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  • Information Technology Management in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Approach to Improving Chief Information Officer Performance

    Meredith L. Weiss

    A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Information and Library Science.

    Chapel Hill 2010

    Approved by,

    Jos-Marie Griffiths

    Jeff Huskamp

    Ben Rosen

    Paul Solomon

    Barbara Wildemuth

  • 2010 Meredith L. Weiss

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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  • ABSTRACT

    MEREDITH WEISS: Information Technology Management in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Approach to Improving Chief Information Officer Performance

    (Under the direction of Jos-Marie Griffiths)

    It is critical to higher education institutions that chief information officers (CIOs)

    succeed since they control information and technology assets, oversee tremendous resources,

    and facilitate the accomplishments of institutions and their members. The CIO holds a

    complex and demanding position. Currently there is little quantitative research on how to

    succeed as a CIO. Available literature about the CIO position is almost entirely based on

    expert opinion or the experiences of past CIOs and although these insights and experiences

    are extremely valuable, quantitative research studies are needed to validate, expand, and

    revise current success recommendations. Available chief information officer studies focus

    heavily on clarifying the roles in which a CIO must excel as well as the skills, abilities,

    attributes, and knowledge a CIO must possess in order to succeed.

    According to evidence-based management literature, although leadership matters, a

    leaders actions rarely explain more than 10 percent of the differences in performance

    between the best and the worst organizations and teams and leaders may have the most

    positive impact by improving organizational and group performance, valuing employees, and

    developing systems that enable others to succeed (Pfeffer & Sutton, 2006h, pp. 192 - 200).

    Therefore, rather than focusing on the specific CIO roles, skills, abilities, attributes, and

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    knowledge requirements, this study examines the environment the CIO creates among his/her

    staff and how it impacts CIO and information technology (IT) organization performance.

    The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that CIOs whose

    centralized IT organizations perform well in organizational quality areas and who create

    high-performance IT cultures are perceived as having more successful IT organizations and

    as being more successful CIOs. Further, this study identifies the factors that are most

    associated with satisfaction with the centralized IT organization and the CIO, organizational

    quality and high-performance areas of opportunity for improvement, factors CIOs believe are

    most important for the success of the IT organization, areas to include in CIO performance

    reviews, criteria to assist with CIO hiring, and factors to include in employee job descriptions

    and incentives. Finally, it begins the development of a much needed framework for CIO

    success.

  • DEDICATION

    To my sons, Lennon and Dylan, may you have the confidence and determination to

    do whatever you set your mind to and the self-respect, empathy, kindness, and wisdom to

    value and help others along your journey. I love you and wish you a lifetime of happiness.

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  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    First and foremost, I want to extend a special thank you to my committee chair Dr.

    Jos-Marie Griffiths who happily agreed to take on a doctoral student during the beginning of

    a new deanship. For her willingness to do so and her constant support, advice, guidance,

    insightfulness, collegiality, and kindness, I am forever grateful.

    I would like to thank my entire doctoral committee for their advice and insight

    throughout this process. I learned a great deal from each one of them and I am extremely

    grateful for their guidance. I would especially like to thank:

    Dr. Jeff Huskamp for his invaluable insight from the position of a current CIO. His genuine interest in my research is very motivating and I am extremely grateful for his appreciation of this study.

    Dr. Ben Rosen for his statistical guidance and extremely helpful feedback. His recommendations kept me on track and improved my work tremendously.

    Dr. Paul Solomon for his constant support, availability, calmness, and business insight. He is incredibly helpful to so many doctoral students at UNC.

    Dr. Barbara Wildemuth for her ongoing support on this dissertation as well as on

    articles I wrote throughout the doctoral program. Her counsel, support, and advice were invaluable.

    I would also like to extend an extremely appreciative thank you to:

    Dr. Laura N. Gasaway for introducing me to Dr. Jos-Marie Griffiths and supporting me throughout the Ph.D. program.

    Dr. Richard Hawthorne for his advice, encouragement, and willingness to proofread very long documents.

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    all my friends who have encouraged me and checked in with me for the past five years. I would especially like to thank Dana Hanson-Baldauf for her friendship, advice, and support.

    the faculty and my fellow Ph.D. students at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They are an absolutely amazing group of people.

    Chris Wiesen at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science for his many hours of statistical assistance.

    the extremely busy CIOs, faculty, students, and staff who made the time to participate in this study. Finally, a very special thank you to my wonderful and supportive family which has

    grown by two young boys during this process.

    Melissa for supporting me through this process and listening to endless hours about technology despite the fact that she doesnt even like computers.

    Lennon and Dylan for making me laugh and smile every day.

    Howard for always encouraging me to try. Many times, his simple advice Go ahead, give it a shot. Whats the worst thing that can happen? has given me the confidence to try new things and believe in myself. This has been invaluable and I hope to pass on his can do attitude to my boys.

    Hedy for her constant cheerleading. I couldnt hire a public relations firm any better!

    Adam for always checking in and keeping our family well fed through this process.

    Sammy and Lucy for keeping me company through many late nights.

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................. xiii

    LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................... xvi

    LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................................................... xvii

    Chapter

    I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1

    Introduction and purpose of the study ................................................................... 1

    Identification of the problem and need for the study ............................................. 2

    Research questions ................................................................................................. 6

    Methodology overview and theoretical framework ............................................... 8

    Summary ................................................................................................................ 9

    II. LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................................................... 10

    The Chief Information Officer (CIO) .................................................................. 10

    The CIO in higher education ................................................................................ 10

    Constituencies of the CIO in higher education .................................................... 11

    The roles of the CIO in higher education ............................................................. 17

    Challenges surrounding the position of CIO in higher education ........................ 37

    Top concerns for CIOs in higher education ......................................................... 46

    Summary of the CIO in higher education literature ............................................. 48

    The CIO outside higher education ....................................................................... 49

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  • Current trends in the position ............................................................................... 49

    CIO and/or IT department success measures ....................................................... 51

    How to be a successful CIO in industry ............................................................... 55

    Top concerns for CIOs outside higher education ................................................ 62

    Summary of the CIO outside higher education literature .................................... 63

    Evidence-based management (EBM) literature ................................................... 64

    Definition and basic principles of evidence-based management ......................... 64

    History of evidence-based management .............................................................. 65

    Evidence-based medicine ..................................................................................... 65

    Early evidence-based management ...................................................................... 66

    Other areas of evidence-based practice ................................................................ 67

    Evidence-based management ............................................................................... 67

    Differences between evidence-based management and other areas of evidence based practice ........................................................................................ 68 Barriers to evidence-based management ............................................................. 68

    Evaluating evidence ............................................................................................. 70

    Implementing evidence-based management ........................................................ 71

    Evidence-based management summary ............................................................... 74

    Evidence-based management in practice ............................................................. 74

    What does evidence-based management literature state about building a high-performance culture? ................................................................................ 74 What does evidence-based management literature state about human resource (HR) management? ................................................................................ 76 What does evidence-based management literature state about leadership? ......... 79

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  • Evidence-based management studies that inform this dissertation study ............ 82 Summary of the evidence-based management literature ..................................... 85

    Research questions revisited and contribution this study makes to the field ....... 86

    III. METHODOLOGY .............................................................................................. 90

    Theoretical framework ......................................................................................... 90

    Operationalization of variables ............................................................................ 92

    Inter-institutional differences in IT user satisfaction ......................................... 103

    Sampling Frame ................................................................................................. 104

    Survey Distribution and Administration ............................................................ 104

    IV. ANALYSIS AND STUDY FINDINGS ........................................................... 108

    Participation overview ....................................................................................... 108

    Descriptive survey data ...................................................................................... 109

    Research questions ............................................................................................. 110

    Research question 1 - factors associated with user satisfaction ......................... 110

    Research question 2 - organizational quality ..................................................... 127

    Research question 3 - organizational quality area combinations ....................... 129

    Research question 4 - high-performance ........................................................... 130

    Research question 5 - important to IT organization success .............................. 135

    Research question 6 - user satisfaction perceptions ........................................... 136

    Research question 7 - elements tied to success .................................................. 139

    Research question 8 - performance reviews ...................................................... 141

    Research question 9 - central IT organization importance ................................ 143

    V. DISCUSSION .................................................

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