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IT can matter: co-evolution fostering IT competitive advantage

Andy Luse (Department of Management Science and Information Systems, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)
Brian Mennecke (Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




This article revisits Nicolas Carr's popular Harvard Review article IT Doesn't Matter on its ten-year anniversary. The purpose is to analyze Carr's argument by analyzing the development of the argument itself as opposed to finding exceptions to the argument, which has been done in the past.


The authors use co-evolutionary theory as a case against Carr's argument by showing that Carr has only looked at the growth of IT from a population ecology perspective and has failed to anticipate the adaptive nature of IT within the organization.


The authors show that Carr's new rules for IT management may not be applicable if viewed through the lens of the three principles of self-renewing organizations espoused by co-evolutionary theory.

Research limitations/implications

The authors provide a new basis for evaluating the strategic nature of IT and offer a background for future research and case studies into evaluating IT strategic competitive advantage within the organization.

Practical implications

The research provides guidelines for organizations to better decide how to strategically implement IT to more fully utilize its capabilities.


The paper provides a new method for refuting a popular article by attacking the argument as opposed to finding exceptions to the argument. This is valuable to those who wish to evangelize the strategic capacity of IT within the organization.



Luse, A. and Mennecke, B. (2014), "IT can matter: co-evolution fostering IT competitive advantage", Management Research Review, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 574-588.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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