The Technology Fallacy

From Management on the Cutting Edge

The Technology Fallacy

How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation

By Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky and Garth R. Andrus

Why an organization's response to digital disruption should focus on people and processes and not necessarily on technology.





Why an organization's response to digital disruption should focus on people and processes and not necessarily on technology.

Digital technologies are disrupting organizations of every size and shape, leaving managers scrambling to find a technology fix that will help their organizations compete. This book offers managers and business leaders a guide for surviving digital disruptions—but it is not a book about technology. It is about the organizational changes required to harness the power of technology. The authors argue that digital disruption is primarily about people and that effective digital transformation involves changes to organizational dynamics and how work gets done. A focus only on selecting and implementing the right digital technologies is not likely to lead to success. The best way to respond to digital disruption is by changing the company culture to be more agile, risk tolerant, and experimental.

The authors draw on four years of research, conducted in partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, surveying more than 16,000 people and conducting interviews with managers at such companies as Walmart, Google, and Salesforce. They introduce the concept of digital maturity—the ability to take advantage of opportunities offered by the new technology—and address the specifics of digital transformation, including cultivating a digital environment, enabling intentional collaboration, and fostering an experimental mindset. Every organization needs to understand its “digital DNA” in order to stop “doing digital” and start “being digital.”

Digital disruption won't end anytime soon; the average worker will probably experience numerous waves of disruption during the course of a career. The insights offered by The Technology Fallacy will hold true through them all.

A book in the Management on the Cutting Edge series, published in cooperation with MIT Sloan Management Review.


$29.95 T ISBN: 9780262039680 280 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 41 figures


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262545112 280 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 41 figures


  • Must-Read for Digital Leaders.

    Thrive Global


  • Being a digital organization is an imperative of our time, yet workable paths forward are still largely unmapped. The authors manage to provide some of the most meaningful insights available on how to move forward faster and more sustainably to craft a digital DNA in a deeply disruptive world.

    Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research; author of Social Business by Design

  • Packed with data, interviews and engaging examples, The Technology Fallacy is a compelling case for companies' need to adapt to current conditions not just by using technology, but by structuring systems and training leaders to embrace continuous learning and adaptivity. It's also a fantastic guide for how to get started.

    Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way

  • The Technology Fallacy is the perfect read for leaders challenged to respond to the disruption caused by digital technologies! The book does a brilliant job of focusing leaders on the specific actions that they can take to build their organizations' digital capacity and not getting dazzled by the technologies themselves.

    Atish Gude, Chief Strategy Officer, NetApp, Inc.

  • There is no shortage of literature on the topic of digital disruption, with the dominant focus on technology trends. However, for anyone that is experiencing digital disruption, it is painfully obvious that the real competency to develop is how to organizationally—via people, talent, and culture—navigate a rapidly changing environment. Fortunately, The Technology Fallacy does a brilliant job of filling this gap.

    Marcus Shingles, digital transformation practitioner and former CEO of XPRIZE

  • The Technology Fallacy is the technology book business leaders have been waiting for. Few of us are technology experts, but we know that top talent and agile teams are paramount to digital success. I applaud the authors for sharing their insights on these issues.

    Scott W. Wine, Chairman & CEO, Polaris Industries

  • This is a timely and very relevant book for executives struggling to lead organizations through digital transformation. Using data from multiple years of global surveys, the authors zero in on the key organizational and cultural issues that executives need to address, and provide practical advice on how they can build digital capabilities and capacity for transformation.

    Maryam Alavi, Dean and Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr. Chair; Professor of IT Management; Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology