Case | HBS Case Collection | February 1990 (Revised July 1990)

Internal Revenue Service: Automated Collection System

by Nitin Nohria

Abstract

Describes how the IRS's collection operations changed from a largely manual system (COF) to an automated system (ACS). A central aspect of ACS was the electronic scheduling and maintaining of work. While with ACS the IRS accomplished significant improvements in the task efficiency of its collection operations, the system also led to greater turnover and lower employee morale. This raises questions of how the system could be redesigned. The primary teaching objective of the case is to show how information technology, control systems, and organization design are intertwined and how any change effort must address all three aspects simultaneously.

Keywords: Sovereign Finance; Revenue; Information Technology; Taxation; Change Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Design; Human Resources; Public Administration Industry; United States;

Citation:

Nohria, Nitin. "Internal Revenue Service: Automated Collection System." Harvard Business School Case 490-042, February 1990. (Revised July 1990.)