A Systems View of IS Governance and IT Governance: A Case Study of the Virginia Department of Transportation


A review of the research related to Information Technology (IT) governance reveals that researchers have yet to use systems theory directly as a basis for understanding IT governance; however, analysis of these researchers’ various definitions of IT governance shows a concurrence between these definitions and the characteristics of a system. This case study research adopts a systems imagination to observe IS and IT governance in the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which has a budget of over $5 billion and over 7,500 employees and has recently conducted a strategic assessment of its IT organization - including IS and IT governance.

The case study posits that VDOT is an indivisible, purposeful, goal seeking (teleological) system where (1) there are three peer elements (governance, management, and operations); (2) there is a governance feedback mechanism (auditing and monitoring); (3) there are peer areas within the governance element that are specialized for a VDOT asset (e.g., capital asset governance, financial governance, human resource governance, etc.) and IS governance is the peer area that is specialized for IT assets; and (4) there are sub-peer areas within IS governance that are specialized for an IT, and this specialized form of IS governance is named IT governance.

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