Hard and soft IT governance maturity

Daniël Smits

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The goal of the research in this thesis is to determine how the IT governance (ITG) of an organisation can grow in maturity to become more effective. ITG are “the structures, process, cultures and systems that engender the successful operation of the IT of the (complete) organization”. ITG is thus not restricted to the IT organisation. The research presented here follows the stream in which ITG is considered an integral part of corporate governance, focusing on the performance perspective.
The proposition is that improving “ITG maturity” results in improving ITG. Given that ITG is an integral part of corporate governance, the assumption is that improving ITG results in improving corporate governance and thus, improving organisational performance.
The research methodology is based on design science and a combination of systematic literature studies, Delphi workshops and case studies.
Organisations can be defined as social units of people that are structured and managed to pursue collective goals. ITG can be seen from two perspectives:
- An organisational perspective referred to as “hard governance”;
- A social perspective referred to as “soft governance”.
This research is grounded in the assumption that in order to advance in maturity, organisations should pay attention to both the hard and soft sides of ITG. In order to improve ITG, a maturity model for hard and soft ITG was designed. The end result was a model consisting of three parts: soft governance, hard governance and the context.
The thesis provides a detailed description of the design process between 2014 and 2017.
Another literature review demonstrated that all 12 focus areas of the MIG model are also covered by the corporate governance literature. The assessment instrument was used in case studies conducted by students and the researchers. Between 2015 and 2017, 28 case studies were conducted using three versions of the instrument.
The evaluations revealed that combining the instrument with semi-structured interviews results in an enhanced and usable instrument for determining the current level of hard and soft ITG of an organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Hillegersberg, Jos, Supervisor
Award date23 Jan 2019
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4718-5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2018


  • IT governance
  • corporate governance
  • soft governance
  • hard governance
  • leadership
  • informal organization
  • organizational culture


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