The Fractional CIO in SMEs: conceptualization and research agenda

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


We conceptualize the new phenomenon of the Fractional Chief Information Officer (CIO) as a part-time executive who usually works for more than one primarily small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) and develop promising avenues for future research on Fractional CIOs. We conduct an empirical study by drawing on semi-structured interviews with 40 individuals from 10 different countries who occupy a Fractional CIO role. We derive a definition for the Fractional CIO, distinguish it from other forms of employment, and compare it with existing research on CIO roles. Further, we find four salient engagement types of Fractional CIOs offering value for SMEs in various situations: Strategic IT management, Restructuring, Rapid scaling, and Hands-on support. The results reveal similarities with existing CIO roles as well as novel insights concerning the different engagement types. Lastly, we propose a research agenda for the Fractional CIO field, based on four research themes derived from existing CIO research and insights from the interviews.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-611
Number of pages31
JournalInformation systems and e-business management : ISeB
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2022

External IDs

WOS 000812921500001
Scopus 85132346265
Mendeley 829e5f1b-ecf8-3949-bb52-b1a6759b90dd


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards


  • Fractional CIO, IT leadership, Interim management, Part-time management, SMEs, Small businesses, Virtual CIO

Library keywords