The management of technology and change : the introduction of computer-based information technology in the Sudanese banking industry
This study represents a research effort aimed at contributing to the literature on the management of technology and change in general; and in particular on the adoption of new technology by commercial banks operating in developing economies. The context of Sudan provides a good research opportunity to investigate the issues and problems faced by banks adopting information technology in such an economy. To investigate this issue, relevant literature was explored and examined prior to conducting fieldwork in the Sudan. The theoretical section analyses debates on the change process and perspectives on IT and change. The empirical research and the practical aspect of the investigation is based on fieldwork carried out in Sudan. The study design comprised mixed methods: that is, a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection to construct a picture of how IT has been introduced and implemented in the SBI. Response rate of (90.7 per cent) to questionnaire survey was received; and (82) interviews were conducted with General/Bank Managers, IT managers, employees, IT consultants and senior officials/top policy makers in the SBI in the period from January 2003 to July 2003. SPSS was used to analyse the quantitative data; and all taped interviews were transcribed and data were analysed using manual thematic analysis methods. Findings suggest a top down approach in the strategic decision to adopt new technology, whereas the process of managing the implementation of change was determined at the local banking level. The findings reveal how bank managers constrained the process of technological change and inhibited the strategic development of IT in the Sudanese banking sector, largely due to lack of technology awareness and IT knowledge. These findings have implications for strategy and policy making, particularly in the areas of technology investment, recruitment of staff, employees’ training and modification of systems to comply with Islamic Modes of banking practice in the SBI. The study offers a contribution to knowledge by providing new empirical evidence on the management of technology and change in the context of a developing country, identifying lessons for business managers, professionals and academics, as well as enhancing our theoretical understanding of the management of change.