IT Strategy and Management


This study examines how IT professionals cope with the threat of professional obsolescence and how organizations may playa role in helping IT professionals cope with this threat. In answering these questions, this study draws on theories ofoccupational stress, specifically the theory of conservation of resources (Hobfoll 2002; Hobfoll et al. 1993), to relate thethreat of professional obsolescence with IT professionals’ coping behaviors. This study extends the theory of conservation ofresources by proposing organizational updating climate as a proximal contextual moderating factor in how IT professionalscope with the threat of professional obsolescence. The results obtained from a large sample of IT professionals show that ITprofessionals are more likely to cope by directly rather than indirectly updating their IT competencies in relation to the threatof professional obsolescence. Organization updating climate supports IT professionals’ coping by providing a supportiveenvironment to undertake both direct as well as indirect updating. By contrast, direct updating is preferred over indirectupdating in organizations where there is lower updating support. We conclude this study with a discussion of the results andtheir implications for research and practice.