There can be resistance to a new curriculum. Generally, resistance is a tricky subject and so are itsexplanations. Building on work about organizational effectiveness and resistance, this paper examines two theories of resistance in order to understand and explain resistance. It deals with potential difficulties in curriculum design process posed by political and organizational structural forces within a university. Conclusion and insights obtained from this study, we hope, will contribute, on one hand, to the body of organizational theory regarding innovation, change, conflict and resistance. On the other hand, this work will add to the explanations of resistance in general, and to new IM curriculum in particular. (Keyword: IS Education: Curriculum, IM Education; Research Methodology: Case study; Organizational Environment: Dynamics--Change, Power, Innovation.) This paper deals with the organizational difficulties in launching a graduate program in Information Management. The problem deserves attention specifically because there exist fields of studies and academic departments (which could be viewed as separate cost centers) that are more precisely defined and established--such as Management, Sociology, Psychology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science, Computer Science, etc., to name a few--across which the IM field spans taxonomically. Existence ofsuch departments in-or out-side the college of business, we observe, can make launching a new program in IM very vulnerable to criticism of duplicating efforts and wasting university's scarce resources in times of economic downturns. In contrast to our initial thought that once we know what we want to teach we will be able to offer the program, we found that there are organizational difficulties--such as the one mentioned above. Because of its inter-disciplinary nature, an IM program (launch) puts different demands on the organizational structure of a university than any other one-discipline program would. We suspect most universities are not organized for inter-disciplinary program offerings. Of course, there are exceptions, but most universities are generally organized by strict academic disciplines, and, at the best, can offer "inter-disciplinary" programs that simply require students take a mix of course offerings that are serviced by separate departments. The study focuses on the resistance posed by organization structure, the nature of product, the politics of power and resource redistribution. We examine resistance theories that attempt to explain the reasons of resistance. We report the results of a study that has been conducted in the context of existing theories of resistance and conflict (Markus, 1983) and organizational politics and power (Kling, 1978). In addition, in the realm of organizational change and innovation, we draw upon the congruence hypothesis of Nadler and Tushman (1980), discussed in the next section. We propose and test two theories in order to understand and explain resistance and conflict in general, and, in particular, to new IM curriculum in a university setting. The subject university, the Our Pride University (OPU), is a 2A medium-sized state-school that is primarily a teaching institution, with significant master's programs, and which mirrors numerous other US state schools in tradition, rigid departmental structure, resource scarcity, bureaucratic slow decision making process, and academic protectionism. The subject college is the College of Business which is accredited by AACSB for both MBA and Undergraduate Business programs. The OPU is a hierarchically organized, public university. As of Fall, 1992, when the proposal of a new graduate program in IM first started, and since, at least, the last decade and a half, the OPU was composed of six academic colleges administered by their respective deans: Applied Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, and Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. The five departments of the college of business are functionally organized around the following disciplines: accountancy, economics, marketing and finance, management, and information management. In addition to the above undergraduate degree programs, the College of Business also offers graduate degree programs in business administration, economics, and accountancy. From this point on, our presentation is as follows. The product proposal and its rationale are brieflydescribed, the data for resistance presented and then the assumptions are tested. The predictions from the theories are then derived for the case and contrasted with the real data from the case to accept or refute the theories.
Samaddar, Subhashish and Kaul, Tej K., "The Politics and Power in Curriculum Introduction:An Information Management Case Study" (1995). AMCIS 1995 Proceedings. 178.