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Abstract

Competing values are a fact of organizational life. However, there are gaps in our understanding about how these opposing beliefs hinder influence processes. This article draws on interview data to demonstrate how Irish Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are able to convince their colleagues to support new projects within their firms in the face of competing values. Focused interviews were used to explore the influence process and the competing values phenomenon, since this type of research is at an early stage and qualitative methods and analysis serve as a rich source of theory development. The data showed that the CIOs who did not face competing values were able to successfully influence other executives to support proposed projects. Additionally, half of the remaining CIOs who did face competing values were also successful at influencing their colleagues. In these cases, several features of the situation existed, including (a) small relative project size, (b) projects that were consistent with both external and internal environmental conditions, (c) the use of upward influence, and (d) the right combination of influence behaviors. Finally, we suggest actions that CIOs can use to successfully influence other executives when faced with the challenge of competing values.

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