James I. Cash

James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

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).

  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.