The Concept of Fit in Information Systems Research
The impacts of information technology on business performance has been a focus of research in recent years. In this regard, contingency models based on the notion of " fit " between the organization's management of IT, its environment, strategy, and structure seem to hold some promise. However, given different conceptual definitions of fit adopted and statistical analysis methods chosen by researchers, results of empirical studies may vary. Six perspectives are examined as they pertain to the relationships between the firm's environmental uncertainty, its strategic orientation, its structure, its strategic management of IT, and its performance, namely moderation, mediation and matching as bivariate approaches to fit, and covariation, profile deviation and gestalts as systems approaches. These relationships are analyzed by means of an empirical study of 110 small and medium-sized enterprises. Results obtained from applying and comparing the six perspectives illustrate their significant differences and confirm the need for conceptual and methodological rigor when applying contingency theory in IS research.
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