Trust and Transparency from an Alignment Perspective

Morten Gryning

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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The academic literature suggests that firms cannot stay competitive if their business and IT departments are not aligned. Several theories have provided insights into how to achieve alignment, yet most IT and business departments still struggle to fulfill each other’s expectations, with dissatisfaction and low trust as a result. Some scholars argue that alignment is about finding the right mechanical configuration for a given organization. Others argue that alignment theory should move away from a focus on processes, structures, and roles, instead looking at concepts such as communication, trust, and service quality. This Ph.D. thesis features an analysis of the relationship between the IT department and the business departments at the global brewery Carlsberg. The analysis is centered on how trust, transparency, and service quality enter into this relationship, and how these interactions affect the level of alignment between the company departments. Concurrent with the analysis and data collection, a framework was developed based on qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data collected via interviews and observations provided insights into the interactions between the concepts, whereas quantitative data collected via survey instruments and experiments provided insights into the correlations between concepts as well as their relational causality. The primary findings include the identification of causality between certain dimensions of transparency, trust, and service quality, with expectation matching playing a significant role in the relationship. The study also found that the relationship between transparency and trust was mutually reinforced, and that factors such as organizational complexity, organizational change, and lack of cross-domain engagement from the business employees had a negative impact on alignment. The findings of the thesis have implications for theory as well as praxis. In terms of theory, the findings provide a refinement of the normative claim that organizations should merely establish communication mechanisms to improve alignment. While such mechanisms can be useful, the roles of employee expectations, barriers, and the context of the organization must also be considered in order to achieve greater success. In terms of practice, the implementation of a transparency tool led to an increase of 16% in competence-based trust and an increase of 21% in the assurance dimension of service quality. For organizations similar to Carlsberg, such a tool could be a possible means to obtain similar results.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages245
ISBN (Print)9788793339446
ISBN (Electronic)9788793339453
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesPhD series

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