On December 5, 2019 I have been a jury member in the PhD defence of Tim Huygh at University of Antwerp, Belgium. His PhD thesis is entitled “Understanding IT Governance: Conceptualization and Enabling IT Business Value”. The abstract of this PhD thesis is included below together with a picture after this PhD defence with Tim Huygh, Steven De Haes (as Tim Huygh’s PhD supervisor) and the jury members.
Understanding IT Governance: Conceptualization and Enabling IT Business Value
Date: 5 December 2019
Venue: Master Aula André Leysen 001.B – Antwerp Management School, Boogkeers 5 – 2000 Antwerp
Time: 4:00 PM
PhD candidate: Tim Huygh
Principal investigator: Prof Steven De Haes
Short description: PhD defence Tim Huygh – Faculty of Business and Economics
An increasing (operational and strategic) dependence on IT for organizations results in a growing need for effective IT governance. Effective IT governance effectuates appropriate control over an organization’s current and future IT use, as to enable the creation and protection of IT business value. However, the research domain of IT governance is somewhat hampered by a lack of theoretical underpinnings for IT governance, which makes it difficult to explain from a theoretical perspective how effective IT governance should be organized and why.
In response, this PhD thesis investigates the concept of IT governance through Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM). In that context, the research that was conducted serves multiple purposes. First, an organizing logic for IT governance is articulated that is grounded in the VSM and informed by extant IT governance research. Second, extending the discussion beyond the conceptual level, two in-depth case studies are presented that demonstrate how the VSM can be used as a lens for describing and diagnosing IT governance in practice. Third and finally, four empirical IT governance-related research studies are presented that are inspired by the VSM-based organizing logic for IT governance, which demonstrates that this logic can provide structure and theoretical underpinnings to IT governance-related empirical research.
For academics, this thesis contributes to the theoretical discourse on IT governance. It answers the question why IT governance can continue to fulfil its general purpose of creating and protecting IT business value. Furthermore, it provides strong theoretical underpinnings for how to organize effective IT governance. For practitioners, this thesis shows how the VSM can be used as a lens to describe and diagnose IT governance in practice. Furthermore, it provides insights on the IT governance mechanisms and practices that may be used to instantiate the required functions of an IT governance arrangement.