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Keywords:

  • Europe;
  • information technology leaders;
  • IT management;
  • IT success

Abstract. Information technology (IT) leaders — companies that successfully exploit IT to achieve business results — generate immense interest among practitioners and academics. From a practitioner's perspective, IT leaders provide benchmarks of leading IT management practices which others may emulate to achieve success. From an academic perspective, IT leaders provide the ‘data’ for the creation of frameworks and theories of IT management. While US IT leaders are regularly assessed by academics, trade magazines, consultants and benchmarking firms, there has been no Europe-wide assessment of IT leadership. This neglect is detrimental to European IT practitioners and academics who may discover that American IT management practices are not transferrable in the European context. In this article, we analyse the construct, context and statistical validity of six methods for identifying European IT leaders. Based on this analysis, two methods (expert ratings and citation counts) were used to generate a preliminary list of European IT leaders and laggards. While individual experts were reticent about volunteering their ratings, their collective view appears to generate a worthwhile list with high construct validity. Citation counts represent a more accessible process for list generation, with high statistical validity. However, an attempt to correlate expert ratings with a list based on citation counts confirms that the latter has questionable construct validity.