The Dual Role of IS Specificity in Governing Software as a Service

Till Winkler, Alexander Benlian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This study addresses the theoretically neglected role of information system (IS) specificity for application governance, by referring to the allocation of application related decision authority and task responsibility between business and IT units. Based on the premise of organizational and technical ‘embedding’, and employing a transaction cost theoretic (TCT) lens, we develop the idea that customization and greater functional specificity of an IS lead to both more business unit governance through higher human asset specificity and more IT unit governance through higher technical specificity. Survey data from 76 organizations using different types of Software as a Service provide support for these ideas. Our results unveil a new dualism for explaining IT governance phenomena on the application level. Furthermore, we demonstrate a relevant appropriation of the frequency construct from TCT to this context. Besides practical implications, we outline contributions to IT governance, transaction cost, and IT artifact theories in the IS field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
EditorsF. George Joey
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2012
ISBN (Electronic)9780615718439
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 33rd International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2012 : Digital Innovation in the Service Economy - Orlando, Florida, United States
Duration: 16 Dec 201219 Dec 2012


ConferenceThe 33rd International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, Florida
OtherICIS is the major annual meeting of the Association for Information Systems (AIS).
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems

Cite this