SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration
IT Project Governance: A Process-Oriented Study of Organizational Control and Executive Involvement
Abstract: This paper reports on a study of organizational control of
IT projects, specifically how control forms and evolves over time and how
executives engage in the control task.
Viewing executive involvement in
its organizational context, the study builds on studies on executive
involvement in IT (including top management support), IT project escalation
and IS project control, while drawing upon theories on projects,
commitment, organizational control and professions. An in-depth,
interpretive case study of a large, multi-year IT project in a financial
company forms the empirical basis of the study.
The study uncovers how
characteristics of information systems development work tasks stack the
deck against controllers, rendering output control and behavior control
largely impracticable. Instead, control is constructed through selection of
key people (input control), rituals resembling output and behavior control,
reliance on evolving trust and other people's assessments, and through the
construction and reconstruction of a project image, which summarizes scope
and aims of the project.
In contrast to earlier studies, "strong top
management support" is found to be an extraordinary measure for
extraordinary circumstances, but problematic as prescription for regular
organizational practice. Commitment is decoupled from resource allocation,
refuting a central assumption of escalation theory.
Keywords: IS project control; IT project management; top management support; executive involvement in information technology; organizational control; case study; interpretive research; (follow links to similar papers)
13 pages, July 31, 2002
This paper briefly summarizes the Ph.D. thesis "IT Project Governance" by the same author.
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