The engagement of top management in IT discourse

Kowalik, Natalie (2012-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) top management is responsible for the risk management in their company. In today‟s world, businesses are relying more and more heavily on IT and often this can be seen as a huge risk. As a potential risk factor and an integral part of any business, IT therefore falls under the portfolio of top management. However, there is a general perception, especially among dedicated IT professionals, that there is a gap between business, that is top management, and IT and that successful communication is not always achieved. The lack of successful communication between top management and IT role players could have a negative impact on a business‟ ability to operate fully. This study is therefore concerned with the investigation of how top management (the IT decision makers in a company) engage in the discourse of IT. It aims to identify whether a communication gap between business (top management) and IT truly does exist and, if so, why. The data for this study takes the form of recorded, semi-structured interviews with IT role-players and directors/managers who have IT as part of their portfolio, from ten SMEs in the greater Cape Town area. This study is undertaken in the framework of semantic discourse analysis, concentrating on two notions of coherence, that of van Dijk‟s (1985) model of macrostructures and Brown and Yule‟s (1983) notion of „discourse topic‟. This approach is used in order to analyse the transcribed interviews with both top management and IT role players in order to determine whether the perception of a communication gap between business (top management) and IT is true and if so, what the reasons for this communication gap are. The analysis of the transcriptions allows the researcher to confirm the perception that a communication gap does exist and to identify two possible reasons as to why this communication gap exists, firstly, that there seems to be a lack of communication between IT and top management and, secondly, that top management‟s interpretation of what IT means to their company differs from that of their IT role players.

AFRIKAANSE OPSMOMMING: In klein tot mediumgrootte ondernemings (KMOs) is topbestuur verantwoordelik vir die risikobestuur in hul maatskappy. In vandag se wêreld, maak besighede meer en meer staat op IT en dit kan dikwels beskou word as 'n groot risiko. As 'n potensiële risikofaktor en' n integrale deel van enige besigheid, val dit dus onder die portefeulje van die top bestuur. Daar is egter 'n algemene persepsie, veral onder toegewyde IT-profesionele, dat daar' n gaping tussen die besigheid, in ander woorde die topbestuur, en IT bestaan en dat suksesvolle kommunikasie nie altyd bereik word nie. Die gebrek aan suksesvolle kommunikasie tussen topbestuur en IT kan 'n negatiewe impak op' n onderneming se vermoë om ten volle te funksioneer he. Hierdie studie is dus gemoeid met die ondersoek van hoe topbestuur (die IT-besluitnemers in 'n maatskappy) betrokke raak in die diskoers met IT. Die doel is om vas te stel of 'n kommunikasie gaping tussen die besigheid (topbestuur) en IT werklik bestaan, en indien wel, waarom te identifiseer. Die data vir hierdie studie neem die vorm van aangetekende, semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met rolspelers en direkteure / bestuurders wat IT as deel van hul portefeulje het in tien KMOs in die groter Kaapstad-gebied. Hierdie studie is onderneem met die raamwerk van`n semantiese diskoers-analise, en konsentreer op die twee begrippe van samehang, dié van Van Dyk (1985) se model van makrostrukture en Brown en Yule (1983) se idee van `n 'diskoers onderwerp'. Hierdie benadering word gebruik om die getranskribeerde onderhoude met beide topbestuur en IT-rolspelers te analiseer en ten einde te bepaal of die persepsie van 'n kommunikasie gaping tussen die besigheid (topbestuur) en IT-rolspelers waar is en indien wel, wat die redes vir hierdie kommunikasie gaping is. Die ontleding van die transkripsies stel die navorser in staat om die persepsie dat 'n kommunikasie gaping bestaan te bevestig en om twee moontlike redes daarvoor te identifeer, in die eerste plek dat dit lyk asof daar' n gebrek aan kommunikasie tussen IT-rolspelers en die topbestuur bestaan, en tweedens, dat die topbestuur se interpretasie van wat IT beteken vir hul maatskappy verskil van dié van hul IT-rolspelers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20072
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