Journal of Management Information Systems
Vol. 22 No. 2, Fall 2005 pp. 227 - 252

The Effect of Communication Frequency and Channel Richness on the Convergence Between Chief Executive and Chief Information Officers

Johnson, Alice M. and Lederer, Albert L.

Convergence (i.e., mutual understanding) between an organizationís CEO and CIO is critical to its efforts to successfully exploit information technology. Communication theory predicts that greater communication frequency and channel richness lead to more such convergence. A postal survey of 202 pairs of CEOs and CIOs investigated the effect of communication frequency and channel richness on CEO/CIO convergence, as well as the effect of convergence on the financial contribution of information systems (IS) to the organization. Convergence was operationalized in terms of the current and future roles of information technology (IT) as defined by the strategic grid. Rigorous validation confirmed the current role as composed of one factor and the future role as composed of three factors (i.e., managerial support, differentiation, and enhancement). More frequent communication predicted convergence about the current role, differentiation future role, and enhancement future role. The use of richer channels predicted convergence about the differentiation future role. Convergence about the current role predicted IS financial contribution. From a research perspective, the study extended theory about communication frequency, media richness, convergence, and the role of IT in organizations. From a managerial perspective, it provided direction for CEOs and CIOs interested in increasing their mutual understanding of the role of IT.

Key words and phrases: CEO/CIO communication , channel richness , communication frequency , managerial communication , media richness , strategic grid


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