Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


This essay addresses two questions: How does sustained strategic alignment create value and provide competitive advantage for a firm? and How can strategic alignment that is sustained over time be conceptualized and quantified? We build on the Dynamic Capabilities Framework and suggest that an organization’s ability to achieve a high degree of strategic alignment is an enduring competency that allows the organization to respond tothe rapidly changing competitive environment. By developing a strategic alignment competency, organizations are able to sustain alignment over time. We couple this theoreticalunderstanding of how alignment provides value with extant research to develop an operationalization of the dynamic strategic alignment competency. Our operationalizationconsiders the degree of alignment as well as the maturity of the business processes that enable IT and business strategies to co-evolve. Our paper contributes to research on strategic alignment in two ways. First, we address the criticism that much work on strategic alignment needs more substantial theoretical backing by providing the Dynamic Capabilities Framework as a theoretical base for alignment research. Second, we move beyond static,single-time-period examinations of alignment to explain a dynamic approach to alignment,one that includes an operationaliztion of the strategic alignment competency. In sum, we argue that while technology itself may not be a source of competitive advantage, the dynamic capability to sustain alignment between IT strategy and business strategy is a source ofcompetitive advantage.