Shared mental models between the chief information officer and top management team
Preston, David Steven
MetadataShow full item record
Information systems (IS) strategic alignment has been found to be one of the top concerns of both the chief information officer (CIO) and the top management team (TMT) of organizations. IS strategic alignment is defined in this study as the congruence between the business strategy and IS strategy within the organization. Even though researchers and key decision makers within organizations recognize the importance of IS strategic alignment, they struggle to understand how this alignment is created. The objective of this research is to examine how shared mental models (SMMs) between the CIO and TMT influence IS strategic alignment within the organization as well as the factors that contribute to these SMMs. SMMs are conceptualized as a multi-dimensional construct including 1) a shared language between the CIO and TMT; and 2) a shared understanding between the CIO and TMT regarding the role of IS within the organization. The study posits that knowledge exchange mechanisms (systems of knowing and CIO educational mechanisms) and relational similarity (demographic and experiential similarity) between the CIO and TMT are key antecedents to the development of SMMs. The research model was qualitatively validated through semi-structured interviews and tested via a field survey of 126 CIO/TMT matched pairs using structural equation modeling. Results show that knowledge exchange mechanisms (structural systems of knowing and CIO educational mechanisms) and relational similarity (experiential similarity) between the CIO and TMT are important to the development of SMMs. In a post-hoc analysis, the results indicated that the personal qualities of the CIO (CIO trustworthiness and CIO communicative ability) and TMT (TMT trustworthiness) also influence the development of SMMs between the CIO and TMT. Given the undeniable reality that IS are ubiquitous in business and often contribute strategically to the business, such research has value for theory development as well as for practice.