Friday, May 30, 2008

Global Delivery of Professional Services Conference: My (Controversial) Statements!!!

I just got back from the first day of the NYU-IBM Workshop on Global Delivery of Professional Services. First, I want to thank Natalia Levina, from New York University, for hosting a wonderful workshop. The discussions and interactions were superb. Thanks, Natalia…Wonderful job!

Second, as I was told during dinner, some (or most) of the individuals in the workshop may have misinterpreted, some (or all), of my comments….So, let me use this space to clarify a few things…I was on a panel titled, “Sharing Knowledge for Innovation”. During my five minutes, I addressed some of the background on my work on innovation programs (see and then proceeded to talk about my current interest - “understanding global talent management programs in Indian outsourcing firms”. The motivation behind this research project is quite simple – “Indian outsourcing firms lack an adequate global talent management capability to conduct complex innovation projects”. This statement triggered a lot of interesting discussion, and some emotional reactions. Well, as I noted in my comments:

1. I am talking specifically about “complex, blue sky, futuristic…” kind of innovation. I did acknowledge that Indian firms are great at “problem-solving/need-based” innovation.

2. I also acknowledged that I am not interested in studying the Indian culture nor was I was saying that something was endemic to Indian firms. I even stated that I was not making a value judgment as to the performance on Indian outsourcing firms in terms of their innovation capacity compared to other outsourcing vendors located in different countries. I noted that my choice to study Indian firms was purely out of convenience. I have access to some excellent graduate students and firms willing to participate.

However, even given these two disclaimers (and I acknowledge that I could have made these more clear, and plus it was late in the day…), I was surprised by the reactions…Most of the reactions, were let’s say not positive. A large contingent of the crowd tried to convince me that my observations were wrong, lacked generalization, or were incomplete…While I agree that there might be some truth in some of these issues, I do fundamentally believe that…Indian outsourcing firms have serious gaping holes in their global talent management programs which prevents them from taking on highly complex innovation projects.

I would be interested in receiving comments, feedback, data, and even case studies that support or falsify my hypotheses. I would also like to receive studies that have been done on the global talent management or human resource practices in Indian outsourcing firms.

I am Indian, have been Indian, and will be Indian…I love India…and want to see the Indian outsourcing firms to grow, innovate, and lead the marketplace….So, please do not take my comments as being a bashing on Indian firms…they are just my honest observations…who knows someday a journal may actually publish some of the findings from our ongoing research project…

Thanks to all that shared comments during the workshop, thanks to all that read this post, and the deepest thanks to all those that respond with comments, data, articles, case studies, etc…

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Special Issue of the Journal of Strategic Information Systems: eGovernment Strategies: ICT innovation in international public sector contexts

eGovernment Strategies: ICT innovation in international public sector contexts Edited by R. Hackney, K.C. Desouza and P. Chau, Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 73-176 (June 2008)

A special issue on eGovernment strategies has been published by the Journal of Strategic Information Systems. I served as a co-editor for this special issue.

The special issue contains six papers:

  • Making e-Government systems workable: Exploring the evolution of frames (Bijan Azad, Samer Faraj)

  • Investigating organizational learning in eGovernment projects: A multi-theoretic approach (Chee Wei Phang, Atreyi Kankanhalli, Caizuan Ang)

  • User engagement in e-government systems implementation: A comparative case study of two Singaporean e-government initiatives (Calvin M.L. Chan, Shan L. Pan)

  • Adoption of ICT in a government organization in a developing country: An empirical study (Babita Gupta, Subhasish Dasgupta, Atul Gupta)

  • Learning lessons from evaluating eGovernment: Reflective case experiences that support transformational government (Zahir Irani, Peter E.D. Love, Stephen Jones)

  • Trust and risk in e-government adoption (France BĂ©langer, Lemuria Carter)

Please see here for more information on the special issue and to access the papers -

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Article Published in Public Performance & Management Review

I have a new article published.

Yuttapongsontorn, N., Desouza, K.C., and Braganza, A. “Complexities of Large-Scale Technology Project Failure: A Forensic Analysis of the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority,” Public Performance & Management Review, 31 (3), 2008, 443-478.

“Being stuck in traffic doesn’t have to be a way of life.” This beautiful prologue came from the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC) board’s letter in the ETC Seattle Popular Monorail Plan, one of the largest public works projects ever proposed in the city of Seattle. Three years after this proposal, the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) was shut down by voters on November 8, 2005. This paper critically analyzes the SMP through the lens of stakeholder theory. This perspective provides valuable insights into the failure of the SMP. We theorize that SMP’s failure might have been avoided had its leadership recognized the many stakeholders that had power over the plan and, more importantly, the dynamic changes in relationships between the stakeholders. Failure might also have been avoided by managing conflicts in stakeholders’ expectations. Specifically, we use stakeholder theory to develop four propositions that are relevant in the context of large-scale technology projects. One, organizations are more likely to succeed when have effective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating interactions between stakeholders and changes in their positions in relation to their strategic innovation projects. Two, organizations are more likely to succeed when they tradeoff the conflicts in expectations and interests that stakeholders hold. Three, organizations are more likely to implement complex technology projects by understanding stakeholders’ expectations and the interplay between stakeholders. Four, organizations are more likely to achieve their innovative projects when they define stakeholders in terms of their power over their strategic objectives. The paper makes a contribution both to the research and practice of major technological infrastructure projects, strategic innovations, and government technology management.

The journal has also published commentary by Cryshanna A. Jackson and Wendy Slone on the case study.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Travel Nightmare - Air France is Rubbish

In the last three years, I have been on over 220+ flights...that is a lot of flying...and I have enjoyed all of those reason might be is that I never flew Air France. Yesterday, I boarded an Air France flight from Montpellier to Paris (Charles de Gaulle International Airport) [Flight # AF 7683]. Then, I flew AF 1780 from Paris to London (Heathrow). Taking these two flights, has been by far my worst (choose a nice harsh adjective here) flying experience. To make a long story short, both my flights were delayed, and my bags were lost...!!!

If you want details, read on...

I was originally, scheduled to fly out on the following...

Scheduled departure from Montpellier (MPL) at 13:40, Wed 14 May 08
Scheduled arrival in Paris (CDG) at 15:10, Wed 14 May 08

Scheduled departure from Paris (CDG) at 16:10, Wed 14 May 08
Scheduled arrival in London (LHR) at 16:25, Wed 14 May 08

So like, any good traveler, I got to the Montpellier Airport at 1100. I then checked my two bags in and proceeded to wait for 2 hrs. The inbound flight into Montpellier was late. So, I knew that making my connection would be nearly impossible. I approached the agents at the counter, who told me, 'not to worry, I have plenty of time to make my connection' (I should have asked them if they were drinking too much wine on the job!!!). So, they did not take any proactive measures to make arrangements for me to make my connection in Paris. We got to Paris, 45 minutes late. Then, we waited on the ground, as the Air France airport staff had forgotten to send a ladder to the aircraft so that the passengers could disembark!!! Nice...Overall, a 45 minute delay, was extended to 75 minutes.

Then, I approach the transfer desk in Paris, who booked me on the next flight to London (the one that departs at 1800). I made it a point to check on the status of my bags, and I was assured that they would be with me in London. Then, I get to London, and guess what - no bloody bags!!!

I then had a conversation with the baggage staff, who advised me that Air France had taken upon themselves to re-route my bags directly to Seattle...(you can imagine the words that came out of my mouth after I heard this...if not, call me and I will tell you...) What in the world they were thinking is beyond me...Then, after a long discussion, I was assured that I would get a call in the hotel that I was staying my Heathrow on information pertaining to my bags...(want to take a guess at what happened...?)...I did not get any call.

So, had to make do with no clothes, phone, I had no bags...

Now, I am in Heathrow, and going to be board my flight to United Airlines flight to Seattle (via Chicago)...and still no information on the bags...

Hopefully, I will get my bags in Seattle...

But, some critical learning lessons -
1. Never fly Air France again!!!!
2. Do what I can to make sure no one that I knows boards an Air France Flight...
3. Never pack valuables in your checked luggage (like good wines!!!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Managing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction-International Journal of Public Administration

I have a new paper accepted for publication in the International Journal of Public Administration.

Managing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Information Management Perspective

Kevin C. Desouza and Kristen A. Lau 

The threat towards international security that terrorists, failed or failing states and rogue regimes pose when in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is a very significant one. Having accurate and timely intelligence is a must in today’s security environment, especially when estimating WMD capabilities. Breakdowns in information management relating to WMD intelligence can be responsible for failures in deterring a WMD attack or may create a false alarm regarding a nation’s capabilities, with equally serious consequences. This paper seeks to propose a framework for understanding the informational failures associated with estimating a state’s WMD capabilities using an information management model. Estimating a state’s nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons capabilities is complicated due to several factors. At every point of the intelligence process that will later transcend to policy and action, there are challenges that affect how information is managed. This paper will cover these different challenges by organizing them into four information management categories: Sources Management, Analytics Management, Interpretation Management, and Actions Management. An appreciation of the informational challenges associated with WMD detection may lead to improved practices of information management thereby resulting in accurate assessments regarding WMD capabilities and policy agendas.

Keywords: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Chemical Weapons, Biological Weapons, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Information Systems, Information Management, Information Policy

Monday, May 05, 2008