Background: IT is getting an increasing importance in hospitals. In this context, major IT decisions are often made by CEOs who are not necessarily IT experts.
Objectives: Therefore, this study aimed at a) exploring different types of IT decision makers at CEO level, b) identifying hypotheses if trust exists between these different types of CEOs and their CIOs and c) building hypotheses on potential consequences regarding risk taking and innovation.
Methods: To this end, 14 qualitative interviews with German hospital CEOs were conducted to explore the research questions.
Results: The study revealed three major types: IT savvy CEOs, IT enthusiastic CEOs and IT indifferent CEOs. Depending on these types, their relationship with the CIO varied in terms of trust and common language. In case of IT indifferent CEOs, a potential vicious circle of lack of IT knowledge, missing trust, low willingness to take risks and low innovation power could be identified.
Conclusion: In order to break of this circle, CEOs seem to need more IT knowledge and/or greater trust in their CIO.
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