Two years after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster that occurred on March 11 on 2011, and the subsequent nuclear plant failure at Fukushima, organizations are rethinking their business continuity plans to accommodate large-scale crises. Yet Information Technology (IT) functions may benefit from lessons other than the technical or procedural. People leadership, lauded as an important skill in emergencies, has received insufficient attention in IT function crisis response. This descriptive, case-based research examined the leadership of CIOs during and after the Japan earthquake disaster, using the transformational leadership approach as a theoretical lens. Our data originates from interviews and questionnaires to 3 CIOs and 4 of their subordinates in 3 large companies in Japan, and gives an account how the direct reports of CIOs evaluate the leadership of the CIOs in this crisis situation. While transformational leadership by IT managers has received praise, our results suggest that transformational leadership may also be applicable in crisis situations. We contribute one description of how transformational leadership is viewed in the IT function in a situation requiring agility. We also raise several questions and possibilities for further research in this area.
Tapanainen, Tommi and Kamioka, Taro, "Chief Information Officer (CIO) Leadership in Crisis Situations: Subordinate Stories from the Japan Earthquake Crisis" (2013). PACIS 2013 Proceedings. 119.