Synnott and Gruber, as well as Stephens, have defined the role of the CIO initially in the early 1980s. Although major changes in the IS industry, society and IT services have taken place since then, theory and scientific work do not reflect this and still cling to more or less the same view as in the early days of CIO research. This work describes at first the state of CIO theory and then the CIO’s actual field of work based on empirical findings. When the traditional theories were tested with a positivistic perspective differences became obvious. The misleading self-assessment of having an important strategic role or the obvious loss of influence of CIOs in the company hierarchy show the need for a changed view on the CIO’s role. We propose a new role model for CIOs combining the objectives of the theoretical work with the empirical findings. This model classifies the CIO’s position in today’s corporate world with the help of two dimensions: strategic importance of running IT and strategic importance of changing IT. Based on these dimensions we identify four generic CIO roles: Enabler, Driver, Supporter and Cost Cutter/Project Manager.
Sojer, M.; Schläger, Christian; and Locher, Christian, "The CIO – hype,science and reality" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 46.