The role and contribution of the Chief Technology Officer
van der Hoven, Christopher
On the role of technology and innovation leaders when planning or reacting to organisational discontinuities
University of Cambridge
Department of Engineering
IfM Centre for Technology Management
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van der Hoven, C. (2011). The role and contribution of the Chief Technology Officer (doctoral thesis).
The Role and Contribution of the Chief Technology Officer The role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) came about because of new organisational demands on technology leaders in the 1980s. The initial research objective of this dissertation was to provide a clear scope of activities (a remit) for the CTO role. However, the analysis did not support a generic description for the role. Therefore, the approach taken explores CTO perspectives on technology management priorities when the technology context changes. There is limited literature on the role and contribution of the CTO per se. The resulting gap in the knowledge about the role is amplified by a wide variety of research methods and academic perspectives. From a theoretical point of view, the existing research tends to focus in isolation on the work being done, the working context or the worker (i.e. the CTO). There are studies that consider how the working context is changing, and studies that consider the work of the CTO, for example, the technology management priorities. There are still other studies that consider the attributes of the CTO. In this dissertation, these three perspectives - the working context, the work and the worker - are investigated in an integrated way using a data collection technique called ‘personal role mapping’ that is based on cognitive mapping. The ‘personal role mapping’ approach has been developed as part of this work. The evidence collected and analysed shows that the role of the CTO is highly idiosyncratic. This is because the CTO role changes as the organisation adapts in order to compete. Also, the role differs from one industry to another and between organisations within the same industry. To help deal with these variations, a CTO/Context Framework has been derived for use in conjunction with ‘technology transition points’. The CTO/Context Framework has 20 sub-elements that support 6 primary elements including, ‘technology management infrastructure’, ‘technology entry/exit points’, ‘technology business case & funding’, ‘operational improvement’, ‘people management’ and ‘technology business model & strategy’. The CTO can review each element with related sub-elements in anticipation or at the point of a ‘technology transition’. This model for the CTO role is proposed as an alternative to a generic ‘job description’ (remit) for the CTO role. It is intended to be used as a platform for planning and decision-making. Together, the framework and the research approach for mapping an individual’s role are offered as a unique contribution to knowledge.
Innovation, CTO, Technology compass, Technology transition points
This record's URL: http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/240632