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An exploratory study on the practices of IT-institutional alignment for effective ICT integration in university services
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. University of Rwanda, Rwanda.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9614-7936
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
University of Rwanda, Rwanda.
2019 (English)In: ijEDict - International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, ISSN 1814-0556, E-ISSN 1814-0556, Vol. 15, no 1, p. 76-98Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The misalignment between information technology (IT) and institutions continues to be a major problem, more particularly in higher education institutions. This state leads to a lack of technology value addition and poor institutional performance. Prior studies proposed models and frameworks with various organizational practices of IT-Business alignment. However, similar research, considering higher education institutions, is scarce. Therefore, this study explores and identifies the dimensions and practices of IT-institutional alignment from a higher education context. An exploratory embedded multiple-case study strategy was used on the two largest universities in Rwanda and Mozambique. Document survey and interviews were used for data collection. The literature and 14 interviews were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach to identify patterns related to the alignment practices. This study identified 45 IT-alignment practices reflected from both institutions, and they were classified into six metrics as presented in the framework. Of these alignment practices, 27 reflect exceptionally the higher education context of teaching, learning, and research. The identified alignment practices can serve as a frame of reference for creating and assessing the alignment between technology and university activities in the case study of institutions or similar contexts. A statistical test and validation of these alignment practices are recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 15, no 1, p. 76-98
Keywords [en]
Technology integration, Higher education, IT-institutional alignment, Alignment practices, Information Technology, Developing countries
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168713OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168713DiVA, id: diva2:1313944
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Note

Ulf Olsson is also affiliated to the Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching at Stockholm University.

Available from: 2019-05-07 Created: 2019-05-07 Last updated: 2019-05-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Improving IT Integration for Higher Education Institutional Performance: Towards a Contextualised IT-Institutional Alignment Model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improving IT Integration for Higher Education Institutional Performance: Towards a Contextualised IT-Institutional Alignment Model
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The integration of information technology (IT) into service delivery is currently seen as an innovative strategy to support the modernising of universities worldwide. However, in some institutions in developing countries, including Rwanda, IT has failed to add the intended value to university services, despite huge associated investments in IT. Consequently, IT-organisational alignment continues to be a primary concern for university managers. This alignment is viewed in terms of its strategic, socio-cultural, and technological dimensions. For effective IT-institutional alignment, several antecedents (alignment practices) for creating an appropriate fit between IT and organisations have been suggested in the literature. However, several studies exploring IT alignment focused mainly on general business companies, and similar research with an emphasis on higher education institutions is still scarce. Therefore, the aim of this research was twofold: firstly, it attempted to understand the process of IT integration into universities; and secondly, to propose a contextual model for IT-institutional alignment within a higher education context. A design science research methodology (DSRM) was applied in this research, using surveys and case studies as research strategies. Preliminary findings at the exploration phase of this research indicated a strong misalignment between IT and the university services caused by the lack of clearly defined alignment practices. Furthermore, as the research main outcome, an IT-Institutional Alignment Model (ITIAM) was proposed after reaching an understanding of the current state and challenges related to IT integration into teaching, learning, research and university administration. This model includes 44 alignment practices, related to both technical and non-technical dimensions. These alignment practices were clustered under six categories: (1) Communication, (2) Structure/Governance, (3) Technology Scope, (4) Competence/Value Measurement, (5) Skills, and (6) Partnership. Alignment practices related to institutional structure and governance, skills and communication were found to have a strong positive influence on the institutional performance, as compared to those related to competence and value measurement, partnership, and technology scope. Based on the research findings, the proposed ITIAM, which was iteratively tested and evaluated using case study institutions, was found to be a relevant tool for guiding the implementation of IT systems towards the improvement of institutional performance. Hence, this thesis makes a theoretical contribution by applying the concept of IT alignment within a higher education context and by documenting the empirically tested contextual alignment practices as conveyed in the ITIAM Model. Additionally, as a practical implication, the results can serve as a reference for an effective IT integration process in university services and for how to improve performance through effective use of IT in teaching, learning, research and educational management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 131
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 19-008
Keywords
IT integration, IT alignment, Alignment practices, Design science research, Innovation diffusion, Technology adoption, Institutional performance, Higher education, Artefact Evaluation
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences Information Systems Learning Information Systems, Social aspects Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168811 (URN)978-91-7797-741-4 (ISBN)978-91-7797-742-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-09-06, L70, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-05-09 Last updated: 2019-08-06Bibliographically approved

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