IT Service Management (ITSM) is transforming the management of the IT function on a global scale with major changes in work practices. The intent of this study is to empirically explore how IT service management is adopted in today’s global economy. The article examines the adoption of ITSM processes as defined in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®). The adoption of operational processes is compared to that of tactical/strategic level processes and the contribution of country, size, and industry sector to variation in adoption of ITIL processes is assessed. Institutional theory is used as a foundation for the study. The analysis is based on 623 responses to three surveys conducted in the UK, USA, DACH (German-speaking countries) and Australia.

The study found organisations adopting ITIL implemented more operational level processes than the tactical/strategic level processes. DACH countries exhibit higher ITIL process adoption than the UK, USA, and Australia. Adoption varied on industry sector, and, in part, on organisation size. Based on a discussion of theory and practice, the article derives insights for academics and industry when introducing ITSM in the IT function.