DAVID F. FEENY, MICHAEL J. EARL, AND BRIAN EDWARDS
The commonest conceptualization of any organizational design is usually the 'structure' or vertical dimension--the definition of organizational units, the reporting relationships for each of them, and the distribution of responsibilities and authority. A second dimension, which may be less well defined in the design or its operation, is the 'process' or horizontal component--the way in which different organizational units work with each other when necessary to achieve organizational objectives. When organizational arrangements for IS are being considered, this second component takes on a particular importance because of the well-documented difficulties experienced between IS professionals and representatives of other parts of the organization. Problematic relationships are seen to arise regardless of choice of IS structure: corporations which demolish a central 'ivory tower' IS function by decentralizing resources into local IT units regularly find they have created a series of smaller ivory towers. Users still perceive the IS department as centralized because user--specialist relationships are inadequate. In this chapter we consider how organizational arrangements can foster effective working relationships between IS specialists and the 'users' they serve, irrespective of their positioning within a structural framework.
A starting-point is to recognize that IS professionals typically possess-- or at least are perceived to possess--particular personal characteristics which inhibit their working relationships with other members of the organization. Couger and Zawacki ( 1980) reported that IS specialists consistently demonstrated a higher need for constant challenge ('Growth Need Strength') but a lower need for interpersonal relationships ('Social Need Strength') than other professional groupings. Their findings have since