Empirical studies of information systems planning practices in organizations indicate that wide variations exist. We propose and test a model based on agency theory and transaction-costs economics to account for these variations. As senior management's uncertainty with respect to the information systems function increases, we argue they will delegate more decision rights to the information systems manager. As a result of increased agency costs, senior management will demand more information systems planning to provide the basis for monitoring and bonding of the manager. In addition, because information systems plans may be used to resolve the distribution of gains and losses between senior management and the information systems manager in the event of unforeseen circumstances, both senior management and the information systems manager will seek to exercise control over the planning process and the form of the final plan. We argue that the relative specialization of human capital of senior management versus the information systems manager will dictate whose views dominate in the preparation of and form of the information systems plan. Our empirical results show moderate support for our model.
- Agency Theory
- Contingency Models of Planning
- Information Systems Planning
- Transaction-costs Economics