Abstract: Business leaders rely on information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) to stay competitive, and experts agree that the Chief Information Officer (CIO), as the individual responsible for technology optimization, is essential to business success. Based on this understanding, for over 40 years, researchers have invested valuable resources in examining strategic alignment and its antecedents. Although past scholars hint at the likelihood that leadership style influences strategic alignment, no researcher has verified influence in such a relationship. The purpose of this nonexperimental cross-sectional correlational study was to examine the relationship between a CIO’s leadership style and strategic alignment when moderating for business strategy. In this research, 145 IT managers who work in the United States completed surveys to share their perceptions of their CIOs’ leadership style and the realized business and IS strategies. Correlational statistical analyses supported examination of the relationship between three leadership styles (transactional, transformational, and mixed) and strategic alignment for three business strategy types (defender, prospector, and analyzer). Initial findings showed that the leadership style of a CIO had a statistically significant influence on strategic alignment. Following moderation of the relationship by business strategy type, a statistically significant correlation existed between transactional leadership and strategic alignment for analyzer business strategy. However, no statistically significant evidence supported the CIO’s leadership style suited for defender and prospector business strategies. In practice, organizations could use the insights from this study to select or develop CIOs with a particular leadership style to match their business strategy in order to increase the chance of success in achieving strategic alignment. Recommendations for further studies included the use of adequate samples for all statistical analysis and the use of a validated model for leadership style assessment.
Keywords: Business strategy,Chief information officer,Is/it strategy,Leadership,Organizational effectiveness, Strategic alignment