The effectiveness of IT governance initiatives in improving IT’s contribution to organizational success has been demonstrated but the mechanisms by which improved outcomes are realized have largely remained unexplored. Although IT governance tools such as COBIT and ITIL specify procedures and policies for the management of IT resources, the experts who developed those tools also embedded a set of core principles or ‘norms’ in the underlying frameworks. This article explores these norms and their role in the realization of organizational IT quality. Through analysis of normative messages implicitly expressed in the documentation elements provided by COBIT, we extract two norms (commitment to improvement and a risk/control perspective) thought to indicate that an organization has adopted the spirit of IT governance. Next, we model the relationship between adoption of these norms and IT quality and evaluate the model with data from a survey of 86 individuals who use, manage, and/or deliver organizational IT services. Principal component analysis is used to validate the survey items. Results show statistically significant relationships between norm adoption, participation in norm-driven activities, and organizational IT quality.