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IT risk management: interrelationships based on strategy implementation

Nishani Edirisinghe Vincent (Department of Accounting, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Robert Pinsker (School of Accounting, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management

ISSN: 1834-7649

Article publication date: 16 March 2020

Issue publication date: 18 June 2020

611

Abstract

Purpose

Risk management is an under-explored topic in information systems (IS) research that involves complex and interrelated activities. Consequently, the authors explore the importance of interrelated activities by examining how the maturity of one type of information technology risk management (ITRM) practice is influenced by the maturity of other types of ITRM practices. The purpose of this paper is to explore these relationships, the authors develop a model based on organizational strategy implementation theory and the COBIT framework. The model identifies four types of ITRM practices, namely, IT governance (ITG); communications; operations; and monitoring.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a survey methodology to collect data on senior information technology (IT) executives' perceptions on ITRM practices. The authors use an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to identify four dimensions of ITR M practices and conduct a structural equation model to observe the associations.

Findings

The survey of senior IT executives' perceptions suggests that the maturity of ITRM practices related to ITG, communications and monitoring positively influence the maturity of operations-related ITRM practices. Further, the maturity of communications-related ITRM practices mediates the relationship between ITG and operations-related ITRM practices. The aggregate results demonstrate the inter-relatedness of ITRM practices and highlight the importance of taking a holistic view of ITRM.

Research limitations/implications

Given the content and complexity of the study, it is difficult to obtain senior executives’ responses in large firms. Therefore, this study did not use a separate sample to conduct the EFA to obtain the underlying four constructs. Also, the ITRM practices identified are perceptions. Even though the authors consider this to be a limitation, it also communicates the pressing areas that senior IT professionals are expected to focus given various external and internal pressures. This study focuses on large firms, hence, small to midsize firms are not well represented.

Practical implications

Given the demanding regulatory and financial reporting requirements and the complexity of IT, there is an increasing possibility that the accounting profession will require IT professionals to focus on operations-related ITRM practices, such as security, availability and confidentially of data and IS are closely related to internal controls. However, as this study demonstrates, the maturity of operations-related ITRM practices cannot be achieved by focusing solely on operations-related IT risks. Therefore, IT practitioners can use this study to raise awareness of the complex interrelationships among ITRM practices among managers to improve the overall ITRM practices in a firm.

Social implications

The study also shows the importance of establishing proper communication channels among various business functions with regard to ITRM. Extant IT research identifies the importance of the firm’s communication structure on various firm performance measures. For example, Krotov (2015) mentions the importance of communication in improving trust between the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Firms with established communication channels have the necessary medium to educate and involve other departments with regard to the security of data. Thus, such firms are more likely to have mature risk management practices because of increased awareness of risks and preventive techniques.

Originality/value

The study contributes to ITG and risk management literature by identifying the role of monitoring-related ITRM practices on improving other areas of risk management. The study also extends the existing ITRM literature by providing an organizational strategy perspective to ITRM practices and showing how ITRM practices follow organizational strategy implementation. Further, the authors identify four underlying ITRM categories. Consequently, researchers could choose between two factors (Vincent et al., 2017) or four factors based on the level of detail required for the particular study.

Keywords

Citation

Edirisinghe Vincent, N. and Pinsker, R. (2020), "IT risk management: interrelationships based on strategy implementation", International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 553-575. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJAIM-08-2019-0093

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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