An empirical test of the strategic-grid model of information systems planning

Semi Tukana, Ron Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Contingency models of information systems planning predict that no single planning approach will suit all organizations' needs. Little empirical research has been undertaken, however, to evaluate this prediction. Accordingly, we used McFarlan, McKenney, and Pyburn's (1983) strategic-grid model to study the information systems planning problems encountered by 49 governmental agencies. Twenty-seven agencies were required to follow a planning approach best suited to organizations that had a high level of dependence on both their existing and proposed systems. We predicted that agencies not having these characteristics would encounter the most problems with the approach. The remaining 22 agencies could choose their own planning approach. We studied this latter group to determine whether the problems encountered by the first group could be attributed to the mandated approach. Overall, the empirical results obtained were equivocal. Some results indicated that more planning problems were encountered by agencies in which the mandated approach was not appropriate to their position in the strategic grid. Other results were not supportive of this proposition. More work needs to be undertaken, therefore, to evaluate the predictive and explanatory power of contingency models of information systems planning. In addition, our research indicates a need to develop more rigorous theories of information systems planning behaviors, to improve the instruments needed to measure these behaviors, to explore the relationship between information systems planning behaviours and organizational effectiveness, to investigate how organizational learning impacts planning behaviors, and to determine the types of information systems planning problems that diffuse through organizations and those that remain localized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-764
Number of pages30
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1996

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