Control-Style Ambidexterity and Information Systems Project Performance: An Expanded View of Control Activities

Tahir Abbas Syed (Lead), Martin Wiener, Fahad Mehmood, Mahmoud Abdelrehman

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Abstract

Information systems (IS) projects represent key building blocks of large-scale digital transformation and innovation initiatives. As a result, IS projects have become increasingly ambitious in terms of both goals and scale, making it even more challenging for managers to exercise control over such projects. While prior research focused primarily on the direct and interactive effects of formal and informal control modes on IS project performance, recent research directs attention to the importance of considering project managers’ control styles (i.e., how managers interact with controlees to enact controls). Corresponding studies also indicate that ‘either/or’ control approaches—as opposed to ‘both/and’ approaches—are no longer viable in today’s complex environment. As such, our study draws on an ambidexterity perspective to theoretically develop and empirically test the direct and interactive effects of control-style ambidexterity on IS project performance. Using matched-pair data from 146 IS projects (from 146 high-tech firms), we find that control-style ambidexterity improves project performance—directly and in combination with both formal and informal control. The study results contribute novel insights regarding the effective control of IS projects in the digital era and help explain mixed findings in prior literature, thereby facilitating continued theory development in the research area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • IS project control
  • control-style ambidexterity
  • control-mode ambidexterity
  • IS project performance
  • digital transformation and innovation
  • matched-pair survey

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