Modern information technologies allow for an ever increasing digitization of business processes in various industries around the globe. This requires an organization-wide digital mindset and IT capabilities to react agile in turbulent business environments. Which enabling role CIOs have to develop IT capabilities as necessary predecessor to develop organization-wide strategic IT alignment is still unclear. How strategic IT alignment as means to react to rapid market changes can be achieved as consequence of organization-wide capabilities has not been answered yet. In this research, we capture individual and organizational factors characterizing the CIO position and combine them with two preliminary stages of IT competencies, IT infrastructure and IT capabilities, in a single nomological net to identify their influence on strategic IT alignment. Evaluating the results by means of a broad sample collected within a survey among 141 IT-decision makers in the U.S., our partial least squares analysis supports most of our hypotheses, notably verifying the influence of CIOs on organizational structures and strategic IT alignment, therefore fully mediated by IT capabilities. Building on Mintzberg, we propose strengthening the CIO leadership position furthermore throughout the entire organization to cope with the challenges arising from the ongoing digitization of business processes.

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