Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Lee W. Lee

Abstract

Although few firms can function without an information technology (IT) department, senior executives often consider IT as secondary. Historically, studies have found IT departments to have low influence and power status compared to other departments. Few, if any, studies have investigated what factors contribute to this subservient position. Three research questions that inspired this study regarding the IT department's influence and power included factors that shape the IT influence and power, the consequences for the firm's IT orientation and business performance, and how firm's IT orientation affects business performance. This quantitative study explored the notion that accountability, innovativeness, customer connectedness and partnering with other departments positively affect the IT department's influence and power. A synthesis of resource dependence and strategic contingency theories framed the theoretical basis for the structural equation model analyzed in this study. Responses from a Web panel of 349 anonymous, voluntary senior managers of firms operating in various industry types provided the data. Analysis results showed that accountability, innovativeness, and partnering with other departments positively affect the IT department's influence and power. Also, the firm's IT orientation, more so than IT department's influence and power, positively affects business performance. Results help IT executives to become more influential and enhance their ability to participate in their firm's strategic decisions. From social change perspective, influential IT managers can affect strategic decisions regarding social programs, implement new IT tools to do more with less, and new ways of distributing critical information and resources to enhance the speed of response when and where needed.