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The role of emotional intelligence in implementing information technology strategies
van Blerk, Willem Eben
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The alignment between business and information technology (IT) strategies has been a challenge for many years. Strategic alignment models and enterprise architecture methodologies and frameworks have been developed to assist business and IT managers with improving alignment between business and IT strategies. The business analyst, systems analyst and project manager are key role players in delivering the information systems (IS) needs of business and therefore key in aligning business and IT strategies. Despite literature and research suggesting a positive influence of emotional intelligence on occupational performance in various industries, the development of emotional intelligence of the business analyst, systems analyst and project manager is neglected by software development organisations. Emotional intelligence is neglected in industry IS competency models as well as documented standards for the business analysis and project management profession (BABOK and PMBOK). Emotional intelligence is not addressed in strategic alignment models and enterprise architecture methodologies and frameworks. Emotional intelligence is equally neglected in IS literature. Systematic research investigating the impact of emotional intelligence on occupational performance of IT professionals remains sparse. The purpose of this study was to determine which emotional intelligence competencies are needed to improve the occupational performance of business analysts, systems analysts and project managers in delivering business information system needs. The study took the form of a multiple interpretive case study. Qualitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews with stakeholders from 20 software development organisations utilising the roles of the business analyst, systems analyst and project manager. Quantitative data was collected using the Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory with the aim of identifying the patterns of emotional intelligence visible in the sample of business analysts, systems analysts and project managers assessed. The study suggests emotional intelligence has a role to play in alignment between business and IT strategies. It is proposed that industry IS competency models as well as the standards for the business analysis and project management profession as documented in BABOK and PMBOK include specific emotional intelligence competencies. The study also proposes that higher education institutions in IT/IS such as universities of technology, as well as training providers focusing on business analysis, systems analysis and project management, should focus not only on technical skills but emotional intelligence skills as well when developing the supply pipeline of business analysts, systems analysts and project managers. Keywords: Emotional intelligence, business – IT alignment, information technology, enterprise architecture, business analyst, systems analyst, project manager, competencies, non-technical skills.