In traditional theories of how information technology (IT) is applied, a firm develops a business strategy, then chooses the structure and management process, aligns IT, and ensures that employees are trained and their roles are well designed. The authors describe and analyze a case in which business transformation occurred along a different, almost reverse, path to fit, through the incremental adoption of IT. At Flower and Samios, a small architectural firm, business strategy emerged gradually and was an outcome, rather than a driver, of change. The case shows how individual mastery, organizational learning, and the management of risk are critical components of a strategic change in which IT becomes an integral part of a firm’s core business processes.
We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of John Flower and his colleagues at Flower and Samios for permitting us to observe and interview them at work.