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Journal Article

Employing a Mixed Methods Approach to Benefit Business‑IT Alignment and Levels of Maturity  pp48-61

Sally Eaves

© Dec 2015 Volume 13 Issue 1, Mixed Methods, Editor: Ros Cameron, pp1 - 61

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Abstract: This paper examines the design, implementation, benefits and challenges of employing a mixed methods research approach with the aim to provide an emergent, integrative and multi‑layered perspective on Business‑IT alignment influences and maturit y measurement. The application of mixed methods is underutilised in this domain and it is opined that it can serve to elucidate this perennial, but often elusive, core objective of senior management. It also begins to redress the predominance of quantitat ive studies and the frequent application of tools and techniques in isolation, not combination. The case of a leading UK Communications Service Provider in a two year period of joint venture integration provides a transformational context for examination, with a methodological focus. It is argued that mixed methods can achieve a mutually supporting depth and breadth of coverage that is appropriate to complex and multifaceted phenomena such as Business‑IT alignment and facilitates consideration of both pr ocess and outcomes. A transparently presented two phased, sequential exploratory and emergent design is adopted, with embedded integration. This is underpinned by a reflexive and intelligent‑action orientated pragmatic lens. Innovative use of observation, photography, interviews, focus groups and survey data are synthesised to unfold the Business‑IT alignment relationship, whilst the Strategic Alignment Maturity Model supports incremental maturity evaluation. The approach facilitates a responsive, integr ative, pluralistic and holistic evaluation of alignment and maturity measurement, moving beyond traditional snapshot techniques. It encourages reflexive, in situ surfacing of core themes and builds cumulative insight into the fluctuating impact of events, interventions and culture. The design benefits data richness, elaboration, validation, illustration and the identification of situated knowledge regarding enablers, inhibitors and interdependencies. Further, a robust and repeatable assessment of maturity can be achieved to support benchmarking and


Keywords: Keywords: Mixed Methods Research, Business-IT Alignment, Strategic Alignment Maturity Model, SAMM, Strategic Alignment, Joint Venture, Communications Sector


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