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Shocking the legacy mindset™: management development and the internet

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Purpose ‐ Although this article's objectives include providing a primer on internet business strategy and a design guide for future management development efforts, the motivating objective is to expose traditional business leaders to the need to shock the legacy mindset of their organizations so that they will remain competitive in the twenty-first century. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Uses Lewin's three-step change model ‐ unfreeze, change, and refreeze, involving the IMPACT internet business simulation. Findings ‐ Just as information technology progress has been slowed by the need to integrate with legacy systems, the new business opportunities available on the internet have been slowed by the legacy mindsets of traditionally trained managers. These legacy mindsets have become systemic in the conversations and cultures of most traditional organizations. Thus, an established company's successful venture into the internet space will likely depend on a significant change in organizational culture. Research limitations/implications ‐ Although this article was not developed to empirically explore the link between changed mindsets and organization success, some anecdotal evidence is offered that may motivate significant future research. Practical implications ‐ Through the use of business simulations new conversations can be introduced and the organization change process can be started. By detailing some of the design considerations in the development of the IMPACT internet business simulation, this article exposes management development professionals to the benefits of business simulations and the educational challenges presented by the internet. Originality/value ‐ The article challenges business leaders and management development professionals to look at the internet as a threat to their organizational culture. If managers want to prepare their organizations for the future, they are going to need tools such as business simulations to shock their organization's legacy mindsets.

Keywords: Competitive strategy; Internet; Management strategy; Organizational change; Organizational culture

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-03-01

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