Master Thesis, Information Management, Master of Business and Economics, Norwegian School of Management, 1999

The collaboration between CIOs and CEOs, and effects on the strategic alignment of business needs and IT-support

A Qualitative Analysis of four Norwegian Businesses.

Brief overview of the authors, the scope and, general background of the Thesis

This thesis marks the authors' completion of the Master of Business and Economics ("Siviløkonom") degree, at the Norwegian School of Management (NSM). The fourth and last year of the degree, is mainly dedicated to specialization within a branch of Economics and Management, and the authoring of a master thesis. The Authors' specialization was within "Information Management", and our subject of interest is the degree of collaboration between the CIO (Chief Information Officer) and the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), and how or if this, in turn, can predict the alignment of IT and Business. The process of writing the thesis was started late fall 1998, with completion late August 1999. In total, approximately 300 hours of work has gone into the thesis. The responsibility of research, planning, implementation and completion lies solely by the authors, but guidance and evaluation were generously offered by the helpful and knowledgeable Information Management staff at NSM, most notably by Ph.D Petter Gottschalk. This guidance was both highly appreciated and highly utilized in the working of the thesis. The full thesis is available in Norwegian only. At this time there are no plans of extending the English version beyond this limited abstract.

The authors:
name location homepage email
Christian H. Figenschou Asker, Norway <>
Thomas Ryd Lørenskog, Norway <>


This thesis's focus is the degree of collaboration between CIOs and CEOs, and how this in turn can predict the alignment of Information Technology and Business. The research data was collected through in-depth interviews with both CIOs and CEOs of four major Norwegian businesses. The theoretical basis of the collaboration was based on the degree of cross functional participation and overlapping of the traditional scope of the CEO and CIO. Specifically, we focused on the the CIOs participation in top management and strategic business decisions, and analogously, the CEOs participation and personal interest in information technology. The other main part of the research, the alignment of the business and IT, was based on measuring the IT-support (conveyed by the CIO) of business needs (identified by the CEO). The results suggest that CIOs participation in top management is significantly positively correlated with the alignment of business and IT. However, the effects of the CEOs participation in IT-related matters, are less synonymous, and in some contexts a negative correlation was in fact indicated. The practical implications of the research suggest that the key focus for businesses should be put on increasing the CIO's participation in top management and key business decisions. The CEO's efforts should be primarily focused on assisting the CIO's entry and acceptance in top management, rather than emphasizing his/her (the CEO) own, personal participation in the IT-related matters.

The complete Norwegian version of the thesis is located at:

September, 15th., 1999. Christian Figenschou, <>