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Abstract

As information technology (IT) functions and their professionals become partners in managing the information resource of the organization, contributors to the strategic planning process and major players in the business, rather than appendages which can be outsourced, new skills and competencies are needed for IT personnel. In particular, the proposition that IT specialists will have to function more like change agents has been echoed by a number of writers. However, there has been no prior empirical research that explicitly measures the degree of knowledge that IT specialists possess about fundamental concepts in the management of change in organizations. The present study offers to fill that gap. Data were collected using a survey instrument, the Managing Change Questionnaire, which was mailed to over 2,200 Canadian IT specialists. Of the sample, 18% returned completed questionnaires. ANOVA and t-test were used to identity differences among categories of respondents. Overall, IT practitioners' scores were acceptable but not particularly impressive. Results indicate that most IT specialists could pass the test regarding their knowledge of the concepts underlying organizational change management, and in the techniques needed to implement such a process, but they were not outstanding in that knowledge. Further, senior IT managers and systems/business analysts demonstrated a better grasp of many of the issues inherent in organizational change efforts than did technical personnel. Implications of these results for research as well as practice and educational programs in IT are discussed.

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