Fear of Missing Out: Is Technology Changing the way Leaders do Businesses?

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by Dr. Joseph Woodside

A recent study has found that students are experiencing increased sleeplessness and stress as a result of increased technology use such as mobile phones and social media.1 This is understandable given our globally connected world and driven by having the fear of missing out and wanting to know what everyone is doing at all times with ongoing updates. Students are not alone, as business leaders also have a fear of missing out as a result of technology, and are increasingly taking significant measures to be competitive in a global business world and avoid being disrupted by the latest new technology and business innovation. This too is understandable given estimates that 3 out of every 4 companies on the S&P 500 will replaced in the next decade.2

As a few examples of this shift, Ford’s CEO recently announced that the company is both an automotive company and a tech driven mobility company. Ford is seeking to disrupt themselves before others do thorough investments in autonomous vehicles, driver aided technologies, and cloud-based natural language processing systems for passenger interaction.3 At a recent investor conference JP Morgan’s CFO described JP Morgan as a technology company based on their investment in technology personnel and multi-billion dollar technology budget, which may come as a surprise to those viewing JP Morgan as a traditional bank.4

Operation vs. Innovation

In the lean business environments of today, ongoing short-term requirements absorb the majority of the bandwidth from executives, managers, and professional workers. Companies are too busy responding to immediate customers, that limited time is spent towards improvements within the organization, thereby restraining organizational evolution and innovation. When spending constraints and alternative investments are evaluated, competition for resources is high. Companies then often choose to make minor incremental investments in short-term operations vs. major investments in a few long-term strategic innovation areas. This typically results in initiatives proceeding more slowly, delivering lower value, and leaving the company unprepared for industry disruptions.

People + Technology

Despite the rapid advances in technology, people are still the key to success, and companies require leaders that can understand and apply technology to support their business. The resource-based view of the firm is based on the idea that valuable resources are the key to competitive advantage. Dynamic capabilities extend the resource-based view of the firm by incorporating changing environmental factors. Dynamic resources allow a firm to quickly adapt to changing requirements, and adjust their resources accordingly, to sustain a competitive advantage. Strategy and resource allocation are similar, in that strategy can be seen as cyclical process for how best to allocate resources. To be successful, companies must define their core business, utilize people and technology in support of the core business, and continue to evolve and innovate over time.

A corporate theory developed and published by Walt Disney in 1957, shows Creative Talent of Studio Theatrical Films at the heart of the diagram, surrounded and supported by television, music, theme parks, and merchandising.6 While in 1957 the technological shift from hand-drawn to computer animation would not have been known, dynamic resources and creative talent remain the key. The ability to tell a good story in theatrical films remains as the primary objective7, and simply the tools or technology that are used to support the people and core business has changed over time.

Google may have taken the largest step in transforming their company before others do, through the creation of a new holding company Alphabet, with the goal of increasing flexibility and allowing the company to adapt more quickly in a rapidly changing world.8  Despite 99% of the company’s revenue still deriving from Google, Alphabet is realizing the importance of increasing the ability to change and develop over time as necessary, with the new structure enabling that capability.9

With the right people in place and adhering to an established process for technology, leaders need not have a fear of missing out but rather have confidence maximizing opportunities as afforded by the best people leveraging technology in support of the business strategy in an ever evolving environment.


1Busch, B. 2016. Fomo, stress and sleeplessness: are smartphones bad for students? The Guardian.

2Foster, R. 2012. Destruction Whips through Corporate America. Innosight.

3Baig, E. 2016. Ford CEO Disrupts Biz Before Tech Company Does. USA Today.

4Crowe, P. & Turner, P. 2016. JPMorgan: We are a Technology Company. Business Insider.

5Woodside, J. 2014. Managing IT Innovation: Recessionary and Post-Recessionary Service and Staffing Models. International Journal of Managing Information Technology, 5(3).

6Zenger, T. 2013. The Disney Recipe. Harvard Business Review.

7Lasseter, J. 2015. Technology and The Evolution of Storytelling. Art & Science.

8D’Onfro, J. 2015. Google’s Transition to Alphabet is Nearly Complete. Business Insider.

9Bott, E. 2016. Google, Microsoft, Apple: Where does the money come from? ZDNet.


About the Author  (Source: stetson.edu)

joe-woodsideDr. Joe Woodside, is an assistant professor of business intelligence and analytics in the Department of Decision and Information Sciences in the School of Business Administration at Stetson University. Dr. Woodside has over 10 years of professional and executive industry experience in healthcare, information systems, business intelligence and analytics. He has held positions at national health care companies most recently as the vice president of health intelligence, with responsibility for health care applications, informatics, business intelligence, analytics, customer relationship management, cloud-based systems deployment strategy, technology roadmaps, database management systems, multiple contract sites, program management and employee wellness systems. He previously held positions with Kaiser Permanente, with responsibility for HIPAA Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), national Claims and Electronic Health Record implementations, National Provider Identifiers and data analytic initiatives.

Dr. Woodside has taught Technology for Business Transformation for the EMBA and MBA programs located in DeLand, Celebration, and Gulfport. He has also taught Predictive Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Analysis, and Health Informatics in the undergraduate business analytics programs.

Dr. Woodside’s research interests include health care, business intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing, disease detection, geographic analysis, predictive modeling, systems integration, database systems, social media, management of innovation and knowledge management.