Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Leadership in the Information Age: How Chief Information Officers Lead Information Technology Workers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken


This dissertation reports the examination of the leadership behaviors of a small sample (23 participants) of CIOs in Fortune 500 companies using a modified version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (Kouzes & Posner, 2001). The aim of this survey research was to identify leadership behaviors that support the effective leadership of information technology (IT) knowledge workers by randomly selecting a representative sample. The literature review discusses the role of IT in the attainment of competitive advantage; the role of the CIO as a leader of IT knowledge workers; transformational, exemplary, and technology leadership models; and a change management model; the characteristics of CIOs were discussed. Of Kouzes and Posner’s leadership behaviors, Challenging the Process and Encouraging the Heart were identified by the participants as the behaviors they exhibit most often, while Enabling Others to Act and Modeling the Way were designated as areas in need of the most development. There was no significant statistical relationship between the CIOs’ reported leadership behaviors and their demographic characteristics (level of education, academic major, gender, length of tenure as a CIO, length of tenure with present organization, number of years in the IT/MIS field, membership in the organization’s top management team, frequency of informal interactions with members of the top management team and with the CEO, and having a close relationship with the CEO). Some of the relationship of leadership behaviors and demographic characteristics of CIOs were found to support some of the theoretical assumptions found in the literature. CIOs participating in this study reported to be performing as agents of change within their organizations. Potential problems in the successful leadership of IT knowledge workers included the identification of rewards that promoted the alignment of employee and organizational goals.