Exercising control over information systems (IS) projects is a challenging task. This seems to be particularly true for senior executives who commonly represent key project owners and who are ultimately held accountable for project performance despite their scarce time and often limited project-related knowledge. While prior studies have almost exclusively focused on the role of line and project managers in controlling IS projects, this study aims to contribute new theoretical insights by focusing on the role of senior executives. Specifically, our study explores how different control styles and modes used by senior IT executives relate to the performance of IS projects. Based on a survey with 92 participants, we find that executives’ use of an enabling control style is positively related to IS project performance. In contrast, the use of an authoritative control style is found to be negatively related to performance, but still seems to play a critical role in successfully enacting formal controls. Moreover, the study results show that only senior IT executives’ use of input control significantly and positively affects IS project performance, indicating that prior results on the effectiveness of different control modes do not easily translate to the specific context of our study.
Wiener, Martin; Cram, Alec; and Remus, Ulrich, (2017). "THE VIEW FROM THE TOP – HOW SENIOR EXECUTIVES EXERCISE CONTROL OVER INFORMATION SYSTEMS PROJECTS TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE". In Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, June 5-10, 2017 (pp. 1423-1438). ISBN 978-989-20-7655-3 Research Papers.