Attention to Digital Innovation: Exploring the Impact of a Chief Information Officer in the Top Management Team

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Publication History

Received: October 14, 2020
Revised: October 14, 2021; October 5, 2022; December 23, 2022
Accepted: January 31, 2023
Published Online as Articles in Advance: November 30, 2023
Published Online in Issue: December 1, 2023

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We draw on the attention-based view of the firm to examine whether and when the presence of a CIO in the TMT has a positive effect on both firms’ ideated digital innovation (IDI) (i.e., the intensity of firms’ digital patenting activity) and commercialized digital innovation (CDI) (i.e., the digital sophistication of firms’ new products). Building on the idea that attention processes are context dependent, we also explore the moderating roles of CEO characteristics (IT background and role tenure) as well as environmental characteristics (the industry’s IT attention). We analyze data from a cross-industry panel of U.S. S&P 500 firms over eight years that includes up to 2,852 firm-year observations. The results indicate that CIO presence in the TMT is positively related to a firm’s IDI and CDI. Furthermore, they show that the organizational context related to CEO characteristics moderates the CIO-CDI relationship and that the environmental context related to the industry’s IT attention moderates the CIO-IDI relationship. Our research contributes to the information systems literature by providing robust evidence that CIO presence in the TMT positively influences a firm’s digital innovation outcomes, showing how internal and external boundary conditions affect the work of CIOs, and elaborating the role of managerial attention as an underlying mechanism explaining digital innovation.

Additional Details
Author David Bendig, Robin Wagner, Erk P. Piening, and Johann Nils Foege
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 4
Keywords Digital innovation, chief information officer, top management team, attention-based view
Page Numbers 1487-1516
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