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Helping BT to innovate management and technology


The work of Philip Stiles of Cambridge Judge Business School in helping BT adapt its organisational culture is featured in an article on the University of Cambridge website. 

Business people having a video conference.
Philip Stiles.
Dr Philip Stiles

The work of Philip Stiles, Associate Professor in Corporate Governance at Cambridge Judge Business School, is featured in an article on the University of Cambridge website about the innovative relationship between the University and telecoms company BT. 

Among several areas of work the University is doing with BT, the comments by Philip focused on the organisational culture of BT at a time the company is undergoing digital transformation as it moves away from the traditional switched network to a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) network approach. 

High stakes in digital transformation 

“The stakes here are high,” Philip explains in the article. “BT is what we call a high reliability organisation. It has to achieve 99.99999% reliability in its core telephony network, and to run an organisation like that, you need precision and consistency. 

“The introduction of this (VOIP) technology has required changes in infrastructure, skills, ways of working and culture generally, as BT combined the needs for consistency and a flawless service with innovation and change” – including a move away from a hierarchical approach toward self-managing teams. 

Cross-functional and flexible teams

These leaderless teams have adopted “cross-functional and highly flexible ways of working and showed how continuity and innovation can be combined,” says Philip, who is also involved in a tech project called Next Generation Converged Digital Infrastructure (NG-CDI) alongside colleagues from Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing and teams from the Universities of Lancaster, Bristol and Surrey.