The Clash of the Titans: CIO and LOB Engagement in IT Innovation

The Clash of the Titans: CIO and LOB Engagement in IT Innovation

Sachithra Lokuge, Darshana Sedera, Shailesh Palekar
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2799-3.ch005
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The emergence of digital technologies provides organizations with affordable, easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn technologies that opens line-of-business (LOB) managers to participate in information technology-led innovations. Such participatory actions by the LOB-managers in information technology (IT) innovations at the department levels will lead the creation of new roles like the ‘chief digital marketing officer.' While the overall outlook for innovation becomes positive through such expanding contributions of the LOB-managers, such additions will ignite new challenges. Especially, such roles and approaches will contest the traditional centralized technology management approaches. This chapter provides three engagement models on how the LOB-managers and chief information officers could interact harmoniously to enhance the quality of IT innovations led by LOB-managers.
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Information technology (IT) innovation is important for the survival of market competition (Lokuge et al. 2019; Svahn et al. 2017) and digital technologies have been identified as important catalysts in triggering and enabling IT innovation (Chen et al. 2015; Nambisan 2017). The advent of digital technologies such as social media, mobile technologies, analytics, internet-of-things is transforming the very nature of how organizations conduct their internal business functionalities (Ebel et al. 2016; Sedera et al. 2016). The application of such technologies has provided unique opportunities for departments such as sales, marketing, warehouse, finance and operations to contribute to the organization in a direct way by responding to customer needs and wants. In particular, Swanson (2012) highlights the important role of the line-of-business (LOB) managers who are becoming ever more important in initiating and adopting IT innovations. LOB managers are employees that work in departments such as sales, marketing, human resources, finance where non-managerial employees report (Hales 2005). With the advances in the organizational hierarchies, these managers are provided with more responsibilities, power, budget and control (Renwick 2003). However, the orthodox view is that the new ideas and opportunities enabled by IT in an established organization typically stem from the top management (Qian et al. 2013). For example, the traditional view is that all IT innovations are initiated, managed and executed by the chief information officer (CIO) and the IT department of the organization. A major reason for such traditional prominent view is that IT is considered as a specialized department and employees of the other departments are not required to possess IT skills and knowledge for operational activities of an organization. While organizations have valued the participation of employees in the creation of new ideas and opportunities through empowerment of operational staff and middle management leadership, factors such as complexity of IT resources and the portfolio (Chae 2014), IT knowledge of the employees (Flath et al. 2017) and misalignment of IT solutions with business strategies (Gerow et al. 2014) have prevented them taking an active role in IT innovation in organizations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

LOB-led IT Innovation: The IT innovations that are initiated by the LOB managers.

Line-of-Business (LOB) Managers: An employee that oversees other employees and operations of a business while reporting to a higher-ranking manager. For an example, sales manager is an example for a LOB manager. He is responsible for sales department functionalities, but he will be reporting to a senior executive level manager.

Responsive Behavior: The LOB-managers when initiating IT innovations were agile and looking for new ways to integrate digital technologies in initiating IT innovations. Such innovative behaviors are identified as responsive behaviors.

Engagement: Simultaneous employment and expression of a person's preferred self in task behaviors that promote connections to work and to others, personal presence (physical, cognitive, and emotional) and active, full performances (Salanova et al. 2005 AU82: The in-text citation "Salanova et al. 2005" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Digital Technologies: New technologies such as social media, mobile technologies, analytics, internet-of-things are considered as digital technologies.

Innovation: Implementation of an idea whether pertaining to a device, system, process, policy, program or service that is new to the organization.

Innovation Process: The LOB-led IT innovation process was similar to any IT innovation process. Three phases were prominent in the data analysis. They were, initiation, implementation and management.

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