Emerging trends in information technology departments of major icelandic corporations

William J. Tastle, Ársæll Valfells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to establish a baseline for the study of offshore outsourcing in Iceland. After an extensive search to identify any paper (English or Icelandic) that dealt with this topic turned up empty, it was decided that a comprehensive work was necessary to provide an opportunity for future comparative research. Design/methodology/approach - Data were secured by interviewing the chief information officers (CIOs) or equivalent officers of the 11 largest corporations (by Icelandic standards). A checklist was used to focus the initial question session, and then the CIOs were permitted, and encouraged, to muse about their information technology (IT) operations. Insights were gathered on a set of problems, and some of those identified problems were quite unexpected. Findings - Ten trends are identified consisting of aspects of: the difficulty of hiring qualified labor in-country; establishment of strategy resides entirely within the IT management; security remains a serious concern; offshore subcontractors sometimes place their employees within Icelandic companies; mid- and upper-level employees who can strategically develop networks and systems are in strong demand; use of information system (IS)/IT standards for information security is mostly voluntary; generally, the establishment of IS/IT strategy does not remain with board of directors; virtually all Icelandic corporations engage in, or have engaged in, outsourcing over the past five years (11 sub-trends are identified); and the business school curricula is inadequate to the needs of Icelandic corporations with respect to IT demands. Research limitations/implications - Comparisons among Nordic and other small nations are not addressed. Virtually, every trend noted should be followed up with additional study. This paper is designed to establish baseline of current offspring activity in Iceland. It is by no means a definitive study. Practical implications - Many research threads are identified and opened for future work. Academic programs can use this paper as motivation for modifications in existing programs and the creation of new one that better satisfies corporate needs. Originality/value - Prior to this paper, there is no information available on the state of IT offshoring in the country of Iceland. A benchmark is now established against which future research can be measured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Commerce and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Other keywords

  • Communication technologies
  • Iceland
  • Outsourcing


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