The Influence of Shared Mental Models Between the Cio and the Top Management Team on the Strategic Alignment of Information Systems: a Comparison Between Brazilian and us Companies

Nicolau Reinhard, José Ricardo Bigueti


The gap in the understanding between the chief information officer (CIO) and the management team (TMT) has been cited as a contributing factor to their often troubled relationship. The objective of this study is to examine the development of shared mental models (SMMs) between the CIO and TMT about the role of information systems in the organization. An SMM is conceptualized as a multidimensional construct spanning the dimensions of shared language and shared understanding. The study posits that knowledge exchange mechanisms and relational similarity between the CIO and TMT are key antecedents to the development of SMMs. SMMs between the CIO and TMT are expected to guide the strategic orientation of the organization and may influence strategic alignment and organizational outcomes. The model was tested via a field survey of CIO – TMT pairs using structural equation modeling. Results show that relational similarity and formal mechanisms of knowledge exchange (e.g., formal CIO membership in the TMT, CIO hierarchical level, and formal educational mechanisms by the CIO) are important to the development of SMMs. Contrary to expectations, informal social mechanisms of knowledge exchange and physical proximity were not significantly related to SMMs.


IT management; Chief Information Officer; Strategic Information Systems Alignment; Shared Mental Model; Organizational Knowledge System.

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