The Role of the Cio

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Proceedings of the 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 2000

Strategic Management of IS/IT Functions: The Role of the CIO Petter Gottschalk
Norwegian School of Management
petter.gottschalk@bi.no
Abstract
Chief information officers (CIOs) have the difficult job of
running a function that uses a lot of resources but offers
little measurable evidence of its value. Line managers are
increasingly assuming responsibility for planning,
building, and running information systems that affect
their operations. To respond to business and
technological changes, CIOs now must build
relationships with line managers and assume new and
more strategic roles. The strategic role of the CIO is
becoming ever more complex, requiring an expansion of
the organizational and structural possibilities for filling
that role. This paper presents an extensive literature
review on the role of the CIO. The research examines
CIO role in Norwegian organizations. In this paper,
results from a survey of Norwegian CIOs are presented.
Norwegian CIOs have on average worked in the current
organization for eight years, have worked in information
technology (IT) for twelve years, report mostly to the
CEO or CFO, and have eleven people reporting to them.
A large percentage has a master degree. Also, formal IS
planning tended to be adopted by organizations with
higher annual revenue, larger number of total employees,
and broader span of control (i.e., the number of people
reporting to the CIO). Higher CIO reporting level was
also associated with greater extent of information systems
plan implementation.

Nolan J. Taylor
University of Georgia
ntaylor@blaze.cba.uga.edu
the right qualifications [1] as well as reshape the IS
executive role itself [24]. Consequently, the CIO role
varies dramatically among firms in terms of background,
roles, and specific IT strategies.
This paper presents an extensive literature review on
the role of the CIO. The research examines the
characteristics of the CIO role in Norway and its
relationship to strategic information systems planning in
their organizations. The paper is organized as follows.
First, literature on the role of the information systems
department and the role of the CIO is reviewed. Then,
research methodology and research results from a survey
of Norwegian CIOs are presented. Finally, future research
is discussed with focus on the role of these CIOs.

2. Literature Review
Strategic management is an important step in ensuring the
long-term viability of an organization. It involves the
reading of signs and portents of the future and interpreting them in order to choose an appropriate direction for the
future development of the organization. Information
technology is seen as a way of achieving these strategies
in order to create competitive advantage. Strategic
management of IS/IT functions is concerned with the
formal organizational unit or function called an
information systems department. Alignment of
organizational and IS/IT strategies is a necessary step in
achieving competitive advantage and has long been noted
as a persistent problem [22].

1. Introduction

2.1 The Role of the IS Department

Chief information officers (CIOs) have the difficult job of
running a function that uses a large amount of resources
but that offer little measurable evidence of its value [15]. At the same time, line managers are increasingly
assuming responsibility for planning, building, and
running information systems that affect their operations
[4, 34], while the CIO role becomes more strategic in
nature.
The strategic role of the CIO is becoming ever more
complex, requiring an expansion of the organizational and
structural possibilities for filling that role. This has
prompted many firms to look outside the organization for

The information systems department can be a powerful
change agent. IS departments can effect changes in the...
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