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At the top of your paper provide the reference to your Journal Article. Use a scholarly source as described above. Utilizing a non-scholarly/non-peer-reviewed source will result in significant point deduction.IntroductionGive a brief overview of the chapter 3 of Kloppenborg covered for the week. Be sure to cite any reference to the text. Include the text in a reference section at the end.Summary (cite article when appropriate)Give a summary of the article or case study.Relevant Points (cite article when appropriate)Identify the relevant points of the article or case study that coincide with the chapter covered for the week.CritiqueProvide a balanced criticism of the article or case study. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the study? How do the findings support the field of project management? How could it have been altered to better support the field?Application of Concept(s)Apply the concept(s) to your career, field, industry, etc. Provide a real world application not a general statement. This section should demonstrate how you can take the findings of this article or case study and utilize them in a practical way in your career, field or practice. Make the application specific to your own experience. Do not just provide a general overview of the usefulness of the findings. Be specific; not general.References (this does not count toward the required paper length)Every paper typed in this course should be in APA formatting (title page, reference page, NO abstract page, in-text citations, running head, page numbers, Times New Roman 12 font, 1 inch margins, double-spacing, etc…).
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A Risk Mitigation Framework for
Information Technology Projects:
A Cultural Contingency Perspective
LIKOEBE M. MARUPING, VISWANATH VENKATESH,
L. THONG, AND XIAOJUN ZHANG
JAMES Y.
LIKOEBE M. MARUPING (lmaruping@gsu.edu; corresponding author) is Associate
Professor of Computer Information Systems and a member of the Center for
Process Innovation in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State
University. His research is primarily focused on collaboration and innovation in
small- and large-scale collectives such as teams, communities, and crowds. His
interests in this area focus on the enabling role of digital collaboration platforms,
the mechanisms underlying the collaboration process, and the leadership and
governance of collaborative efforts in organizational and open environments.
Dr. Maruping is an Associate Editor for Information Systems Research and is
a Senior Editor for Journal of the Association for Information Systems. He previously served as an Associate Editor for MIS Quarterly.
VISWANATH VENKATESH (vvenkatesh@vvenkatesh.us), who completed his Ph.D. at
the University of Minnesota, is Distinguished Professor and Billingsley Chair at the
University of Arkansas. His papers, many of which are highly cited, have appeared
in journals in various fields including information systems, human-computer interaction, medical informatics, marketing, management, psychology and operations
management. He developed and maintains an IS research rankings website that has
received the Technology Legacy Award of the Association for Information Systems
(AIS). Dr. Venkatesh has served in editorial roles at various journals. He is a Fellow
of AIS and of the Information Systems Society (INFORMS).
JAMES Y. L. THONG (jthong@ust.hk) is the Michael Jebsen Professor of Business and
Chair Professor of Information Systems in the School of Business and
Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his
Ph.D. in Information Systems from the National University of Singapore. His
research on technology adoption and implementation, e-government, human–computer interaction, information privacy, software piracy, and IT in small business has
appeared in Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information
Systems, MIS Quarterly, and Journal of the Association for Information Systems,
among others. Dr. Thong is Senior Editor for MIS Quarterly and served as an
Associate Editor for Information Systems Research. He is a Fellow of the
Association for Information Systems (AIS).
XIAOJUN ZHANG (xiaojunzhang@ust.hk) is an Associate Professor of Information
Systems at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his
Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. His primary research stream focuses on
Journal of Management Information Systems / 2019, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 120–157.
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN 0742–1222 (print) / ISSN 1557–928X (online)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/07421222.2018.1550555
A RISK MITIGATION FRAMEWORK FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS
121
understanding the impacts of technology on performance outcomes. His research
has been published in various journals, including MIS Quarterly, Information
Systems Research, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and
European Journal of Information Systems.
ABSTRACT: As new information technology (IT) platforms continue to emerge, the
technical project risk associated with developing IT projects for these platforms is
particularly challenging for organizations. We develop a nomological network of
people, process, and technology to gain insight into how the effect of technical
project risk can be mitigated at the IT project team level. Drawing on cultural
contingency theory, the IT project risk framework, and the IT project management
literature, we elaborate on the IT project team composition and team processes
necessary to mitigate technical project risk. We tested the nomological network by
conducting a field study of 325 IT project teams over a 3-year period at a large
corporation in China. We found that project risk mitigation processes mediated the
effect of IT project teams’ cultural composition on IT project performance, and the
effect of these processes on IT project performance was stronger under high levels
of technical project risk compared to low levels of such risk. By incorporating the
cultural contingency theory into developing a nomological network of technical risk
mitigation processes, this work not only contributes to the IT project management
literature, but also provides suggestions for practitioners on how to better leverage
people, process, and technology in mitigating IT project risks.
KEY WORDS AND PHRASES: IT projects, technical risk, team processes, cultural contingency theory, risk mitigation, project management, project risk.
Introduction
Spending on information technology (IT) projects constitutes a significant portion
of organizational investment and is projected to continue growing as firms seek to
improve their operational effectiveness [18]. Despite these investments, reports of
failed IT project implementations abound (see [10]). IT project implementation is
a multifaceted and complex activity that encompasses various risks related to
technology, process, and people [31, 65]. The role of technical project risk—
defined as the risks associated with developing an IT artifact that is complex and
has requirements that are difficult to clarify due to frequent changes in business
needs [8, 76]—in affecting IT project success is increasing in prevalence (e.g., [47,
73, 77]).
Recent years have seen the rapid emergence of myriad new technologies, tools,
and platforms (e.g., mobile technologies, social networking, cloud computing, data
analytics). Consequently, IT projects that were initially developed to operate in
traditional client-server environments must now be developed for deployment on
new platforms, such as cloud technology, be able to leverage big data capabilities,
and have seamless interoperability across different mobile platforms [54]. The
technical complexity of IT project development has increased considerably due to
significant knowledge barriers to learning new technologies and understanding the
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MARUPING ET AL.
interdependencies across different technological platforms. Besides the increased
technical complexity of IT projects, the volatility of requirements—that is, changes
in what the delivered software should do—is increasing. The rapid rise of new
platforms is expanding the range of possibilities for firms to deliver their products
and services. These new platforms are also enabling firms to discover innovative
ways of creating new products and services that were not possible before. In order
to deliver value, IT project development must make changes to incorporate these
new product and service innovation objectives through organizational learning and
complex social interactions. Naturally, keeping apace of such changes has implications for the delivery, cost, and quality of IT projects. In a framework that outlines
IT project risks, technical project risk that comprises project complexity and
requirements change has been acknowledged as one of the most important threats
to IT project success [8, 31, 73]. As new platforms continue to emerge, giving rise
to product and service innovations, these types of challenges in IT project development are likely to persist.
The technical project risk identified above poses a direct threat to the ability of IT
project teams—which are tasked with different types of IT projects, for example,
developing a new system, upgrading an old system, migrating an old system to
a new system—to complete their objectives [31]. Such a threat is more salient for
new system development projects that are likely to utilize new technologies and
platforms [75, 78]. In addition, specifying requirements for a new system is more
challenging because users are generally not clear about what they need from a new
system and tend to change their requirements during the course of the project [24,
31, 47]. According to the IT project risk framework, this threat manifests in two
ways. First, technical project risk increases the probability that the IT project team
is unable to mobilize the necessary expertise to complete the IT project [15,
76]. Second, technical project risk increases the potential for inadequate planning
and control, which can jeopardize IT project success [4, 39]. Taken together, these
consequences represent a threat to the execution of IT projects [4, 55, 76, 77].
Although these exogenous technical project risks and the threat they pose are wellknown in the literature, there have been limited efforts to examine how their effects
can be mitigated, particularly at the IT project team level.
Research on control theory has begun to identify how the threat of such risk can be
averted from an IT manager perspective. These studies (e.g., [9, 31, 47, 73]) tend to
examine how outcome control, behavior control, clan control, and self-control facilitate higher IT project quality and performance under varying levels of requirement
risk. However, they do not examine the precise IT project management processes that
IT project teams can use to mitigate the threat of technical project risk. Furthermore,
they have focused exclusively on requirement risk. In this paper, we focus on tackling
the threat of technical project risk by examining how IT project teams can be
composed to mitigate such a threat. Drawing from the IT project management
literature, we identify the IT project risk mitigation processes that IT project teams
use to avert the threat posed by technical project risk [9, 33, 40, 47, 75]. We consider
A RISK MITIGATION FRAMEWORK FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS
123
both forms of technical project risk—requirement risk and project complexity risk—
that are salient for new system development projects [75]. However, the efficacy of
these risk mitigation processes in affecting IT project performance, under different
levels of technical project risk, is not adequately understood, and there is a lack of
research on how these risk mitigation processes can be enabled through effective
team staffing.
The information systems (IS) literature has found cultural values to be an
important consideration in IT project implementation because they shape the
manner in which developers approach IT development [62, 64]. For instance,
developers with higher collectivism—a cultural value that emphasizes the needs
of others over the needs of self—are more likely to emphasize promptness in
responding to end-user requests and work to achieve high quality outputs [29].
Consequently, the cultural values represented on IT project teams have the potential
to affect how these teams perform their tasks in ways managers have not yet begun
to understand. Consideration of the cultural composition of IT project teams,
therefore, represents an important stepping-stone to mitigating the challenges
posed by technical project risk. To gain insight on the role of team cultural
composition in affecting teams’ risk management processes, we build on cultural
contingency theory [56]. Cultural contingency theory recognizes that people’s
cultural values—which reflect their built-in mental schema of how the world
works—are intertwined with, and shape, the actions they perform in the workplace
[10, 50, 79]. We extend this theory to the IT project team level by theorizing the
connection between the cultural composition of IT project teams and the collective,
interdependent actions these teams perform to mitigate the effects of technical
project risk. We seek to answer two research questions:
Research Question 1: What type of IT project team composition is more likely
to execute project risk mitigation processes to ward off the threat posed by
technical project risk?
Research Question 2: How do project risk mitigation processes affect IT
project performance under different levels of technical project risk?
The objective of this research is to identify how the threat of technical project risk
can be mitigated. We develop a holistic nomological network of technical risk
mitigation processes and the IT project team composition necessary to facilitate
such processes. As such, we integrate consideration of people (through IT project
team composition), process (through risk mitigation processes), and technology
(through technical risk) and the relationships between them. Although recent
literature has begun to provide insights on the mitigation of technical risks in IT
projects (e.g., [31, 47, 73, 77]), there is limited understanding of how people,
processes, and technology come together to provide a more complete understanding
of this phenomenon. In fact, many of the empirical studies to date have focused
almost exclusively on the control of IT projects, overlooking the roles of people and
processes. Consideration of people and processes in this domain is critical because
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MARUPING ET AL.
IT project development is an inherently collective endeavor, involving collaboration
between multiple individuals working together to accomplish a common objective
(e.g., [10, 30]). Research in this domain must, therefore, recognize and account for
the collective nature of IT project development and the interdependent actions taken
by IT project teams to mitigate the effects of technical risk.
Theoretical Background
IT Project Risk Framework
Several IT project risk frameworks have been developed in the literature (e.g., [2,
43, 76]). For the purposes of this research, we leverage the framework conceptualized by Wallace et al. [76] given its theoretical grounding in considerations of
people and processes when examining IT project risk. Drawing from sociotechnical
systems theory, Wallace et al.’s [76] IT project risk framework distinguishes
between technical project risk and social project risk. Technical project risk represents the extent to which IT projects—as efforts to construct an artifact of some
complexity based on a set of requirements—have volatile or unclear requirements
or must be deployed on unfamiliar or new technology platforms [68, 77]. Social
project risk represents the extent to which the IT project is embedded in a social
context that can be unstable in terms of politics or availability of resources [76].
The framework theorizes that both technical and social project risk increase project
management risk by hampering the ability of the IT project team to function and by
increasing the likelihood of poor planning and unrealistic targets. The empirical test
indicated that only technical project risk was found to increase project management
risk [76]. Figure 1 illustrates how technical project risk reduces IT project performance by increasing project management risk.
In this paper, we choose to focus on technical project risk instead of project
management risk because it is more relevant in the study of developing new
systems or applications that are likely to involve some new technologies with
which developers may not be familiar [75, 77]. In addition, defining and specifying
requirements for new systems is often more challenging because users are generally
not clear about what they need at the beginning of a project and tend to change their
requirements during the course of the project (e.g., [31, 47]). In other words,
technical project risk is likely to be more salient for new system development
Figure 1. IT project risk framework
A RISK MITIGATION FRAMEWORK FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS
125
projects that are the focus of our study. Per the IT project risk framework, project
complexity risk and requirement risk are regarded as major IT project development
risks that reduce the probability of IT project success and they are also the
antecedents of project management risk [4, 15, 30, 31]. The emergence of such
risk is generally out of the control of project managers and, hence, is viewed as an
exogenous factor that poses a threat to IT project success. We think it is important
to investigate these sources of risk and understand how they can be mitigated.
Our model extends the IT project risk framework by uncovering the risk mitigation processes IT project teams can use to alleviate the threat of technical project
risk as well as by seeking to understand how IT project teams can be composed to
facilitate the risk mitigation processes1. Drawing from the IT project management
literature, we identify three risk mitigation processes, that is, coordination and
monitoring, planning and scheduling, and client interaction (e.g., [33, 40, 47,
75]). Requirement risk is often caused by inadequate or poor communication
between IT project teams and clients. Consequently, more interactions with clients
are likely to help clarify requirements and reduce requirement risk. Likewise,
coordination and monitoring, and planning and scheduling are likely to help
teams better cope with the complicated development processes that involve new
and unfamiliar technologies. We identify coordination and monitoring, planning
and scheduling, and client interaction as three critical processes in mitigating IT
project risks. The fact that technical project risk is an exogenous factor over which
project managers typically have minimal control, suggests that it is theoretically
best conceptualized as a moderator to better understand the effect of risk mitigation
processes on IT project performance.
Our model also aims to provide a better understanding of how IT project teams of
different cultural composition are able to perform under such IT project risk
conditions. In order to overcome the threat posed by technical project risks, IT
project teams must be able to easily engage in the necessary project risk mitigation
processes [9, 68, 76]. Understanding the cultural values of the IT project team’s
members provides insight about how the team is likely to act with respect to such
processes. We choose to focus on team cultural composition and theorize how it
affects IT project performance through risk mitigation processes for mainly three
reasons. First, given that cultural values comprise schemas about interactions
between social entities [5], they shed light on our understanding of how and why
people interact with each other. The collective nature of IT project development and
the interdependent actions taken by IT project teams, especially for projects developing new systems or applications, require intensive interactions among project
team members, and between project team members and clients (e.g., [28, 47, 57]),
making the cultural lens appropriate for understanding IT project teams’ behaviors
and actions. Second, we argue that it is important to incorporate the role of culture
into the IT project risk framework because IT project teams’ risk propensity and
risk perceptions are culture-sensitive (e.g., [32]). Prior studies indicate that the
identification and management of project risk needs to account for cultural
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MARUPING ET AL.
differences (e.g., [42]). Third, unlike other extrinsic motivators, such as reward or
punishment mechanisms, that drive teams’ behaviors, such as engagement in risk
mitigation processes, cultural values are likely to act as an intrinsic motivator when
they are accepted and internalized, and therefore should have a stronger influence
on teams’ behaviors [41]. Next, we outline the theory that forms the basis for our
predictions about how IT project team cultural composition affects project risk
mitigation processes.
Different Perspectives on Cultural Values
Culture reflects the norms, values, and belief systems that individuals possess [12].
These norms, values, and belief systems form the cognitive schemas that serve as
a basis for people’s perception of situations [41]. It allows them to make sense …
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