Public Administration Relevancy: CIOs Narratives About Information Technology Project Experiences Within California State Government

Public Administration Relevancy: CIOs Narratives About Information Technology Project Experiences Within California State Government

Author: 
Demetra L. Davis
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This study analyzed the problem implementing large-scale information technology (IT) projects. Although the issue also affects indiscriminately the private and public sectors at all levels, the research focused on the State of California public administration organizations. This was accomplished through a qualitative research method that documented individual narratives using biographic, experiential, and reflective data collected through a written questionnaire and individual in-person interviews. The participants were nine public administration executives serving as chief information officers (CIO), agency information officers, deputy directors, or project directors, who had similar responsibilities leading large-scale IT projects. Data analysis through the all quadrants all levels theoretical framework disclosed the internal environment’s profound affect on IT projects versus external environmental conditions. These interviews revealed that leadership, social relationships, organizational strategy, and bureaucratic processes influenced IT projects’ acutely influenced outcomes. The leadership role continued to matter but vestiges of sociotechnical systems like relationships, strategies, and processes were equal reasons for IT projects failures or successes. The internal organizational dynamics led to the research conclusion that despite California decision-makers’ concentration on statewide mandated frameworks, the external control agency processes had minimum effect on IT projects. The findings suggested a more worthwhile investment was to develop leaders with the full complement of knowledge, skills, and abilities suited to lead complex IT projects.
Dedication: 
I am here, because you were there. To my family and friends who were extraordinary during this journey, especially my parents. From your struggles and victories, I stand. Although my father rests in peace, his stories about workplace dynamics and valuing my personal worth still resonate. To my mother full of grace and fierce determination, simply you are everything. To all, thank you for always loving me no matter the circumstances or accomplishments. Unapologetically, I borrow a few lines from the poem “Stop all the Clocks,” by W. H. Auden, to convey the depth and breadth of your influence. [You are] “my North, my South, my East, and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song…” (Auden, 1940).
Acknowledgements: 
To the California state government CIOs who agreed to participate in this study, thank you. I am humbled by your trust in me to carry forth your stories. Hopefully, you will agree the time was worthwhile. Thank you to my dissertation chair Dr. Guy E. White and committee members Dr. Elmer Hall and Dr. Gerald Nebeker. Unchanged in composition since inception, you have been by my side throughout this journey, a rare feat indeed. My appreciation for your guidance, support, and patience extends beyond these mere words. I am indebted to you individually and as a group ad infinitum.