A new approach to study IT alignment

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IT alignment has been a persistent worry for managers and academics, because they identified alignment between Information Technologies (IT) and business as a pervasive problem (Luftman & Kempaiah, 2007). More information about what IT alignment is can be found in a previous post “What does IT Alignment mean? Is your IT function business-aligned?“.

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Several authors have proposed different models to study which are the constructs that help in achieving a better IT alignment. For instance, Chan and Reich (2007) proved that “Shared Domain Knowledge”, “Prior IS Success”, “Organizational Size”, and “Environmental Uncertainty” were the constructs that predicted the alignment of an organization. From the Innova Institute (BES La Salle), a new point of view has been proposed to shed some light on this topic.

Clottu’s (2010) master thesis is an exploratory analysis, which shows that it make sense to study IT alignment at different organizational levels: operational, tactic and strategic. The following points summarize the main findings of the project:

  • The studied organizations show different levels of alignment (operational, tactic and strategic), they can be aligned in one of them or more than one.
  • “IT sophistication” and “Communication between business and IT executives” are common antecedents (factors which help to reach IT alignment) in the studied organizations that are not present in any of the three organizational levels.
  • All the studied organizations, that are aligned at all levels, pointed out that a good communication between business and IT executives is important.

In your organization, does it make sense to study, separately, IT alignment in each organizational level? Do you perceive a different degree of IT alignment at the aforementioned organizational levels? What do you think that organizations should do to improve their IT alignment?


  • Chan, Y.E. & Reich, B.H. 2007, “IT Alignment: What have we learned?”, Journal of Information Technology, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 297-315.
  • Clottu, C. 2010, Alineamiento de las TIC con la Estrategia del Negocio de la Empresa, Master Thesis, La Salle, Ramon Llull University.
  • Luftman, J. & Kempaiah, R. 2007, “An Update on Business-IT Alignment: ‘A Line’ has been drawn”, MIS Quarterly Executive, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 165.

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