Book Excerpt: 'Managing Customer Relationships on the Internet'

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Technological change can be viewed as an important aspect of the entrepreneurial process, but it seems that most research on entrepreneurship investigates the process after the technology has been put into use, that is, after opportunities have been discovered. An alternative would be to view both the implementation and the use of the new technology as integrated parts of the entrepreneurial process, causing change, both expected and unexpected. The latter view is in focus for this study.

Drawing on Austrian economics, we assume that knowledge is imperfectly dispersed among actors and not given to anyone in a complete package. In a critical note on the governing of economic activities through centralized plans, Hayek argued that centralized planning systems were limited in their ability to adapt to unexpected discoveries. Often planning is put forward as the most crucial aspect of technology implementation, even though some researchers highlight the importance of balancing planning with improvisation in order to manage the unexpected. Implementation of an information technology represents a non-predictable process, which was even more the case in the 1990s, when IT underwent rapid technical development and when most organizations were ignorant about the nature of the new technology.

Moreover, IT often had an extensive impact on large parts of the organization, which, in turn, made the implementation process complex. Our point is that discoveries are of crucial importance and that they are to be understood in relation to planning. We take this as our point of departure when studying the process of planning and implementing IT in order to understand its impact on organizations.

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Reprinted with permission from Academic Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2006. "Managing Customer Relationships on the Internet," edited by Angelika Lindstrand, Jan Johanson and Dharma Deo Sharma. For more information about this book and other similar titles, please visit

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