Information systems performance in the construction sector: the role of the chief executive officer
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The construction industry is reputedly lethargic to adopt innovation and, in particular, new technology. To date it has not readily embraced Information Technology (IT) given its reluctance to recognise the many potential efficiencies and competitive advantages afforded by this technology. Where IT in the form of Information Systems (IS) has been introduced the likelihood of failure and/or inefficiencies is large considering the historic inability of IS to deliver on its potential. Furthermore, this performance of IS is arguably dependent on the role of the Chief Executive Officer in the construction organisation.This study examines the performance of IS in the construction firms and the role played by the CEO in that performance. The study has four main objectives; namely: (1) to determine the role of the CEO of construction companies relative to IS governance and performance; (2) to determine the role of the CEO of construction companies in determining the structure of IS to strategically support the company; (3) to examine the relationship between the CEO and Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the impact of this relationship on the performance of IS in a construction firm;and (4) to examine the importance of information processing and knowledge management of construction companies.To achieve these objectives, the literature on IS performance in the organisation was reviewed; a structured self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted of a sample of executive managers drawn from 9 construction companies; the data was analysed; the findings discussed against the background of the literature reviewed.The key findings of this study indicate that most of CEOs of construction companies consider IS performance as of strategic importance in their organisations with respect to information processing and knowledge management; and acknowledge the important role of the CIO in IS governance and information management. Furthermore, the CEOs also acknowledge their role in organisational design, and the structuring of IS to strategically support their companies. Drawing from the responses of a sample of CEOs of contracting firms in the Western Cape province of South Africa there appears to be a direct correlation between the role of the CEO and IS governance and performance.