James I. Cash

James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

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(617) 495-6471

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Professor Cash received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Texas Christian University; a Master of Science in Computer Science from Purdue University's Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Management Information Systems (MIS) from Purdue University's Krannert Graduate School of Management. He joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1976, and has taught in all the major HBS programs - MBA, Program for Management Development (PMD), Program for Global Leadership (PGL), and Advanced Management Program (AMP). Among his administrative assignments he has served as Chairman of the MBA Program (1992 to 1995), during the school's project to redesign the MBA Program - MBA: Leadership and Learning, and as Senior Associate Dean and Chairman of HBS Publishing.

Professor Cash's non-academic activities include serving as a Trustee or Overseer for non-profit organizations, and on the Board of Directors for several public companies. He has worked with many companies and governments around the world in both consulting and teaching assignments. Before his graduate education and joining the Harvard faculty, he worked as Director of Data Processing for several years, which followed jobs as a systems analyst, systems programmer, and application programmer.

His work and research are focused on the strategic use of information technology in the service sector.  Amon his publications are articles in accounting and information technology journals, several Harvard Business Review articles including “Teaming Up to Crack Innovation and Enterprise Integration” (November-December 2008), “IS Redraws Competitive Boundaries” (March-April 1985), and “Information Technology and Tomorrow’s Manager” (November-December 1988), several books:  Building the Information-Age Organization: Structure, Control and INnformation Technology with Eccles, Nohria and Nolan (Irwin), Corporate Information Systems Management: Issues Facing Senior Managers and Corporate Information Systems Management: Text and Cases with McFarlan and McKenney (Irwin), Global Electronic Wholesale Banking with Mookerjee (Graham & Trotman), and an instructional videotape, Competing Through Information Technology with Warren McFarlan (Nathan/Tyler).

Publications

Books

  1. Building the Information-Age Organization: Structure, Control, and Information Technologies

    Keywords: Organizational Structure; Information Technology;

    Citation:

    Cash, J. I., Jr., R. G. Eccles, N. Nohria, and R. Nolan. Building the Information-Age Organization: Structure, Control, and Information Technologies. 3rd ed. Irwin Case Book Series in Information Systems Management. Irwin, 1994. View Details

Journal Articles

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. IntellectExchange, Inc.

    A start-up intellect exchange initially offered a public expertise exchange, connecting experts with clients. Now management wonders whether a new, more focused strategy will succeed.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Experience and Expertise; Networks; Business Strategy;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr., and Janis L Gogan. "IntellectExchange, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 802-113, December 2001. View Details
  2. Open Market, Inc.: The E-Commerce Wars

    Continues the story of Open Market, Inc., a company founded in 1994 to support electronic commerce on the Internet. Despite a very successful initial public offering, the firm had reached a growth plateau, and the management team was considering several strategic options. Should it focus on building market share of its simple "storefront" product shop site (which was targeted at small e-merchants) or develop new channels for their high-end order-processing software, Transact? The 1999 holiday season was rapidly approaching, and Open Market's management team hoped to benefit from a predicted surge in online sales.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Technological Innovation; Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Marketing Channels; Product Marketing; Product Development; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Information Technology Industry; Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr., Janis Lee Gogan, Michael Haselkorn, and Mani Subramani. "Open Market, Inc.: The E-Commerce Wars." Harvard Business School Case 800-255, February 2000. (Revised October 2000.) View Details
  3. American Online: Using Information Technology to Better Serve the Customer

    Mike Connors, president of AOL Technologies, examines several efforts to correct operational problems inhibiting the company's growth. What will need to be done to support growth and counter competition from Prodigy, Compuserv, and Internet-related services?

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Service Operations; Problems and Challenges; Competitive Strategy; Information Technology; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr., and Judy E. Stahl. "American Online: Using Information Technology to Better Serve the Customer." Harvard Business School Case 396-290, March 1996. (Revised January 1997.) View Details
  4. Mrs. Fields Cookies

    Mrs. Fields Cookies is a small company selling freshly baked goods through privately owned specialty stores (each store sells only Mrs. Fields products). The company has about 8,000 employees worldwide and less than 150 information systems people for a unique leverage of MIS resources. The company uses information systems extensively in its processing, communications, and other management functions, including operations of the stores and hiring sales employees. Teaching objectives include discussion of information technology architecture, organizations, management control, and strategy.

    Keywords: Acquisition; Information Management; Organizational Structure; Customer Relationship Management; Business Growth and Maturation; Networks; Online Technology; Food and Beverage Industry; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr. "Mrs. Fields Cookies." Harvard Business School Case 189-056, September 1988. (Revised September 1993.) View Details
  5. General Electric Canada: Designing a New Organization

    General Electric Canada used sociotechnical design techniques to restructure its financial, administrative, facilities, and information technology service from a decentralized, hierarchical organization to a centralized organization composed of self-managing, multi-skilled work teams. The case explores the role of information technology in supporting and enabling the intensive information sharing and communication required by the new organization design.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Information Technology; Groups and Teams; Change; Communication; Information; Industrial Products Industry; Canada;

    Citation:

    Applegate, Lynda M., and James I. Cash Jr. "General Electric Canada: Designing a New Organization." Harvard Business School Case 189-138, January 1989. (Revised March 1991.) View Details
  6. Managing Information Technology: System Development

    Provides an overview of the system development process in large organizations. Describes traditional life cycle approaches as well as more recent methods, e.g., prototyping. The objective is to familiarize students with the terminology and issues involving system development that arise in other MIS cases and discussions. A rewritten version of an earlier note.

    Keywords: Design; Information Technology; System;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr., and Thomas H. Davenport. "Managing Information Technology: System Development." Harvard Business School Background Note 189-132, January 1989. View Details
  7. Managing Information Technology: Organization and Leadership

    Describes the organizational components of the typical IT organization in a large corporation. Points out common problems and issues for each component of the organization. Also addresses the leadership issues for the IT function, and focuses specifically on the Chief Information Officer role. A rewritten version of an earlier note by L.M. Applegate.

    Keywords: Information Management; Organizational Design; Leadership; Managerial Roles; Information Technology; Problems and Challenges; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Cash, James I., Jr., and Thomas H. Davenport. "Managing Information Technology: Organization and Leadership." Harvard Business School Background Note 189-133, January 1989. View Details

Presentations

    Research Summary

  1. The Role of Information Technology in the Provision of Services

    James I. Cash, Jr. is exploring the role of information technology in service management. Specifically, he is studying the implications of the ubiquity of information technology at three levels in service-providing organizations. (In the United States today, service firms account for fully 70 percent of information technology sales.) At the level of the individual, the portability of communicating technologies has led to their increasing deployment among front-line service providers. How effective is such deployment for customers and employees, and do they perceive the effectiveness? At the level of the organization, applications of information technology are transforming traditional approaches to communi-cation and coordination and control of business activities and work processes. Is the orientation of these applications empowerment or control? If empowerment, of whom: customers, employees, or both? At the interorganizational and industry levels, perhaps the most prominent effect of information technology is the blurring of traditional company and industry boundaries, which is facilitating disintermediation and new forms of market access, as illustrated by the growing use of the Internet for business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and intrabusiness communication. What does the shift from face-to-face to screen-to-face delivery of information-based services mean for the average person? To what extent is individually customized service delivery enabled? Besides attempting to answer these and other crucial questions, Cash is also considering the organic nature of interlinked information systems that accumulate experience over time. The continually growing database implicit in such systems promises to be an important source of competitive advantage in service businesses.