Critical success factors revisited : Success and failure cases of information systems for senior executives

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-418
Journal / PublicationDecision Support Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


The literature suggests the existence of critical success factors (CSFs) for the development of information systems that support senior executives. Our study of six organizations gives evidence for this notion of CSFs. The study further shows an interesting pattern, namely that companies either `get it right', and essentially succeed on all CSFs, or `get it completely wrong, that is, fall short on each of the CSFs. Among the six cases for which data were collected through in-depth interviews with company executives, three organizations seemed to manage all the CSFs properly, while two others managed all CSFs poorly. Only one organization showed a mixed scorecard, managing some factors well and some not so well. At the completion of the study, this organization could neither be judged as a success, nor as a failure. This dichotomy between success and failure cases suggests the existence of an even smaller set of `meta-success' factors. Based on our findings, we speculate that these `meta-success' factors are `championship', `availability of resources', and `link to organization objectives'.