As an applied discipline, IS draws on the behavioural sciences for its theoretical foundations (Bariff and Ginzberg, 1982). Despite its weaknesses, Simon’s (1957) concept of bounded rationality has been widely adopted by IS researchers to explain the behaviour of social actors in organizations (Checkland and Holwell, 1998). Drawing on a recent empirical study, this paper develops a competing view, based on the concept of commitment, which helps explain the how and why of competence development among social actors in organizations (see Butler and Murphy, 1999). This approach is congruent with Williamson’s (1998) call for the development of an ‘intentionality view’ of organizational competencies. It is also in line with Knudsen’s (1994) argument that Selznick’s (1957) process-based theory of institutional behaviour augments the outcome-centric view of organizational competence prevalent in the literature. Accordingly, this paper provides a well-articulated example of the relevance of theory in institutional sociology to the IS field and posits a behavioural model of the “underlying mechanisms through which…ITcapability leads to improved firm performance”: hence, it offers a much needed direction for future research on the emergent topic of IT competencies (Bharadwaj, 1999: p. 26). In order to illustrate the relevance of commitment in shaping and influencing the application of IT competencies, a short empirical analysis of the various commitments that characterized the Windows NT development project is undertaken.