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Title:Organizational responses to technological discontinuities: the case of the American College of Radiology (ACR)
Author(s):Flores, Ricardo G.
Director of Research:Kraatz, Matthew S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kraatz, Matthew S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Aguilera, Ruth V.; Leblebici, Huseyin; Love, E. Geoffrey
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Technological Discontinuities
Professional Associations
Technological Evolution
Institutional Change
Technological Change
Organizational Adaptation
Organizational change
Abstract:A long history of organizational research has shown that organizations are affected significantly by changes in technology. Scholars have given particular attention to the effects of so-called disruptive or discontinuous technological changes. Studies have repeatedly shown that established, incumbent organizations tend to suffer deep performance declines (and even complete demise) in the face of such changes, and researchers have devoted much attention to identifying the organizational conditions and processes that are responsible for this persistent and widespread pattern of adaptation failure. This dissertation, which examines the response of the American College of Radiology (ACR) to the emergence of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging technology (NMR), aims to contribute to this well-established research tradition in three distinct and important ways. First, it focuses on a fundamentally different type of organization, a professional association, rather than the technology producers examined in most prior research. Although technologies are well known to be embedded in “communities” that include technology producers, suppliers, customers, governmental entities, professional societies, and other entities, most prior research has focused on the responses and ultimate fate of producers alone. Little if any research has explored the responses of professional organizations in particular. Second, the study employs a sophisticated process methodology that identifies the individual events that make up the organization’s response to technological change, as well as the overall sequence through which these events unfold. This process approach contrasts sharply with the variance models used in most previous studies and offers the promise of developing knowledge about how adaptation ultimately unfolds (or fails to). Finally, the project also contributes significantly through its exploration of an apparently successful case of adaptation to technological change. Though nuclear magnetic resonance imaging posed a serious threat to the ACR and its members, this threat appears to have been successfully managed and overcome. Although the unique nature of the organization and the technology under study place some important limits on the generalizablity of this research, its findings nonetheless provide some important basic insights about the process through which social organizations can successfully adapt to discontinuous technological changes. These insights, which may also be of substantial relevance to technology producer organizations, will also be elaborated.
Issue Date:2010-08-31
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Ricardo G. Flores
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-08-31
Date Deposited:2010-08

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