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From Theory to Practice of Business-IT Alignment: Barriers, an Evaluation Framework and Relationships with Organisational Culture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. (IT Management)
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Business-IT alignment (BITA) continues to be a top management concern. It generally refers to a preferred condition in which the relationship between business and IT is optimised to maximise the business value of IT. Early approaches in both research and practice have focused on the role of IT in supporting business strategies. Today, a more extended approach of BITA has been embraced that recognises soft factors that are related to people and culture issues at both tactical and operational levels of organisations. ‘Why alignment is important’ is not the crucial question today. In fact ‘how it can be achieved and matured’ is the real concern of business executives. There exists a number of theoretical models for conceptualising BITA, however, they have different focuses and contain different BITA components. Therefore, there is a need for a means of supporting practitioners for selecting an appropriate model.

Furthermore, there is a need for a more practice-oriented research that target higher maturity of BITA by understanding the organisational context, including barriers that hinders BITA and the mutual relationships between organisational culture and BITA. Thus, the overall problem addressed in the thesis is the following: In spite of extensive literature on business-IT alignment, there is still limited maturity of business-IT alignment in practice due to the limited knowledge on barriers that hinder BITA achievement from practitioners’ perspective, on the means for supporting the selection of an appropriate model for assessing BITA, and on mutual relationships between BITA and organisational culture.

Based on this research problem, five research objectives were developed. The first two objectives corresponded to barriers to achieving BITA and supporting the selection of BITA model respectively. The remaining three objectives corresponded to the two unidirectional influences between BITA and organisational culture (OC) and to the mutual relationships between them respectively. Different research methodologies and strategies were applied to achieve the research objectives, including qualitative and quantitative studies as well as design science.

The results presented in the thesis, each corresponding to an objective, are the following: 

  • A list of barriers that practitioners can use as a basis for better achievement of BITA, a better focus on strategic vs. tactical barriers, and their relationships to BITA components.
  • An evaluation framework that supports practitioners in selecting appropriate BITA models for assessing and modelling BITA.
  • An extended version of the strategic alignment model (SAM) of Luftman (2000), which considers organisational culture.
  • An analysis of the impact of BITA components on organisational culture profiles.
  • A BITA-organisational culture integrated view that supports decision-makers in facilitating decisions regarding both BITA and organisational culture.

The results of the research provide both theoretical and empirical contributions to the business-IT alignment research and practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2016. , 74 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 16-006
Keyword [en]
business-IT alignment, organisational culture, strategic alignment, barriers to business-IT alignment, business-IT alignment evaluation framework, business-IT alignment-organisational culture integrated view
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129143ISBN: 978-91-7649-433-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129143DiVA: diva2:920065
Public defence
2016-06-03, L50, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
MIT
Available from: 2016-05-11 Created: 2016-04-15 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Strategic and Tactical Business-IT Alignment Barriers in Organizations Acting in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategic and Tactical Business-IT Alignment Barriers in Organizations Acting in Sweden
Show others...
2015 (English)In: International Journal of IT - Business Alignment and Governance, ISSN 1947-9611, E-ISSN 1947-962X, Vol. 6, no 2, 31-55 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In research, many barriers to BITA are presented based on different theoretical frameworks. However, these barriers are studied either from a pure theoretical perspective or with limited empirical scope. This consequently hinders the achievement of BITA in organizations. In this article the practitioners view of barriers to BITA are investigated aiming at producing a list of barriers which practitioners can use as a ground for better achievement of BITA. The list of barriers was identified by conducting three in-depth case studies on multinational organizations acting in Sweden along with two focused group discussions of researchers, and followed by a survey on 74 large and medium sized organizations on the Swedish market. The result of this study is a list of 45 barriers to BITA from the perspectives of business and IT practitioners.

Keyword
Business Information Systems, Business Science Reference, IT Governance, Library IS&T
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122882 (URN)10.4018/IJITBAG.2015070103 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
2. From Theory to Practice: Barriers to Business-IT Alignment in Organizations Acting in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Theory to Practice: Barriers to Business-IT Alignment in Organizations Acting in Sweden
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-48), IEEE Computer Society, 2015, 4523-4533 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In research, many barriers to BITA are presented based on different theoretical frameworks. However, these barriers are studied either from a pure theoretical perspective or with limited empirical scope. This consequently hinders the achievement of BITA in organizations. In this paper the practitioners view of barriers to BITA are investigated aiming at producing a list of barriers which practitioners can use as a ground for better achievement of BITA. The list of barriers was identified by conducting two in-depth case studies on multinational organizations acting in Sweden along with two focused group discussions of researchers, and followed by a survey on 74 large and medium sized organizations on the Swedish market. The result of this study is a list of 45 barriers to BITA from the perspectives of business and IT practitioners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society, 2015
Keyword
Interviews, Companies, Databases, Analytical models, Planning, Barriers to alignment, Business-IT alignment, BITA
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119909 (URN)10.1109/HICSS.2015.540 (DOI)978-1-4799-7367-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-48), Jan 5-8, 2015
Note

Nominated for the best paper: http://www.hicss.org/#!bestpapers/c1nso

Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-08-28 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
3. An evaluation framework for comparing business-IT alignment models: A tool for supporting collaborative learning in organizations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An evaluation framework for comparing business-IT alignment models: A tool for supporting collaborative learning in organizations
2015 (English)In: Computers in human behavior, ISSN 0747-5632, E-ISSN 1873-7692, Vol. 51, no Part B, 1229-1247 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Researchers and practitioners have argued on the importance of business-IT alignment (BITA) for organizations to maximize the business value of IT. As a result, a vast number of BITA models have been designed to support organizations in achieving, assessing and maintaining BITA. These models focus on different components (i.e. concepts/aspects of alignment) and emphasize different perspectives of the alignment (i.e. how alignment is perceived by practitioners). This makes it difficult for practitioners to choose an appropriate BITA model for a specific organization. In this paper, an evaluation framework to support practitioners in choosing appropriate BITA models is proposed. The framework was constructed following design science as a research approach. The design science activities were carried out in an iterative manner until reaching a final artefact. The process started with an extensive literature survey that led to designing a tentative model. Following that, different empirical iterations contributed to the framework development. The final framework consists of 25 criteria categorized into four groups. It was tested on six major BITA models, demonstrating its feasibility. Finally, the framework was evaluated by interviewing five business consultants and seven IT managers from large Swedish organizations. The evaluation shows that the framework has a complete set of criteria with a sufficient level of coherence, but its usability and efficiency is argued differently. The framework, additionally, is argued to potentially be used as a collaborative learning tool on requirement of BITA between practitioners from both business and IT domain or serve in the academic world.

Keyword
Strategic alignment, Evaluation framework, BITA, Collaborative learning in BITA, Alignment models
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119901 (URN)10.1016/j.chb.2014.12.016 (DOI)000359880100078 ()
External cooperation:
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-08-28 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
4. A Framework to Support Practitioners in Evaluating Business-IT Alignment Models
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Framework to Support Practitioners in Evaluating Business-IT Alignment Models
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Nineteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Association for Information Systems, 2013, 1-12 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many business-IT alignment (BITA) models have been designed to support organizations in achieving, assessing and maintaining alignment between business and IT. These models focus on different components and emphasize different perspectives. This makes it difficult for practitioners to choose appropriate BITA models given organization at-hand. In this paper, an evaluation framework supporting practitioners to choose appropriate BITA models is presented. The framework was designed following design science as main research approach. The design process was based on literature and empirical studies. The literature study contributed in constructing a tentative version of the framework which was refined through an empirical study in 6 organizations. The final framework consists of 25 criteria categorized into four groups, and was demonstrated on six major BITA models showing its feasibility. Finally, the framework was evaluated by interviewing two business consultants and three CIOs from large-sized Swedish companies. The evaluation shows the framework having a complete set of criteria, but its usability and efficiency could be increased.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Information Systems, 2013
Keyword
Business-IT alignment, Alignment, Comparing BITA
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95931 (URN)
Conference
AMCIS 2013, August 15-17, 2013, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-07 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
5. Organizational Culture Impact on Business-IT Alignment: A Case Study of a Multinational Organization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Organizational Culture Impact on Business-IT Alignment: A Case Study of a Multinational Organization
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences / [ed] Ralph H. Sprague, Jr., IEEE Computer Society, 2011, 1-11 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Importance of BITA has increased over the past few years. However, achieving and maturing BITA still has apparent difficulties. Therefore, research efforts resulted in a number of theoretical models that can be applied as supportive tools for assessing different components of BITA. Most of these efforts have been produced either in Anglo-Saxon Countries or based on their experiences. The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of organizational culture on maturity of BITA. The paper relies on the nine dimensions of Project GLOBE to understand societal as well as organizational culture. It also relies on the bottom-up comprehensive approach of Luftman's Strategic Alignment Maturity Model to understand organization's alignment components. To fulfill the purpose of this study, a comparative analysis has been carried out between two subsidiaries of a multinational organization with a federal organizational structure that operate in Egypt and Sweden. The results shows: a) a potential difference in how different components of BITA are interpreted and implemented in different organizational culture, and b) that the impact of organizational culture on BITA maturity is more complex than what is expected especially on variables that require social interactions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society, 2011
Keyword
Business-IT alignment, Comparative analysis, Maturity model, Multinational organizations, Organizational cultures, Organizational structures, Potential difference, Research efforts, Social interactions, Strategic alignment, Supportive tools, Theoretical models
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55287 (URN)10.1109/HICSS.2011.337 (DOI)978-076954282-9 (ISBN)
Conference
The 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 4-7 January 2011 Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii
Available from: 2011-03-07 Created: 2011-03-07 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
6. Extending BITA Maturity Model from Organizational Culture Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Extending BITA Maturity Model from Organizational Culture Perspective
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 45th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences / [ed] Ralph H. Sprague, Jr., IEEE Computer Society, 2012, 5011-5022 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Business-IT alignment (BITA) has gained attention during the past few years. As a result, a number of theoretical models that can be applied as supportive tools for assessing different components of BITA have been developed. However, most of these efforts have been produced either in Anglo-Saxon Countries or rooted in the experiences gained from these countries. Consequently, they ignore the factor that is subjected to change due to difference in cultural contexts. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of organizational culture on achieving BITA and influences its maturity. The research method and process that was followed, namely an in-depth literature survey followed by an empirical study of 51 Swedish multinational organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society, 2012
Keyword
business-IT alignment, organizational culture, strategic alignment maturity
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79521 (URN)10.1109/HICSS.2012.275 (DOI)978-1-4577-1925-7 (ISBN)
Conference
The 45th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii, 4-7 January, 2012
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
7. An Organizational Culture Perspective in Business-IT Alignment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Organizational Culture Perspective in Business-IT Alignment
2012 (English)In: International Journal of IT - Business Alignment and Governance, ISSN 1947-9611, E-ISSN 1947-962X, Vol. 3, no 1, 1-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Business-IT alignment (BITA) has gained attention during the last decade. As a result, a number of theoretical models that can be applied as supportive tools for assessing different components of BITA have been developed. However, most of these efforts have been produced in different countries and they ignore the factor that’s subjected to change due to cultural contexts. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of organizational culture on achieving BITA and influences its maturity. The research method and process follows the design science research and is done in three phases. First, an in-depth literature survey followed by a survey was carried out to identify and classify limitations of BITA attributes (based on Luftman’s strategic alignment maturity (SAM)) model and then, hypothesize the potential impact of organizational culture element (based on the Smit et al. model) on BITA attributes. Second, an empirical study is carried out to test the hypotheses in order to identify the limited BITA attributes based on organizational culture context. These attributes are further classified for proposing an extended version to the SAM model. Finally, the extended-SAM model is evaluated in 6 Swedish large and medium organizations to test its practicality for comparing its assessment with the assessment of the original SAM model.

Keyword
Organizational Culture, Business-IT Alignment, Strategic Alignment Maturity Model
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79514 (URN)10.4018/jitbag.2012010101 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
8. The Impact Of Business-It Alignment On Organizational Culture
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact Of Business-It Alignment On Organizational Culture
2014 (English)In: Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS 2014), Proceedings, 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Organizational culture continues to be cited as one of the most important factors for organizations’ success in an increasingly competitive and IT-driven global environment. Given the fact that organizational culture has an influence all over the organization, the complexity of its nature is increased when considering the relationship between business and IT. As a result, different factors that have influence on changing organizational culture were highlighted in literature. These factors are found in the research literature distributed in three main group; micro-environment factors, macro-environment factors and leader’s impact. One of the factors that have not been yet well investigated in researches is concerning business-IT alignment (BITA. Therefore the purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of BITA maturity on organizational culture. The research process that we have followed is a literature survey followed by an in-depth case study. The result of this research shows a clear interrelation in theories of both BITA and organizational culture, and clear indications of BITA impact on organizational culture and its change. The findings may support both practitioners and researchers in order to understand the insights of the relationships between BITA and organizational culture components and provide a roadmap for improvements or desired changes in organizational culture with highlighted target business area.

National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108657 (URN)
Conference
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems, Chengdu, June 24-28, 2014
Available from: 2014-10-31 Created: 2014-10-31 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
9. BUSINESS-IT ALIGNMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE RELATIONSHIPS: TOWARDS AN INTEGRATED VIEW
Open this publication in new window or tab >>BUSINESS-IT ALIGNMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE RELATIONSHIPS: TOWARDS AN INTEGRATED VIEW
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2016), Association for Information Systems, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The analyses of literature on business-IT alignment (BITA) and Organisational Culture (OC) domains of prac-tice revealed needs for combined studies as the impact of each domain on the other is not well studied in re-search. The purpose of this study is to develop and validate a set of relationships between components of BITA and OC towards development of a BITA-Culture integrated view. For achieving this purpose, we adopted a multi-stage (based on mixed-method) approach starting by an extensive literature review on both BITA and OC for constructing hypotheses on correlations between their components. Following that, an empirical research was conducted in three case organisations for empirical investigation of relationships and for refining the hy-potheses. To test the research hypotheses an extended quantitative test was performed by a survey on 117 busi-ness and IT practitioners. The results were the bases for developing the BITA-Culture integrated view. This integrated view is aimed to support both practitioners in order to understand the insights of the relationships between BITA and OC components and provide a road-map for improvements or desired changes in OC with highlighted target business areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Information Systems, 2016
Keyword
Business-IT alignment, Organisational Culture, BITA-Culture Model
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129533 (URN)
Conference
European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2016), Istanbul, Turkey, 12-15 June, 2016
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-11-14Bibliographically approved

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