An Exploratory Study on the Influencers of the Perceived Relevance of CIO's Activities and Skills: An Update

An Exploratory Study on the Influencers of the Perceived Relevance of CIO's Activities and Skills: An Update

João Varajão, António Trigo, Pedro Soto-Acosta
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2382-6.ch018
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This paper presents the results of an exploratory study developed to identify the current CIO's main activities, to verify whether CIO's demographics and CIO's business context influence the perception of the importance of CIO activities and to identify CIO's main skills. The results show that managing projects, interacting with top management teams, optimizing business processes and making strategic decisions are main CIO's activities; and that the importance recognized to these activities is influenced by characteristics such as the CIO's age or the hierarchical structure of the organization. Regarding CIO's skills, understanding business processes and operations, and strategic thinking and planning, are the ones CIOs identified as being the most important.
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Literature Review

The literature review was conducted from two major sources of information: the community of practitioners, including the CIO Magazine in its yearly study “The state of the CIO” and Gartner in the yearly study “The CIO Agenda Report”; and the academic community, including Web of Science, Scopus and ScienceDirect. The main search expressions used were “CIO activities”, “IS managers activities”, “CIO skills”, “IS managers roles”, “CIO roles”, “IS managers roles”, “CIO characteristics”, “IS manager characteristics”, “CIO profile” and “IS manager profile”.

Chief Information Officer

The CIO position emerged in the early 1980s as a result of increased importance placed on IS. Since its inception, the CIO position has gradually become more important as IT has been increasingly playing a more central role in the firm’s daily operations, business processes, and overall business strategy. The most significant change in the role of the CIOs is their paradigm shift from technology to business. The CIO's position in the corporate structure matured steadily and inexorably from the tactical/operational level to the strategic/management level (Polansky et al., 2004). The CIO can be characterized as someone who has a deep understanding of the organization’s business as well as strong technical knowledge (Keen, 1991).

The importance of the CIO’s roles depends on the context of the organization, namely the nature of the business, the dimension of the organization, the country, etc. (Grover et al., 1993; Stephens et al., 1992). In fulfilling its role, the CIO must plan its activities and those of ISF, establishing the interface between the ISF and other organizational areas, managing the overall conception of the IS, organizing resources and activities, directing and controlling operations, and evaluating performance. The analysis of the various activities that a CIO needs to develop gives a better perception of the CIO role in the organization (Varajão et al., 2012b).

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