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Review of Business Information Systems – Fourth Quarter 2011

Volume 15, Number 4

Examining Changes In The Strategic Alignment Model’s Alignment Factors Over Time: A Case Study Kerry Ward, University of Nebraska, Omaha, USA

ABSTRACT The strategic alignment model of Henderson and Venkatraman (1994) views IS alignment as occurring among four factors: business strategy, organization infrastructure and processes, IS strategy, and IS infrastructure and processes. Henderson and Venkatraman view strategic alignment as occurring via “simultaneous or concurrent attention to all four domains.” A single case study was conducted to examine how changes in the alignment factors actually occur over time. Our findings suggest that while H& V indicated the SAM is a descriptive model, it explains few of the changes that actually occurred in the case and has limited applicability as a descriptive model. Keywords: IS Alignment; Strategic Alignment Model; Case Study

INTRODUCTION

T

hat strategic IS alignment has long been a significant topic of interest to both the IS professional and academic communities is substantiated by the fact that it has been among the top ten IS issues identified by CIOs over the past several years (see for example, Luftman and Ben-Zvi 2010; Luftman and McLean, 2004; Luftman, 2005; Luftman, Kemppaiah, and Nash, 2006; Watson and Brancheau, 1991; Watson, Kelly, Galliers, and Brancheau, 1997). The commonly-held belief among practitioners and academics is that appropriate IS alignment results in better organizational performance (see, for example, Chan 2002; Chan, Huff, Barclay, and Copeland 1997; Henderson and Venkatraman 1993; Sabherwal and Chan 2001; Sabherwal, Hirschheim, and Goles 2001). Despite the substantial body of accumulated research, the continuing presence of IS alignment on the list of most important issues is evidence that IS alignment and how to achieve it remain illusory. One of the most prominent works integrating information...