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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gina S Neff
COM 597
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Communication

Class description

MCDM course description Digital Transformations of Organizations Winter 2012

The process of transforming organizations -- both for-profit companies and non-profits alike -- is often complex, even more so when new technologies are involved. There are many reasons why technology adoption fails, why people resist the introduction of new tools, and why these tools have unintended consequences and effects. Managing technology change within organizations or being a “change agent� is reward yet extremely challenging work. This course prepares students to take such a role. Using a case study approach, students in this class will learn how to identify potential roadblocks to change and develop analytical tools for measuring qualitatively and quantitatively the impact of technological change on organizations. Together we will examine the following five themes: When Good Tools Fail, Teams/Collaboration, Hierarchy/Heterarchy, Values/Valuation and Leading Change.

At the end of this course students will be able to identify key strategies for managing technology change and apply these strategies in different settings through their final deliverable. Please note that for Winter 2012 this class will be taught as an intensive five week course, meeting in full-day Saturday sessions. The expectations for reading and workload will be equivalent to a full ten-week course. Deliverable will be due by the end of the sixth week.

Meets Saturdays January 7, 14, 21, 28 and Feb 4

Why take this course Students in this class will examine the strategies that companies use to respond to changes in information and communication technologies. Using an approach that requires in-depth analysis of historical and contemporary business cases, students will develop the analytical tools for generating and evaluating strategies in light of technological change.

The process of transforming business strategy is complex—even more so when the moving target of technological change is involved. Our particular focus will be on the rise of the commodification of experience in the digital age. We will focus on cases from media and culture industries (including the traditional mass media and entertainment industries) and begin to apply the lessons learned in these industries more generally to other kinds of industries and opportunities in the digital era. This course is a progression from the core Evolutions class in that we will consider how media and media making is changing from the point of view of business strategies. Guiding questions for this seminar include:

• What are core principles of understanding industry organization vis-à-vis technological change? • What makes media products and services unique and in what ways are they similar to the products and services in other (non-media) industries? • What lessons can we learn from how businesses approached earlier shifts in technology? • What can strategies in the media industries teach those working in new media, non-profit, or other settings?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Business case-based inquiry, small group discussion, interactive lecture, in-class activities.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gina S Neff
Date: 11/16/2011