Penn State Great Valley Management Research Showcase | Highlighting Research Projects of Penn State Faculty

How to Lead Your Organization Out of the Valley of Despair:
Guidelines for Large-scale IT Systems Change

Wednesday, February 13
Noon to 1 p.m.
Main Building, Room 230

Free and open to faculty, staff, students, and the community.
Seating is limited; register at or call 610-648-3229.

Presenter: Denise Potosky, Ph.D., Professor, Management and Organization
During large-scale changes such as an ERP or other IT system implementation, people throughout an organization may experience the "Valley of Despair" as they try to learn the new system and accompanying new business processes. This presentation explains the leadership roles and behaviors critical to the development and implementation of information technology advancements in organizations. Key assumptions from human agency theory and transformational leadership theory are applied to illustrate that some end-users will pursue their old ways of doing things, allowing inertia to slow or even reverse the change, and other end-users are likely to be very practical and even improvisational as they evaluate the new system. These practical-evaluative and improvisational actions are reinforced by transactional leadership behaviors, which will ultimately support the status quo. In order to move out of the valley of despair, users need a projective orientation toward the envisioned future that involves the new system and new business processes. Transformational leadership behaviors can develop and inspire IT users toward reinvention as the value of the new system is realized by an organization.

Denise Potosky (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is a professor of management and organization at Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. Her research focuses on human resource management, global staffing, technology-facilitated assessments, and intercultural adjustment. Her research has been published in several leading journals, including the Academy of Management Review, Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and the International Journal of Selection and Assessment. She is a Fulbright Research Scholar and a member of the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She teaches global intercultural management, human resource management, leadership communication, and organizational behavior in Penn State Great Valley's MBA and master of leadership development programs.