Exploring the Roles and Responsibilities of Chief Information Officers (CIOs): A Competency-based Perspective

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Embargoed until 2020-12-01
Copyright: Portocalis-Van Toorn, Christine
It has been argued that the current business environment is so dynamic and techno-centric that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must be transformational leaders capable of providing the strategic vision expected of other C-Suite members. This requires CIOs to have the ability to drive change, generate business value and leverage innovative technologies for competitive advantage. As a result, many CIOs see themselves as nomads, with their role loosely defined by a technology-determined past but bound by a strategic business-focused future. Despite the changing organisational expectations of CIOs, there has been little research on the role of a CIO over the past 10 years and there is a paucity of research on the competencies required by CIOs. This study explores the changing roles and responsibilities of CIOs and identifies the competencies required to fulfil these changing roles and responsibilities. The study is based on over 30 hours of in-depth interviews with 30 CIOs in leading organisations across six industry sectors in Australia. Data analysis consisted of a four-stage process that first identified required competencies before linking these to the roles that CIOs must undertake in order to meet organisational expectations. Analysis revealed that all CIOs require a core set of Social & Behavioural, Cognitive and Functional competencies in order to fulfil their role as a C-Suite member. In addition, the CIO undertakes one or more of five specialised roles depending on the needs of the organisation. These specialised roles are as Catalyst of Change, Leader, Visionary, Architect, and as ‘Chameleon’, who can seamlessly collaborate with and connect a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders. The analysis reveals the additional competencies, beyond the core competencies, required to fulfil each of these roles. This study is the first piece of research in the CIO space to be true to the concept of competency as utilised in other fields. It provides a significant updating to our understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the CIO and argues for a re-conceptualisation of the CIO as a function rather than an individual. It concludes by presenting a CIO competency Model.
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Portocalis-Van Toorn, Christine
Cecez-Kecmanovic, Dubravka
D'Ambra, John
Cahalane, Michael
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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