The changing role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO): an inquiry into the demands, constraints and choices of the CIO

  • Eddy Sandy Louchart

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In recent years, the impact of global forces such as the increasing pace of technological innovation and the growing affluence of emerging economies has changed the role of Information Technology (IT). New sourcing models and increasing competitive pressure have had a significant effect on the way technologies are delivered and subsequently the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has gradually been migrating from one of a support role to that of playing a crucial part in the execution of corporate strategies. Whilst previous academic studies appear to be focused on the different competencies of the CIO, there have been few studies concerning how CIOs perceive their role and their future. Drawing on the various concepts from role theory, this PhD thesis constitutes the first known study aimed at presenting the role demands, constraints and the choices as perceived by the CIOs. Using a qualitative approach, 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted with both CIOs and senior IT leaders. Empirical evidence highlights the critical importance of role choices in determining what type of CIO an individual will be. It has also enabled the development of two new CIO role models; the Abeyant CIO and the Transmuted CIO. The Abeyant CIO model has been established to help understand the role enactment of CIOs who have not yet made the transition from a manager to a leader. In this scenario, it is asserted that individuals are the recipient of a role that was formulated by the role set, and that this ultimately determines the level of demands and constraints within the individual’s environment. In contrast, the transmuted CIO scenario emphasises that individuals have been through a process of self-reflection and they have made conscious choices throughout their careers that have resulted in approaching the CIO role differently. It is theorised in the transmuted CIO scenario that individuals are not the mere recipient of role set expectations and that they are actively involved in role making.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton

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