Framing the Business Case for IT Purchases: Do I Use the Executive Sponsor’s Rationale or Do I Use Process Innovation?

Framing the Business Case for IT Purchases: Do I Use the Executive Sponsor’s Rationale or Do I Use Process Innovation?

Francisco Chia Cua, Steve Reames
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2012070103
(Individual Articles)
No Current Special Offers


This paper discusses the dilemma that upper management has during the cycle of purchase for technology base products. The executive must sort through the executive sponsor’s rationale and attempt to rely upon their unstructured personal assessment. The authors present a methodology that is based upon a plan of reasoning and assessment called “process innovation.” They maintain that the executive decision makers will rely upon this new methodology to improve their judgment by diffusing the overall purchase process with sound reasoning that leads to good judgment.
Article Preview

The Business Case


A business case document is a means used by the author (executive sponsor) to diffuse their thoughts on the innovation that he or she is presenting. As a rationale for innovation, thoughts can be weak or strong (Paul & Elder, 2002, p. 17).

The Author-Executive Sponsor

Every message the executive sponsor puts forward to defend their conclusion has the intention of resisting, or even disregarding, the opinions of her or his target audience. As John Stuart Mill (1859/2008, p. 30) has stated: “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reason may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

The business case author should encourage the target audience to look critically at how the problem has been defused and to exclude personal bias. The source does not necessarily give up any beliefs shared with the readers. Indeed, the critical thinking involved in order to address those beliefs may actually reinforce them.

What is the controversy? An act circulating, distributing, or publishing the issue can be expressed right at the beginning of the document (Browne & Keeley, 2009) and as early as the title. This issue normally relates to the executive sponsor, his background, or his position. There can be many issues raised in a business case. But there is only one key issue, which is identified in the author-executive sponsor’s conclusion. However, many times the author-executive sponsor addresses and draws upon personal bias.


Process Innovation: Reasoning And Assessment Methodology


Two underlying keys for the reason for action (Dancy, 2000) and the normative reason in favor of action (Frankena, 1973) or both sorts (Hutcheson (1728/1897, p 404) of reasons are necessary to understand the intentional action. Hence, these two sorts of reasons need to be kept together despite the likely conflicts between them.

There may be more than one reason for action. That is, a technological innovation is accepted or rejected based on usage, value, risk, image, culture, and behavioral patterns (Harcar & Karakaya, 2005; Laukkanen et al., 2007). Every reason for this action has a corresponding reason not to do the action. Yet both sets of reasons may sometimes merely pragmatic justifications based on the circumstances, and seemingly rational behavior may in reality be irrational behavior in disguise (Argyris, 2004; Luhmann, 2006). This is why real (motivating) reason differs from the good (normative) reason.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 15: 1 Issue (2024)
Volume 14: 4 Issues (2022): 3 Released, 1 Forthcoming
Volume 13: 4 Issues (2021)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2009)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing