Cio Incompliance of Norms
Computers and Technology
Submitted By maxpain12
Magnusson, J & Bygstad, B 2013, ‘Why I act differently: studying patterns of legitimation among CIOs through motive talk.’ Information Technology & People, vol. 26, Iss 3.
IT governance has become the de facto norm system for Chief Information Officers (CIO) in the organizational environment. As the importance of norms increases it has become necessary to study how CIOs legitimate incompliance with these norms. This academic journal focusses on the study of the legitimation of norm incompliance by CIOs in Swedish organizations. The authors, Johan Magnusson(University of Gothenburg and Norwegian School of IT, Gothenburg, Sweden) and Bendik Bygstad(Norwegian School of IT, Oslo, Norway) attempt to construct a picture of how CIOs relate to norms. In order to encompass a healthy study group for statistical accuracy, the authors focused their study on eighteen CIOs in large organizations. The organizations chosen were recognised by the industry for their excellent IT governance. Norm compliance is important for CIOs as they strive for recognition in the organizational hierarchy. For most CIOs, it is important to be viewed as an important member of the organizational management team at large. This need for recognition stems from the expectation that the position of CIO is a possible qualifier for significant roles such as the Chief Executive Officer of the organization. In the eyes of the CIO good judgement and quick decision making are paramount factors for success.
The goal of the study is to identify various recurring patterns of legitimation of norm incompliance that can be observed through interviewing the focus group. This study seeks to expand on past research by looking at the subject of legitimation of norm incompliance from an institutional perspective. Roles in IT suffer from poor definition of roles from a professional perspective. As the CIO is the highest ranking officer in IT, this role has received the most study recently. Motive talk is a good indicator to gauge the reasons for norm incompliance. In this study, the authors divide the reasons of incompliance into two separate groups of excuses and justifications. Excuses are answers that accept the norm but give reasons why an exception was made to not comply with the norm from an organizational stand point. Justifications are answers that question the norm on the grounds of why it would not be necessary. In the case of both excuses and justifications norm incompliance can be observed. A triangulation study was done incorporating the perceptions of three major segments; namely consulting reports, industry analysts and academic publications. As a result of this study, ten norms important to CIOs were identified and corresponding questions were formulated. Each question tested the CIOs compliance or incompliance with that particular norm in relation to IT governance. During the interviews each of the 18 CIOs were asked ten questions amounting to 180 questions in total.
It was observed that norm compliance is almost impossible in an organizational context for the CIOs in the test group. Furthermore we can see from this study that CIOs are unwilling to accept norms that conflict with other professional groups within the organization. There is evidence from this study to define the role of CIO in a professional context. It can also be noted from this study that CIOs contested the norms that hold the view that “IT should be regarded as a strategic asset by top management” and “the need for value addition of IT within performance management”. The need to contest these two norms in my opinion could stem from the need to avoid conflict with the views of top management. Through this study we see that CIOs are moving toward increasing their professional status in organizations. It can also be observed that successful CIOs are conflict avoiding. This is especially true when norms relating to IT governance are conflicting with other professional groups.
However this study does have limitations that may introduce elements of bias. Firstly the study only looked at the subject of legitimation of norm incompliance through a male perspective. Secondly we must also take into consideration that the behaviour of CIOs may be influenced by regional factors such as regional and organizational cultures. When considering the findings of this topic, the reader should ponder if the same results would be duplicated should this same study be done in the United States or Australia. It would be ideal to have more information on this subject; however I must give credit to the authors of this study for taking the initiative to delve into a subject that is increasing in prominence among today’s academics. I have no reservations about the validity of the study and see no issues with regards to the credibility of the academic authors. However I feel this area of study needs more research that covers borders, various demographics and cultures. Until such time comes I believe this study is an immense boon to those aspiring to be CIOs in the future, top tier management and academics alike.