Business-IT alignment maturity: The correlation of performance indicators and alignment maturity within the commercial airline industry

by Ryan, Timothy K., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 231 pages; 3404651


During the period from 1978 to 2009, more than 200 commercial airlines were forced to merge, cease operations, or file for bankruptcy protection. The purpose of this quantitative study is to evaluate the global commercial airline industry from an IT-business alignment perspective and correlate the alignment maturity level of each airline with their respective performance metrics. The performance metrics selected as part of this study include (a) classical accounting and financial metrics, (b) operational metrics which are capable of acting as a proxy for customer satisfaction, and (c) airline characteristic measures. Eleven airlines were examined as part of this study using the constructs which were evaluated as part of previous research using the strategic alignment maturity (SAM) model survey. The SAM assessment instrument consists of five levels of maturity, each evaluated on six criteria. Findings were identified in two performance areas. In the area of financial performance, a statistically significant correlation was identified with the overall strategic alignment maturity level, as well as two of the six IT-business strategic alignment criteria: (a) communication maturity and (b) competency and value maturity. In addition, a statistically significant correlation was identified between an airline’s average load factor and its strategic alignment maturity level, as well as four of the six IT-business strategic alignment criteria: (a) competency and value maturity (b) governance maturity, (c) partnership maturity, and (d) scope and architecture maturity. In conclusion, five of the six criteria indicated a positive correlation with either financial performance or average load factor. The lack of a demonstrated correlation between an airline’s strategic alignment maturity and fleet size provides an opportunity for recommended future research. Future studies should consider controlling for fleet sizes within specific ranges. Finally, with 11 airlines representing four countries it is difficult to observe differences which might be present across national boundaries. These differences, if present, could have been a source of error in this study and is therefore recommended as an opportunity for further study.

AdviserLawrence Ness
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Information technology; Organization theory
Publication Number3404651

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