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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Current challenges in business and IT alignment Khodabandeh Amiri, Amin


This dissertation addresses two current challenges in IT-Business alignment. The first study introduces a new type of operational alignment, namely capacity alignment, and addresses how it becomes a threat to the success and survival of organizations. Taking a grounded theory (GT) approach, the study started with a quest for answering how IT unavailability becomes a strategic risk. While there exist many unavailability incidents with no strategic consequences, anecdotal evidence suggests that some unavailability incidents have caused negative strategic impacts on organizations. Twenty-six cases of IT unavailability with strategic consequences, along with two cases with non-strategic consequences, were studied. The analysis of cases revealed that IT unavailability is, in fact, a capacity misalignment rather than an IT outage suggested by extant literature. Moreover, a system dynamic view of IT unavailability was developed to help clarify how IT capacity misalignment becomes a strategic risk. Unfortunately, the existing classic GT as well as its interpretivist extensions are inconsistent with the way positivist researchers view and test theories. Therefore, the dissertation had to customize classic GT to develop an IT unavailability theory compatible with a positivist ontology of theories. As well, the revised methodology ensures that conclusions from data have a higher chance of reproducibility by other researchers and datasets. This strengthens the accuracy of GT that Burton-Jones and Lee (2017) called for and ensures that the theory is grounded in data rather than researchers. The second study addresses improving strategic alignment through CIO’s language. Shared language between CIO and top management team— one of the most powerful antecedents of alignment— has been neglected by the extant literature. The purpose of this study was to prescribe guidance for CIOs regarding the language that should be used in a conversation with top managers about the strategic role of IT. Leveraging the literature on strategic management, the study suggests applying the nomenclature of theories of the resource-based view and the capability-based view instead of technical language. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of these languages in terms of the antecedents of strategic alignment. The study suggests which language should be used in which conditions.

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