Network Adjacency in Shaping Intra-Organizational Perceptions about Strategic IT-Business Alignment
The research methodology was to use quantitative methods designed for social network analysis in one empirical research setting. Data was gathered by using a questionnaire. Formal structures, informal networks, and true interaction patterns within the company were discovered by sociometric questions. The results revealed that the department structure has a significant effect on the similarity in the perceived IT-business alignment between a pair of individuals. Ties in discussion and advice networks had an impact on the similarity in the perceived alignment but affection-based informal networks, such as friendship, or formal cross-functional structures, such as steering committees, did not produce significant results. Respondents’ age, education, gender, or organizational tenure did not to have any significant effect, either. Experiences from a past IT-decision were important factors for both similarity in the views and for the perceived alignment level. This study contributes to research as well as practice in several ways. First, the results highlight the importance of a focus on the social dimension of strategic IT-business alignment. Secondly, a key principle of social network theory to focus on the relationships between individuals was added to alignment research. As a new construct for the alignment research, adjacency in work-related interaction patterns was found to have an effect on the similarity in the perceptions of strategic IT-business alignment, while also the functional department structure was confirmed to be an important factor. In terms of the managerial implications, the results highlight the importance of understanding the network dynamics within an organization because they contribute to the formation of the perceptions of strategic IT-business alignment.