Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
(Ackoff, 1999, p. 550), and hence the need to orientate study to incorporate the
linkage between strategy, structure, and system behavior. During the 1970s, the
requirement to locate a “fit” between ICT development and an organization's strat-
egy led to the creation of proprietary ICT planning methodologies by manage-
ment consulting houses, such as Coopers & Lybrand and Andersen Consulting
(Lederer & Gardiner, 1992) and Business Systems Planning by International
Business Machines Corporation (1981), as well as a range of modeling techniques,
such as information engineering (Martin, 1989), enterprise-wide information man-
agement (Parker & Benson, 1989), and total information systems management
(Osterle, Brenner, & Hilbers, 1993). This form of mechanistic planning paved the
way for the strategic alignment construct to emerge in rigid fashion based on the
analysis of structured data schemes. These types of traditional planning methods
lacked the involvement of organizational users (e.g., lines of business) and conse-
quently failed to deliver functional ICT solutions.
By the 1980s, significant advances in ICT were having a profound impact on
organizational performance, and researchers set about to investigate the effects of
ICT-enabled change. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of
Management undertook a major 7-year research initiative led by a group of ICT
researchers to identify the key organizational elements associated with the develop-
ment of ICT. The research initiative commenced in 1984, and the findings were
revealed 7 years later and became better known as “Management in the 1990s”
(Scott-Morton, 1991). The study highlighted the importance of an alignment
among organizational strategy, ICT strategy, organizational infrastructure, and
ICT infrastructure. It was shown that an alignment among these four components
was essential to the success of modern organizations. The conceptual model under-
pinning the study had identified five components of organizational functionality
that must be kept in check while undertaking major change initiatives: (a) strategy,
(b) structure, (c) ICT, (d) management processes, and (e) individuals and roles.
The Management in the 1990s study had shown that strategy and ICT are
essentially the change stimuli, whereas structure, management processes, and indi-
viduals and roles formed the totality of organizational structure. Essentially, the
study highlighted the high level of interdependence between organizational elements
when effecting ICT-enabled change. “IT [information technology] is a key enabler
of strategic direction and that an important problem is to find the link between
strategic ideas and the application of IT” (Scott-Morton, 1991, p. 91). From this
point on, scholarly interest in strategic ICT practice and the role of ICT in support
of organizational performance advanced in a direction that would seek to gain a
more detailed, holistic, and integrated understanding of the strategic alignment
construct. Recognition of the alignment challenge continued to grow, and this
led to the development of more modern planning approaches (Silvius, 2007). The
models that emerged from the 1990s onward in an attempt to bridge the alignment
gap were less formal in procedure but more practical. Chan and Reich (2007a)
listed over 150 articles that revealed more practical elements that comprised of
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