Ipremier Case Study

Article | Academy of Management Learning & Education | September 2009

The Technology Manager's Journey: An Extended Narrative Approach to Educating Technical Leaders

Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan and Shannon O'Donnell

Technology management poses particular challenges for educators because it requires a facility with different kinds of knowledge and wide-ranging learning abilities. We report on the development and delivery of an information technology (IT) management course designed to address these challenges. Our approach is built around a narrative, the "IVK extended case series," a fictitious but reality-based story about a newly appointed, not technically trained chief information officer (CIO) in his first year on the job. We designed the course around a narrative and composed the narrative in a specific way to achieve two key objectives. First, this format allowed us to combine the active student orientation typical of case-based approaches with the systematic construction of cumulative theoretical frameworks more characteristic of lecture-based methods. Second, basing the narrative on the monomyth—a literary pattern common to important narratives around the world that encourages students to more fully inhabit the story's hero—leads to fuller engagement and more active learning. We report results using this approach with undergraduate and graduate students in two universities located in different countries, with executives at a major multinational corporation, and with participants in an open-enrollment program at a major business school. Student course feedback and a follow-up survey administered about one year after the course suggest that the extended narrative approach mostly achieves its design objectives. We suggest that the approach might be used more widely in teaching technology management, particularly with "digital natives," who have come of age in an environment crowded with engaging approaches to communication and entertainment competing for their attention.

Keywords: Information Technology; Management; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Business Education; Multinational Firms and Management; Entertainment; Communication; Curriculum and Courses; Framework; Design; Goals and Objectives; Learning; Information Technology Industry;


1.What is a denial of service attack?

Denial of service (DOS) attack is an attempt to make a piece of hardware like a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This attack is performed by sending out a ood of information packets that gridlocks the networks resources rendering them unavailable. !ikipedia provides the following information about the federal governing of the crime"#Denial$of$service attacks are considered violations of the %nternet &rchitecture 'oards %nternet proper use policy and also violate the acceptable use policies of virtually all %nternet service providers. They also commonly constitute violations of the laws of individual nations. (!ikipedia *+,-)

How well did iPremier perform during the seventy-ve minute attack? If you were o! "urley# what# if anything# might you have done di$erently during the crisis?

%remier was unprepared for the /- minutes attack. This might have come due to too much faith in the 0datas abilities to control these situation and lack of vision with regards to any threats. %remier had contracted with 0data an %nternet hosting business that provided them with most of their computer e1uipment and internet connection. 0data was not viewed as an industry leader and was selected because it was located close to iremiers corporate head1uarters. 2owever despite being unprepared % do believe iremier did perform well enough during the /- minutes attack3 the situation was handled professionally by all parties involved. 4et even though they handled the matter professionally there is a point that the 5%O didn6t handle too well. 2e is responsible for whatever happens to the companys reputation be it good or bad. &t the moment they were not sure if their systems had been intrudedor if there was some sort of distributed DOS attack. This was because there was not a crisis management strategy in place. 7vidently the company also did not have e1uipment such as proper 8rewall to help subdue the problem. %f the attack had not ended as soon as it did and coupled with a possible intrusion the conse1uences on iremier would have been much more severe. %f % was 'ob Turley % would have ordered the system to be fully shut down even if it meant losing the data that would help the company 8gure out what had happened. %f the website was hacked it means customers information such as credit cards and social security numbers would have been compromised. % believe shutting it down would have been the safer move in managing the potential risk. Dealing with the stolen data and e9pense of the fallout of people6s personal information leaking is far more detrimental to the company than losing information about how the DOS occurred.

%.What information a!out these events should iPremier share with its customers and the pu!lic? &ustify your answer.

% am not sure that a disaster such as this intrusion should be regarded as public relations unless people6s identities were stolen. %f it is shared % believe they may have to share more information about what further steps to secure the infrastructure are planned and are taken to prevent it from happening again. These steps include integrating a well formulated framework for security management. %f shared with the public rehearsing the response is crucial to communicate the proper information to ensure the public can still trust iremier. !ell thought and planned out response (pre$crises) to ma:or incidents makes managers more con8dent and e;ective during real crises. 7ven if the incident occurs in a di;erent form from which was practiced practicemakes a crisis situation more familiar and better prepares managers to improvise solutions. This point could be applied to 1uestion < as well.


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