New Information Systems Leaders: A Changing Role in a Changing World

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It is widely argued that the information systems (IS) leadership function has undergone fundamental changes over the past decade. TO better understand the changes, this study compares the backgrounds, responsibilities, reporting relationships, and power of newly appointed IS executives (who had been in their position for two years or less) with established IS executives (who had been in their position for five years or more). The study found that approximately half of the new IS executives were external hires, whereas almost all of the established IS executives were promoted from within the company. More than two-thirds of the new IS executives had more than five years’ experience managing a non-IS function within the past 15 years. Established IS executives had spent the majority of their career within the IS function. The activities receiving the most attention from new IS executives were information technology (IT) strategic planning and control, IT architecture management and standards development, and human resource management. For established IS executives, the activities receiving the most attention were IT architecture management and standards development, human resource management, and operations. An increasing number of new IS executives reported directly to the CEO, and almost half were members of the senior management/strategic policy committee. These findings have several important implications. First, the senior IS executive must be able to bring a broader business perspective to the position. Current senior IS executives who have not broadened their own knowledge, skills, and experiences in business strategy, management, and operations should immediately develop a personal career development program to gain these valuable perspectives. Second, senior IS executives should implement career development strategies within their own organizations that ensure that IS professionals have the opportunity to acquire the business management experience necessary to advance to higher IS management levels. Third, graduate and executive programs designed to prepare future IS managers and leaders must provide both a business and IT perspective throughout the curriculum.
Additional Details
Author Lynda M. Applegate and Joyce J. Elam
Year 1992
Volume 16
Issue 4
Keywords IS leadership, IS and business alignment, IS managers, CIO
Page Numbers 469-490
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