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The Influence of Social Structures on Business/IT Alignment

Katja Walentowitz
University of Bamberg, Germany
Daniel Beimborn
University of Bamberg, Germany
Tim Weitzel
University of Bamberg, Germany

Motivated by the importance of business/IT alignment for IT value creation and the fact that despite an extensive stream of literature discussing drivers of and success factors for alignment, the problem of reaching business/IT alignment is still not fully solved and alignment still ranks among the top three concerns of CIOs, we strive to explain alignment success based on the social structures present at the interface of business and IT on an operational level. While such structures at top management level are prominently discussed success factors of alignment, the analogues structures on the operational level are rarely discussed and there is a substantial gap in understanding the nature of these social structures and how they affect IT business value. We extend our prior research, which identified social patterns that are potentially beneficial for business/IT alignment, by adding detailed explanations of why these are beneficial to business/IT alignment. Hence, this paper contributes to existing research by providing new insights to the general assumption that social structures are important and by explaining why, despite the vivid discussion, still many firms fail to establish business/IT alignment. We find that strong bridges at the interface between business and IT, as well as strong connections of interface actors with their management and their unit are advantageous for the creation of IT/business knowledge, solidarity between IT and business and the power of the interface actors between IT and business, and in this way are beneficial for business/IT alignment.

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Reference:Walentowitz, K., Beimborn, D., Weitzel, T. (2010). "The Influence of Social Structures on Business/IT Alignment," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(72). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-72
Keywords:Business/IT alignment, social network analysis, operational alignment
Item Type:Article - Volume 10 Article 72 (2010)
Email: Katja Walentowitz (katja.walentowitz@uni-bamberg.de)
Daniel Beimborn (daniel.beimborn@uni-bamberg.de)
Tim Weitzel (weitzel@uni-bamberg.de)

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