On the Business Value of Information Technology: A Theory of Slack Resources

  • Yasser Rahrovani
  • Alain Pinsonneault
Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 28)


This chapter provides insights on the business value of IT by theorizing the concept of IT slack and explaining its effects on firm performance. We define IT slack as the cushion of actual or potential IT resources that allow organizational adaptation to internal and external pressures and jolts. We elaborate a typology of IT slack based on two dimensions: the nature of the slack (i.e., IT artifact, human resource, or time) and the type of IT asset (i.e., IT infrastructure vs. IT application). We suggest that IT slack simultaneously affects both organizational effectiveness and efficiency. IT slack is a double-edged sword. While IT slack can improve organizational effectiveness, it might reduce efficiency, because slacks is, by ­definition, excess resources that remain idle until needed. We also suggest that the relationship between IT slack and organizational effectiveness is curvilinear.


IT slack Business Value of IT IT Productivity Paradox Organizational Effectiveness Organizational Efficiency 



Chief executive officer


Chief information officer


Customer relationship management


Enterprise resource planning


Information systems


Information technology


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Desautels Faculty of ManagementMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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