The Value of Centralized IT in Building Resilience During Crises: Evidence from U.S. Higher Education’s Transition to Emergency Remote Teaching

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Publication History

Received: November 30, 2020
Revised: June 25, 2021; January 15, 2022; April 18, 2022; July 1, 2022
Accepted: July 19, 2022
Published Online as Articles in Advance: February 28, 2023
Published in Issue: March 1, 2023

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations, including higher education institutions, to rapidly adjust their operations. In the face of the pandemic, most higher education institutions shut down their campuses and transitioned to emergency remote teaching mode. This study examines digital resilience in higher education institutions through the conceptual lens of disaster response management, by assessing the role played by the centralized governance of information technology (IT) investments. We posit that centralized IT helps organizations maintain customer satisfaction with services during a crisis (e.g., student satisfaction with classes during COVID-19) by facilitating the organization-wide transition to an emergency operational mode and supporting its service operations. Consolidating data on IT investment, governance, and course evaluations from 463 U.S. higher education institutions from 2017-2020, we show that centralized IT helped organizations adapt better to the pandemic in terms of maintaining student satisfaction. Moreover, we found that centralized IT investments geared toward facilitating organizational coordination and providing instructional and technical support played a pivotal role in enabling ERT and improving student ratings during the crisis. These results are corroborated by interviews with CIOs of U.S. higher education institutions. Additional analyses also suggest that the effectiveness of centralized IT governance is contingent upon organizational size, dissimilarity of local units, and the strategic role of the CIO. We also discuss theoretical extensions toward digital resilience as well as practical implications.

Additional Details
Author Jiyong Park, Yoonseock Son, and Corey M. Angst
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 1
Keywords Digital resilience, business value of IT, IT governance, higher education, disaster management, emergency management, emergency remote teaching, COVID-19
Page Numbers 451-482
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