Chief Information Officer (CIO) Stereotyping: Content, Bias, and Impact.
Gonzalez, Paola A.
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Since the origin of the IT executive role in organizations, IS researchers have attempted to understand the barriers that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) face in their efforts to realize IT business value. One such challenge is the apparent disconnect between the growing importance of information technology to the success of organizations and the relegation of CIOs to tactical rather than strategic roles in their organizations, thereby hindering the transformative power of IT as a competitive advantage. This dissertation tackles this disconnect suggesting that CIOs are caught up within a widely-shared and entrenched stereotype of IT professionals that views them as lacking leadership competencies. Specifically, this dissertation puts forward the claim that CIOs may face a glass ceiling (similar to minority groups) and that stereotypical beliefs limit (if not deny) them the opportunity to drive the organization forward in the use of IT. Four studies examined the content of these beliefs held by perceivers outside the IT profession and identified the contexts within which these beliefs can cause biased decision-making concerning the role of CIOs. Taken as a whole, this dissertation empirically tests the long-held anecdotal assumption of a CIO stereotype and identifies biases that can cause inequality perceptions at strategic levels of the organization; specifically, the perception of CIOs as "the last among equals" or as unequal members of the C-suite appears to limit their strategic involvement in corporate decision-making. This research contributes to the study of IT leadership and advances our understanding of the persistent 'perception gap' that has intrigued (and plagued) IS researchers and practitioners for a long time.