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Leadership Catalyzed by Crisis – The Evolution of the CIO in Pandemic Times

Event: International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), MISQ Executive Workshop, 10.12.2021


The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the organization has received a lot of attention in recent years. While traditionally most CIOs had faced the difficulty of stepping out of the shadow of being coined as a "Utility & Infrastructure Director", they have been found to establish themselves as a driving force in defining and shaping the digital agenda and strategic direction of their organization (Peppard et al. 2011). This crisis-driven development is, however, now paving the way for a new era of the CIO role. As research shows, crises usually do not lead to a trend reversal, but to a trend acceleration (Gassmann and Ferrandina 2021). Therefore, this opportunity should be seized by CIOs in order to leverage the digitalization momentum gained through the COVID-19 crisis, and to build lean digital organizational structures and use strategic sourcing of services for cost efficiency. Thus, the focus here should not be on rebuilding old barriers, but to use the crisis induced dynamic to empower the CIO to successfully master the future challenges of efficiency, flexibility, resilience, scalability and innovation in the organization.

Michael Johannes Greineder, Ivo Blohm, Edona Elshan, Christian Engel, Philipp Ebel

10 Dec 2021