Overstock.com’s CIO: good organizational politics?

Overstock.com’s CIO: good organizational politics?
Was it good organizational politics for Overstock.com’s CIO to act as he did? Why? Do you have any better political advice to extend to him?


Paul Strassman, a former vice president of Xerox Corp., has written a number of books and articles regarding organizational politics and governance and may be considered one of the senior gurus of the field. As the case for this module, you’ll be looking at some of his insights on the problem, comparing them to some ideas held by others, and making application to some real-world situations.

Start by taking a look at the overview of Strassmann’s book:

Paul A. Strassmann (1994) The Politics of Information Management: Policy Guidelines. Summary at http://www.infoeconomics.com/info-politics.php.

You’ll also want to look at Strassmann’s analytical approach to political power and related issues:

Paul A. Strassmann Check: How to Verify if You are Important. CIOInsight July 8, 2005 http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,1540,1849919,00.asp

Then read through this very excellent analysis provided by a practitioner of the fine art of information politics:

Russ Finney The Politics of Information and Projects. ITMWEB White Paper. Available at http://www.itmweb.com/essay008.htm

Now for the the real world portion of the case. Please read:

The CIO Who Admitted Too Much

Opinion: Ziff Davis Internet’s Evan Schuman writes that the CIO of Overstock.com thought he was doing the right thing by revealing his company’s technology shortcomings and taking the blame. Can today’s CIO afford such candor?

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