perceives, thinks about, and appropriately reacts to its various environments” (p.66). In this case it was in the agencies beliefs that “everything needed to be secret” which was also supported by not having standard operating procedures on sharing information. The agency was also “distrustful of technology” (Pearson, 2016). Such view can be traced back to the leadership of the agency’s, former Director Freeh (1993-2001) “didn’t even have a computer on his office” (Holmes, 2005). As it can be assumed the agency was still missing finding value for technology.
Leidner & Kayworth state in their “Theory of IT-culture conflict” that value conflicts can occur when developing, adopting, using, and managing new IT systems. They talk about three types of possible cultural conflicts: contribution conflict, vision conflict and system conflict.
Contribution conflict can be attributed to “contradiction between group member values and the group’s IT values”. Vision conflict are “contradictions between values embedded in a system and a group’s IT values”, and system conflict is “when the values implicit in a specific IT contradict the values held by the group members using, or expected to use, the system” (2006).
Leidner & Kayworth also say that “as IT values become positive, groups are more likely to accept new IT, thereby reducing system conflict and contribution conflict.” (2016).
Furthermore, when looking at Leidner & Kayworth’s levels of culture, for IT adoption/diffusion to occur, the culture must support information sharing to successfully implement either technology fitting within the organization’s culture or by fitting the culture around the behavioral requirements of the technology (Pearlson, Saunders & Galletta, 2016).
Pearlson et al describes an organizational structure as the design element that ensures the correct allocation of decision rights (2016). The CIO stated that the culture change must be moved from a decentralized model, a flat organizational structure, to a seamlessly integrated model, which can be a matrix or networked organizational structure. The FBI has a decentralized model of 56 field offices, which promote its culture to act in a silho. Changing this organizational structure would enable time-sensitive global intelligence information to be shared in real-time.
Using this framework to analyze the CIO’s comment, we believe that if the agency’s people found some value to using technology, their IT values would change, and in consequence influence in the organization’s culture.