Ever increasing demands of stakeholders force organizations to adapt faster to growing international competition and to compete simultaneously on the basis of price, quality, flexibility, delivery times, and after-sales support. They are pressured into defining the elements that make up high performance, as there is a growing consensus that effective approaches to management offer organizations competitive advantage. In the wake of the landmark book In Search of Excellence and the more recent bestsellers Built to Last and Good to Great, managers have developed a strong interest in learning the characteristics of high performance organizations (HPOs) to help them in their quest for excellence. HPOs are defined as organizations that achieve results (both financial and non-financial) that are better than those of their peer groups over a period of time of at least five to ten years. After a five year study the characteristics were defined which are part of all excellent organizations worldwide and can be influenced by managers so they are able to take targeted actions to start achieving superior results. The research involved examination of over 280 publications on studies performed in the last 30 years in the area of high performance. The common themes that were found were tested in a worldwide survey executed at over 3100 profit, non-profit and governmental organizations.
The IT Practices Capability Framework
There are five factors that constitute a HPO. High quality management: managers of a HPO have an effective, confident and strong management style and are trusted by al organizational members. High quality workforce: a HPO has a diverse and complementary management team and workforce which are flexible and resilient. Long term orientation: a HPO finds long-term commitment to be far more important than short-term gain, and extends this long-term commitment to all stakeholders of the organization. Openness and action orientation: a HPO has an open culture and focuses on using this openness to take dedicated action to achieve results. Continuous improvement and renewal: a HPO has a strategy that sets the organization apart from its peer group, and structures its processes, products and services in such a way that this unique strategy is achieved in an innovative way. The research results show that there are many things managers traditionally considered important which turn out to be non-distinctive for becoming a HPO. One of these is information technology (IT). Many organizations traditionally spend a lot of time and resources on implementing new IT systems so that many processes in the organization, as depicted in Figure B, are supported.
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