How do top managers support strategic information system projects and why do they sometimes withhold this support?

A. Boonstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Top management support is an important determinant of information system project success. This is especially the case in complex and large-scale IS projects. Surprisingly, however, there is only limited reliable knowledge about the types of behavior that underlie top management support. Further, despite the concept's crucial importance, little insight has been gained into the reasons why the level of this support is sometimes low. This research aims to address this gap by focusing on three questions: 1) What behavioral types are associated with top management support for strategic IS projects? 2) How can these behaviors be placed in a coherent framework? and 3) Why do managers sometimes withhold these types of support? To address these questions, we analyzed top management support during a number of strategic IS implementations. To this end, we used an integrationist model as our theoretical lens. An in-depth analysis of five cases revealed that top management support is a multidimensional phenomenon that tends to change over time. In this research study, we have identified various support profiles and placed them in a framework of behavioral types and aims of top management support. This framework can be used to plan, execute, and evaluate top management support in strategic IS projects. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-512
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May-2013


  • Top management
  • Support
  • Withholding support
  • Support profile
  • Strategic information system
  • Integrationist model
  • Framework

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