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Awards - The Stafford Beer Medal

This award is named in memory of Stafford Beer, a world leader in the development of systems ideas, especially management cybernetics, and President of the OR Society 1970-71.

The Stafford Beer Medal is awarded in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory or practice of Information Systems published in the European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS) within the relevant year.

Stafford Beer Medal 2015

(Major) Jennifer E Gerow, Virginia Military Institute, USA
Jason Bennett Thatcher, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
Varum Grover, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA

Six types of IT-business strategic alignment: An investigation of the constructs and their measurement
European Journal of Information Systems, 24 465-491

The Operational Research Society is pleased to award the Stafford Beer award to a paper that is of key relevance to both IT/IS practitioners and researchers. The phrase “Business IT Alignment” refers to a key goal in optimising the value of IT in the Enterprise. But how can it be rigorously and meaningfully defined in practice? The paper addresses this fundamental question, building upon and validating the model proposed by Henderson and Venkatraman.  The model describes how firms can seek to align four fundamental strategic components – Business strategy, IT strategy, and Business and IT infrastructure and processes, and the relationships between these factors. Using survey data collected from 140 Chief Information Officers, the six distinct alignment types delineated through this model were then rigorously tested, using a variety of statistical analyses, to determine how each type related to the dependent variable, namely ‘Business Financial Performance’. The rigour and relevance of this approach are highly commended, as it both delivers important new theoretical insights and it provides a practical tool that can be applied by IT strategists within the organisational environment. We therefore have pleasure in commending this paper for the award.