Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


When IT projects are initiated because of personal benefits then the initiator acts contrary the legitimate power of their organisational position. Due to their expertise and technical knowledge, IT managers may believe that during the initiation of an IT project power boundaries were crossed and hence, develop perceptions of power misuse, or as termed in the literature, perceptions of illegitimate power. Building on existing work in the area of organisational power and resistance, we examine the extent to which four factors (IT project complexity, IT project benefit creation ability, top management commitment, and formal project management) influence an IT manager’s perceptions of illegitimate power in IT projects. Our empirical analysis confirmed that three of four factors affect perceptions of illegitimate power; only the hypothesis between formal project management and perceived illegitimate power was not significant. This paper contributes to IS research because it is an initial attempt to capture factors that trigger perceived illegitimate power. The research has practical implications because it demonstrates how illegitimate power perceptions emerge.