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Title: How newly appointed chief information officers take charge : exploring the dynamics of leader socialization
Author: Gerth, Anthony B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 5217
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2013
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The transition for any executive into a new appointment is a challenge. This transition for the newly appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) is especially challenging given the complexity and ambiguous nature of their role. Investment in information technology (IT) has steadily increased over the past twenty years and contributes to enabling business changes that drive organizational performance improvements. The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has evolved into an executive who holds significant responsibility for leading the organization in realizing these investment benefits. Therefore unsuccessful CIO transitions can negatively impact the extent to which the organization’s IT benefits are fully realized. This research has one objective: to increase our understanding of the process of taking charge for the newly appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO). This increased understanding contributes to academic research as well as provides insights to practicing CIOs that will increase their probability of successfully taking charge of a new appointment. The project explores this phenomenon in depth from both the CIO’s and non-IT executive’s (CxO) perspective through semi-structured interviews with 43 executives. Participants included twenty-one Chief Information Officers and twenty-two C-suite, non-IT executives. The study integrates concepts from role theory and leader socialization with CIO leadership challenges. Findings indicate that the newly appointed CIO experiences a mutual adjustment process when they take charge. This adjustment occurs within their role set; the IT leadership team, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the other top management team members (CxOs). The data suggests that CIOs experience three overlapping phases of taking charge; Entry, Stabilization and Renewal. These phases result in confidence, credibility and legitimacy as a new leader in the organization. The data further reveals that the type of transition (Start-up, Turnaround, Realignment or Success-sustaining) encountered by the CIO is a significant influence on the taking charge process. CIO socialization is influenced heavily by their role set and the expectations within it. CIOs will encounter CxO peers with varying preferences on interaction style and focus. In addition the CxOs in the study identified three different views of CIOs that reinforce the role ambiguity for the newly appointed CIO. The study reveals that CIOs experience organizational socialization in two domains of leadership. These domains are supply-side and demand-side leadership. The data suggests that supply-side socialization occurs prior to demand-side socialization. These socialization outcomes are dependent on transition type. This research extends previous work done on CIO transitions by identifying phases, activities and outcomes. An additional contribution is the first empirical model of new CIO socialization. Leader socialization research is enhanced with the study of a non-CEO executive. This model contributes a deeper understanding of the mutual adjustment process experienced by a newly appointed CIO. Practicing CIOs can apply these findings in developing transition plans and actions for taking a new appointment. The CxO types and attitudes can inform the newly appointed CIO on customizing their relationship building approaches. Understanding that taking charge requires 2-3 years can lead to more realistic expectations of the executive. The findings of this study can lead CIOs to a higher probability of success in taking charge of a new appointment.
Supervisor: Peppard, Joe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chief Information Officer ; taking charge ; CIO transition, ; top management team ; leader socialization ; IS leadership