Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Francis Kofi Andoh-Baidoo

Second Advisor

Dr. Punit Ahluwalia

Third Advisor

Dr. Jerald K. Hughes


Software is a critical information technology (IT) asset as it plays a key role in the creation of organizational value and it ranks as the first or second most important IT budget disbursement. Organizations are expected to govern software to ensure its efficient use while protecting the copyright of software developers.

Software asset management (SAM) focuses on the good governance and effective lifecycle management of software. SAM impacts the flexibility to support business strategies with software, and protects organizations against liability and security risks associated with software use. Since the 1990s, practitioners and scholars posit that SAM is a strategic issue that should be attended by top management. However, reports indicate that widespread SAM adoption is at early stages and a review of the literature reveals limited research on SAM. Studying SAM is relevant to practice and theory because it could explain the processes behind its adoption in organizations. Two different SAM actions are identified: Proactive and Reactive SAM. This study investigates the role of top managers and important antecedents of SAM actions.

This investigation draws from strategic sensemaking to explain how top management team’s (TMT) interpretation of IS strategic issues (i.e., software asset issues) as an opportunity influences proactive SAM. It also draws from institutional theory as explanation of reactive SAM actions. Survey responses from 187 chief information officers were collected.

The study used a scenario to elicit a strategic issue tested in three stages. In the first stage, scholars and practitioners validated the scenario and survey items. In the second, a pilot was conducted to validate the survey instrument and research model. In the third, a full-scale data collection and test of the research model was completed. Findings from this study indicate that TMT interpretation of SAM as an IS strategic issue influences the adoption of Proactive SAM. Also, coercive force has a direct influence on reactive SAM.

This study contributes to the IS literature by developing an instrument to measure reactive and proactive SAM, identifying factors that influence TMT’s interpretation, and subsequent SAM action. For practice, the study corroborates the need to involve TMT in the SAM decision making processes because TMT interpretation is positively associated with the willingness to implement Proactive SAM.


Copyright 2017 Juan A. Chavarria. All Rights Reserved.

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