The Technology Takers

ISBN: 978-1-78769-464-4, eISBN: 978-1-78769-463-7

Publication date: 30 November 2018


Flanding, J.P., Grabman, G.M. and Cox, S.Q. (2018), "Prelims", The Technology Takers, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xviii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 by Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page

The Technology Takers

Title Page

The Technology Takers

Leading Change in the Digital Era


Jens P. Flanding, PhD

Genevieve M. Grabman, JD

Sheila Q. Cox, MBA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2019

Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited

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No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a license permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. While Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters' suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-78769-464-4 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-78769-463-7 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-78769-465-1 (Epub)

Chapter Outline

1. The Technology Takers of the Digital Era 1

2. Technology-taking as a Strategy 21

3. Create Value through Data Analysis and Behavior Change 41

4. Playbook to Digital-era Change Leadership 61

Play 1: Envision Continuous Change Management 72

Play 2: Govern Technologies and Change 85

Play 3: Engage to Sponsor and Advocate for Change 101

Play 4: Equip People with the Skills of the Future 115

Play 5: Measure Managers' Embrace of Technology Change 129

Playbook Completed: The Next Frontier 143

5. Leading Change in the Digital Era 161

List of Figures and Tables

Figure 1 The Behavior Change Delta
Figure 2 The Adoption–Adaptation Strategy Matrix: Maker, Taker, Tinker, and Tailor
Figure 3 The Virtuous Cycle of Change
Table 1 A Tale of Two Committees

Case Index

Technology Companies and Technologies



Artificial intelligence

Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)

Cloud-based technologies

Data as a Service (DaaS)

Driverless trucks


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems








Microsoft Office


Office 365



SAP Concur




Software as a Service (SaaS)






Agricultural commodities distribution



Digital cameras


Fishing fleets


Sharing economy



Truck manufacturing


Tugboat Operators


African Mothers Health Initiative






Charles Schwab

CHG Healthcare




General Electrics (GE)



International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

Jimmy Choo





News Corps



Tata Group



UK Government Digital Service (GDS)

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UN Development Group (UNDG)

UN Development Programme (UNDP)

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UN Women

United Nations (UN)

US Federal Trade Commission


Wells Fargo


World Food Program (WFP).


Why Read this Book

If you are standing on the sidelines wondering how to jump into the digital game, this book is for you. If you have seen others pour endless sums of money into failed technology experiments and want to avoid a similar fate, this book is for you. If you are concerned that your organization may be wedded to outdated technologies, this book is for you.

We offer a proven approach for capturing the benefits of new technologies while limiting your business risk. We offer a simple strategy for winning at the technology game, by taking the best of what is available, rather than trying to invent everything yourself. By recognizing that taking on new technologies requires willingness to learn and continually change. We invite you to enjoy the journey.

Idea in Brief

Digital-era technologies lead organizations to become technology takers, the equivalent of economic “price takers.” To be a technology taker is to assent to the behavior-transforming benefits of modern technologies. This playbook offers technology takers' tactics to manage change, create value, and exploit the digital era's strategic opportunities.

Summary of the Main Argument

Users of twenty-first-century digital-era technologies are “technology takers,” accepting of and adjusting to whatever the market offers them.

Similar to small firms that lack the market power to set prices and are economic “price takers,” managers today are increasingly unable to customize the digital-era technologies their organizations use. Technology takers have little influence over the capabilities of the technologies they adopt; they cannot expect to improve on or customize for themselves the features of Facebook, Google, the iPhone, the blockchain, cloud-based enterprise resource planning systems, or other game-changing technologies.

The inability to modify available information technologies is a shock to leaders and managers alike. Cloud-based technologies arrive with set processes developed by others, and users must learn new ways of working each time the technologies themselves evolve. But refusing to adopt and adapt to digital-era technologies is increasingly not an option. Change in the digital era is constant and behavior-transforming. Leaders must respond to these changes, or they will get left behind by those who do. The constancy of change also means that organizations have to do more than launch typical, one-off change management or transformation projects to succeed.

To adopt efficiently and adapt effectively to behavior-changing technologies, astute leaders should employ change leadership techniques as a strategy for the digital era. This book offers technology takers a playbook to manage change, create value, and exploit the digital era's opportunities. The book draws on research and recent case studies to explain what it means to be a technology taker. Organizations and their managers are offered change leadership plays, which emphasize the iterative nature of change management in the digital era. The book also describes how technology-taking can create value through data stream analytics and be used to respond proactively to the challenges of the digital era.


We sincerely thank our series Editorial Director and Head of Business, Finance and Economics Books, Emerald Group Publishing, Pete Baker. We are grateful to three anonymous peer reviewers of our proposal whose comments helped improve and clarify the purpose and scope of the book. Katy Mathers, Editorial Assistant for Business, Management, Economics, and Finance at Emerald Publishing, is earnestly thanked for her tireless support, as is the cover designer, Mike Hill.

Great thanks are owed to our research assistant, Kathleen Guan, for her copy editing, footnoting, and investigation skills, without which this book could not have been completed. We also appreciate the Latin expertise of classics scholar, Jonas Howard: scientia est maior aetate.

Our gratitude is to Claire Messina, Miguel Panadero, Mads Svendsen, Sabine Bannot, Paulo Lyra, and Daphne Moench for support and insights. Joseph Ippolito is also thanked for comments on the initial book proposal, including early foresight into artificial intelligence and related operational strategies. We are grateful to Gerald C. Anderson for sharing his leadership ideas and insights on both strategic and tactical change management tools and techniques.

Further, we are grateful to our families, who have assumed a disproportionate share of domestic duties while we were busy writing. Without the unending emotional support of our spouses, this book would not have been possible.

We are thankful to the support for this book from past and present colleagues. Importantly, the views and opinions expressed in this book are those of the authors' alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the authors' past or present employers or affiliations. Examples of case materials within this book are examples based on limited and clearly referenced sources in the public domain. Assumptions made within the book are our own and are not reflective of the position of any of the sources cited.