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**This manuscript has been accepted as FULL PAPER to be presented at ICE2021 - International Conference on Engineering, Technology, and Innovation Conference on Information Systems and Technologies, to be held in Cardiff, UK June 23 - 26, 2021. Author copy of the working/submitted manuscript is available here. Full accepted paper will be published in Proceedings by IEEE Digital Xplore. In the mean time, please feel free to reach out if you need full manuscript.*** The digital transformation of industry and society continues to advance. While some companies are achieving trailblazer status, others are finding it difficult to manage or even initiate the necessary changes. Top-level leaders play a central role in these transformational processes, as they have the opportunity to directly or indirectly influence decisive variables. In this article, we present the results of interviews with 13 digital leaders who have successfully implemented the necessary changes for the digital transformation of their companies. The results of the interviews provide key dimensions for leaders to digitally transform their companies.
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978-1-7281-3401-7/18/$31.00 2021 IEEE International Conference on Engineering,
©2021 IEEE Technology and Innovation (ICE/ITMC)
Digital Leadership – Which leadership dimensions
contribute to digital transformation success?
Gerhard Gudergan
FIR Institute for Industrial
RWTH Aachen University
Aachen, Germany
Haroon Abbu
VP, Digital, Data & Analytics
Bell & Howell
Durham, NC 27713
Paul Mugge
Center for Innovation Management
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27659
Gerrit Hoeborn
FIR Institute for Industrial
RWTH Aachen University
Aachen, Germany
Alexander Kwiatkowski
FIR Institute for Industrial
RWTH Aachen University
Aachen, Germany
Ruben Conrad
FIR Institute for Industrial
RWTH Aachen University
Aachen, Germany
Abstract The digital transformation of industry and
society continues to advance. While some companies are
achieving trailblazer status, others are finding it difficult to
manage or even initiate the necessary changes. Top-level leaders
play a central role in these transformational processes, as they
have the opportunity to directly or indirectly influence decisive
variables. In this article, we present the results of interviews
with 13 digital leaders who have successfully implemented the
necessary changes for the digital transformation of their
companies. The results of the interviews provide key dimensions
for leaders to digitally transform their companies.
Keywords— Digital Transformation, Digital Leadership,
Trust, Interview Study, Change Management.
Digital transformation is characterized as “the creation of,
and consequent change in, market offerings, business
processes, or models that result from the use of digital
technology.” [1]. In a large survey (n = 2135), [2] found that
'culture and the associated behavioral changes' are the main
obstacles to becoming a digitally effective company. It is also
known from previous research that successful digital
transformations always require top management commitment
to overcome these obstacles [3].
Furthermore, [4] claims, that a strong top-down direction
from senior executive team, coupled with methods that engage
employees in making the change happen, is the only effective
way to drive digital transformation. This is consistent with
findings from a large survey (n = 1390)—leaders as role
models, with a convincing rationale for change (e.g. strong
vision)—are the most effective means of influencing
organizational behavior [5].
It is evident, that leadership and its associated behaviors
play a central role in the success of digital transformation.
However, [6] claims that “it is naive to believe that the
management challenges of the digital age can be overcome
with the traditional management methods of the 20th
century.” The question then is, which kind of ‘digital age
methods’ are favorable, and which are not for a successful
digital transformation. Furthermore, [7] claims that it is not
only about new methods, but it is also about fundamental
mindset changes. Beyond methodological competencies, it is
necessary to adapt the perception and thought processes of
digital leaders.
In addition to outstanding digital expertise of the
leadership team [8], we consider the ability to create trust as
one of those ‘digital age’ leadership capabilities that leads to
successful transformations along with methodological
knowledge and a substantial mindset shift.
For example, [9] provides empirical support that
employees add additional value to their organization when
they trust in management. We also show that a culture of trust
is more common in digitally mature companies than in
digitally developing companies, and that the topic of
leadership plays a central role in creating this culture [10]. In
addition, trust has a higher priority in the digital world than in
traditional business environments [11].
The findings motivated us to investigate leaders who have
already successfully implemented digital transformation.
How do these leaders create a trustworthy, digitally effective
culture? Based on Stephen M.R. Covey's Speed of Trust
Framework, we created a questionnaire tailored to digital
transformation and conducted expert interviews with 13 top
level digital leaders of various companies. We present existing
theories on trust and then present the results of the interviews.
Afterwards, we discuss key takeaways and their implications
with reference to existing theories.
A. Definition of Trust
The concept of trust has been explored across many
disciplines by various researchers dating back several
decades. Definitions range from the fields of psychology,
sociology, political science, management and information
systems [12]. [13] defines trust as “the willingness to be
vulnerable to another party when that party cannot be
controlled or monitored.” Decades prior, [14] put forth a thesis
that risk, or having something invested, is a prerequisite to
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©2021 IEEE Technology and Innovation (ICE/ITMC)
Along the same lines, [15] defined trust as “a
psychological state comprising the intention to accept
vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the
intentions or behaviors of another.”
Common to many of these definitions is that they all
emphasize the connection between trust and the willingness to
take risks. In the entrepreneurial context—especially in the
digital world—this connection takes on special significance
More trust leads to more risk-taking behaviors on the part
of the trustor. Risk is inherent in vulnerability, and the
trustor’s behaviors allow vulnerability to the trustee, rather
than willingness to be vulnerable alone. Trust, therefore, can
be viewed as a generalized behavioral intention to take risk,
whereas its outcome is taking the risk itself [16].
B. Components of Trust
The factors that enable trust within organizations, have
been widely investigated [13]. They highlight three essential
characteristics of trustworthiness in an integrative model of
organizational trust: Ability, Benevolence, and Integrity.
Ability is the perception, that a trustee has skills and
competencies in the domain of interest. Benevolence is the
trustor’s perception that the trustee cares about the trustor.
Integrity is the perception that the trustee adheres to a set of
principles that the trustor finds acceptable.
Similarly, [17] identified nine "bases" of trust through a
series of clinical interviews: integrity (honesty and moral
character), motives (intentions and agenda), consistency of
behavior (reliability), openness (leveling and expressing ideas
freely), discreetness (keeping confidences), functional or
specific competence (knowledge and skills related to a
specific task), interpersonal competence (people skills),
business sense (common sense and wisdom about how a
business works), and judgment (ability to make good
Eight key factors that result in trust over time are
highlighted by [18]: clarity, compassion, character,
contribution, competency, connection, commitment, and
consistency. Several other researchers have emphasized
similar factors required to build trust in organizations [19, 20].
C. Trust Framework
The combination of the individual trust components and
the conceptualization varies depending on the reference
context. Researchers approach the trust dimensions
inconsistently and do not universally agree to the amount, nor
the components these dimensions [21].
However, in the organizational context, Stephen M.R.
Covey's framework has proven particularly effective. The
primary message is simple, but far-reaching: The Character
and Competency of the leader is critical to building trust
within organizations [22].
[22] breaks Character down into different character traits.
The emphasis is on two factors: Integrity and Intent. Integrity
is ‘walking the talk’ and includes Honesty, Humility, Courage
and Congruency. Intent can be broken down into Motive,
Agenda and Behavior.
Competencies emphasizes the Capabilities and Results of
a leader. Capabilities are divided into Talents, Attitudes,
Skills, Knowledge and Style. Results are considered in three
time dimensions: Past, Present, and Future.
An extended summary of the Covey’s Framework— the
Digital Leadership extended model is shown in Figure 1. To
successfully create trust, a leader must master all four of the
main factors [22].
Fig. 1. Digital Leadership Extended Model [16]
D. Consequences of Trust in Organizations
Trust in management is important for organizational
performance [23]. Organizational trust can harmonize the
employment relationship, employees’ job satisfaction, and
organizational commitment. Companies with higher level of
employee trust will face comparatively less resistance when
implementing new organizational initiatives [24].
Furthermore, [25] proposes, that within organizational
settings, trust can function to reduce transaction costs. In
addition, it can increase spontaneous sociability among
organizational members and facilitate appropriate forms of
deference to organizational authorities. When the employee
has trust in the top manager, his organizational citizenship
behaviors may benefit the whole organization.
A. Study Development & Research Question
The overriding research question that has guided our
efforts is how digitally developing companies can become
digitally mature.
Our definition of digital maturity is based on the Carnegie
Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) process [26], which is
illustrated in Figure 2.
Fig. 2. CMMI Progression
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The CMMI model breaks organizational maturity into five
levels. For businesses that embrace CMMI, the goal is to raise
the organization to Level 5, the “optimizing” maturity level.
Considering the CMMI model, with inclusion of literature
on digital transformation and direct feedback from leaders, we
have developed an approach that includes 5 digital maturity
levels [27].
Level 5 is the optimized state. Companies operating at
Level 5 have achieved digital maturity and are primarily
concerned with the continuous improvement of the new
business model and business processes. Level 4 is the level
where synergies occur; the company involves competencies
and people from outside the organization.
Level 3 is where leaders’ actions reflect the new, desired
behaviors; their goal is to institutionalize the new model.
Level 2 is where organizations make digital transformation a
strategic imperative, and a transformation strategy is
developed. Level 1 is the initial state, with no concerted efforts
on digital transformation.
The separation of digitally mature and digitally developing
occurs between Level 4 and Level 3. Level 4 companies have
to involve competencies and people from outside the
organization to achieve the external initiation strategies e.g.,
mergers and acquisitions. By contrast, Level 3 organizations
typically concern themselves with improving project
performance with the goal to institutionalize the new model.
In our previous survey with 559 companies, this is where most
digitally developing organizations find themselves today,
struggling with institutionalizing the new model.
With the help of expert interviews, we examine in
particular how senior leaders create and use trust to
successfully transform their company from digitally
developing to digitally mature. Considering this background,
our main research question is: Which leadership dimensions
contribute to digital transformation success? What specific
role does trust play in this context?
B. Interview Guide
The basis for the interview guide is Digital Leadership
extended model (adapted from Covey’s Trust Framework) as
shown in Figure 1. For each category, at least one interview
question with regard to Digital Transformation were defined.
The derived questions were finalized and adapted to our
research question within the research group. The final
Interview guide contains 20 questions in which the aspects of
digital leadership were mapped to Digital leadership extended
model. Each of the questions captures the essence of the
framework’s subdivisions.
The final Interview guide was pretested with 3 industrial
leaders to ensure understandability and can be found in the
C. Data Collection and Interview Procedure
To find suitable interviewees, we used the maximum
variation strategy of purposeful sampling [28]. The variation
factors were geographic representation, size of the company,
gender, and industry representation. For the latter, particular
care was taken not to only select digitally native, but
especially to include more traditional industries (e.g.,
automotive, agriculture, etc.). Furthermore, we chose digital
leaders, who have successfully led digital transformation.
Interviews were carried out between August and October
2020. A brief presentation of the study objectives were shared
with potential interviewees beforehand. A total of 13 semi-
structured interviews were conducted by at least two
researchers, both face-to-face and via videoconference. Each
interview was audio recorded with the interviewee’s consent
and transcribed for data analysis. Participation was voluntary
and not remunerated.
After an introduction about the interview guide, trust
framework and interview procedure, detailed information
about the purpose and the aim of the interview were reiterated.
Afterwards, the questions of the interview guide were asked.
The interviewees were encouraged to comment and to openly
share opinions on the topics. The interviews conducted in
German were translated to English.
D. Sample and Analysis Approach
3 interviewees were women, 10 were men. The interviewees
hold various top-management positions: 7 CEOs, 2 business
unit heads developing digital products (BUH), 2 functional
heads leading corporate functions (FH) and 2 chief digital
officers (CDO). The details of the companies anonymized are
illustrated in Table I.
Together, digital leaders we interviewed represent companies
with combined revenues of more than USD 225 billion and
over 1,175 million employees.
Regarding Data Analysis, an inductive approach was used
to reduce the extensive text data gained from the interviews
[29]. Therefore, the interview transcripts were read several
times to identify and code the categories. The initial Trust
Framework served as inspiration in creating the interview
guide and not as deductive support while analyzing and
coding the interviews. In order to identify leadership traits
specific to digital transformation, conventional content
analysis was used, which is exploratory, “allowing the
categories and names for categories to flow from the data”
The results of the interview analyses are presented below.
After the name and the definition of each category, the
predominant anchor example is given.
A. Leadership Identification
Many positions can and must provide digital leadership in
order to successfully manage digital transformation.
“Over the years, one of the things that I've always shared first and
foremost with people is yes, I am the CEO, and that conveys a certain
amount of responsibility that I have, but I am not the only leader in
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the company. I am a leader among leaders, and I always tell my
leaders, don't ever lose that perspective.” [m, CEO]
B. Strategic Alignment
Digital strategy and the business strategy are inseparable; they
are intertwined.
It's not about having a social media strategy or digital strategy; it's
about having a business and people strategy, of which digital is a
huge piece. Any successful organization with a sustainable business
strategy should have digital embedded throughout.” [m, CEO]
C. Competency Network
All digital leaders depend on partners to implement digital
“It takes a village: you need a good working coalition of business
leaders, technology leaders, and analytic leaders to travel in the
same boat as you." [m, CDO]
D. Trusting Relationships
A trust culture enables employees to perform at their highest
levels, increasing productivity and efficiency.
“Trust is the currency of relationships that are powerful, successful,
and symbiotic. Trust truly unlocks those relationships, which then
unlocks the power of the individual, the power of the team, the power
of the company, and you truly are able to transcend what would be
normally just a transactional relationship.” [m, BUH]
E. Complexity Management
Digital transformation is complexity management.
“Organizations must manage highly intertwined infrastructures,
orchestrate a multiplicity of vendors, and consider many solutions.
There is no silver bullet digital strategy; one-size does not work, but
there are some proven approaches. You simply have to embrace and
manage against this complexity.[m, BUH]
F. Boundary Spanners
Leaders of Digital Transformation, particularly CDO’s,
need to be boundary spanners.
"You need people who understand the business strategy—the ones
who are conversant in the business vocabulary and are able to talk
business strategy with the business folks. They are able to reflect on
how digital can be a key lever for advancing the business strategy
then turn around and convert that knowledge into a coherent
execution plan. These people need to be boundary spanners, who
work seamlessly across business functions." [m, CDO]
G. Cloud First
Cloud first is the predominant digital strategy.
„Companies that embrace an intentional digital strategy, including
a cloud first strategy, will achieve nimbleness and an agility of
response when new business opportunities are identified.“ [m, CDO]
H. Expectation Management
A lot of companies have started, for example, AI initiatives,
but the output-orientated utilization is key.
“Most executives thought they would be further along with their AI
initiatives than they are by now. It seems that an inordinate number
of projects have not been delivering the value they had expected -
they either get stuck in experimentation or take significantly longer
to put into production than they had anticipated” [w, CDO]
I. People Focus
The competencies and qualities of company’s employees
are crucial for the success of digital transformation.
“It's all about choosing the right people for the company. New
employees must certainly have a high affinity with what the company
does, and in particular with the topics of digitization and its
implementation. You should take the opportunity to find employees
who are better than you are at what they do. This is the only way for
a company to actually grow beyond itself.” [w, CEO]
J. Digital Leadership Dimensions
The presented key dimensions are summarized and
conceptually illustrated in Figure 3.
Fig. 3. Conceptual illustration of key dimensions
We conceptualize Digital Leadership Dimensions as a
moderator for digitally developing companies trying to
become digitally mature.
In this section, we discuss the implications of each dimension
presented in the result section. Contiguous questions are
Leadership identification is important for digital
transformation success because strategic decisions need to
find their counterpart at the operational level. This requires the
consistent involvement of leaders at all levels as well as the
integration and orchestration of employees in these
organizations. The interviewees emphasized that, in addition
to top-down commitment, digital transformation also requires
a very clear commitment on the part of the employees to
successfully shape and implement the change. A question that
therefore arises: How can employees be motivated to take
responsibility for identifying themselves as leaders in the
digital transformation process? The digital leader's
willingness to create such leadership roles at all levels of the
company shows a true willingness to place a high level of trust
in their employees.
Strategic alignment shows the importance of C-Suite
commitment in digital transformation. It is also evident that
this factor has a strong trust-building relation to Integrity (for
instance, “walking the talk”). If the business and digital
strategies indeed point in the same direction, it is much easier
to follow this path as a leader.
According to consistency theory, which has been shown to
be of importance in digital transformation [31], it is vital to
note that digital strategies are not going to be successful on a
standalone basis. The purpose of a digital transformation is to
positively change value creation processes by means of digital
technologies [3]. Therefore, the central question to raise is:
What is the core company strategy and how can the digital
strategy be a lever to accelerate and augment that strategy?
A diverse network of contacts and expertise is essential for
a digital leader. This partnership can range from external
business partners to other leaders within the company. The
phrase “it takes a village”, as it was quoted, is part of the
African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child". This means
the entire community of people must interact with the children
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for them to experience, and grow, in a safe and healthy
The same is true for any digital transformation. A senior
leadership team certainly has the power and influence to drive
transformation across the entire organization. However, it is
important to cultivate other informal networks across the
company, across all levels, to positively influence digital
transformation initiatives.
This factor reflects our definition of digital maturity. Level
4 precisely defines this aspect—competencies and people
outside the company are involved. A cross-company and
interdisciplinary exchange on central topics of digital
transformation should therefore be sought by any digital
leader. Which capabilities are inside a company’s competence
network to successfully lead a digital transformation? How
can a company gain diverse input into this competence
The next factor—Trusting Relationships—reflects the
importance of trust in personal working relationships. In the
interviews, it was repeatedly emphasized how important it is
for there to be a harmonious and trusting relationship both
between leaders and among employees themselves. Stephen
M.R. Covey's principles of interpersonal communication thus
take on significance in the context of digital transformation.
As mentioned in II, high trust levels have a direct impact on
business performance, including digital transformation. A
trust culture enables leaders and their employees to perform at
their highest levels, increasing productivity and efficiency.
Therefore, a good question to ask is: Which trust-promoting
measures can be implemented within the company and your
working relationships?
Complexity plays a crucial role for almost every company,
and its management is a central responsibility of a digital
leader. Organizations that report high levels of complexity are
poor at creating value and their employees struggle with
complexity and become easily frustrated [32]. Since
employees are an essential part of digital transformation
success, clarifying accountabilities and processes throughout
the whole organization is the answer to reducing complexity.
Other elements of complexity leadership, such as honest,
dissonant dialogs and openness to bottom-up innovations [33],
can also contribute. The latter factor has emerged as
particularly important in the context of digital transformation
[31]. Ideally, measures of digital transformation ensure that
complexity is reduced, thus enabling increased value creation.
Which complexities can be solved in a company through
digital technologies? Which aspects of classical complexity
leadership can be enhanced by digital technologies?
Boundary spanners are primarily responsible for linking
and integrating internal activities [34]. In addition to
possessing significant technical competencies, especially
CDOs need the ability and patience to work across business
functions. Boundary spanners enjoy trust from different
business functions and support knowledge transfer [35]. This
is essential to exploit new knowledge which also helps
manage complexity. Also, leaders in middle management
positions can ensure that competencies are exchanged, and
synergies are generated through boundary-crossing
networking. How can boundary spanning within the company
be ensured on a regular basis?
There is no single digital technology (IoT, Digital Twins,
AI, etc.) that will fit every digital strategy. The best
combination of technology and tools for a given organization
will vary from one vision to another. Yet it is well established
that implementing Cloud technology is a prerequisite for how
a business model can scale digitally. It has been more than a
decade since the first corporate experiments with external
cloud platforms, and the verdict is long in on their business
value. Companies that adopt the cloud well bring new
capabilities to market more quickly, innovate more easily, and
scale more efficiently—while also reducing technology risk
[36]. The question then is how can companies best implement
and utilize a “cloud first” approach effectively??
Management’s expectations may be set too high; not all
employees may be able to be reskilled and fear the
consequence of being laid off. Even new analytical
technologies, like AI, are still full of hype and are being
accused of generating biased results [37]. It is important to
understand that, especially for large companies, digital
transformation most of the time brings delayed results. To
achieve faster results in the AI sector, [38] recommends a
radical solution: kill the proof of concept and go right to scale.
It is important to ask how old approaches can be rewritten
with a focus on solving a problem.
People Focus revolves around skills such as engaging,
listening, talking openly and honestly your employees. While
it is likely necessary to bring in new experience and
knowledge from outside, it is important to reskill and upskill
your current employees to close the digital skill gap. Invest in
training them on the skills needed for implementing digital
operating models. Reallocate digital talent among business
units and functions based on your strategy. In this context, it
is crucial to seek feedback from employees on the training
measures as well. In a survey by IBM Business Value, 74% of
executives surveyed believe they have been helping their
employees learn the skills needed to work in a new way; just
38% of employees surveyed agree. 80% of executives
surveyed say that they are supporting the physical and
emotional health of their workforce, while just 46% of
employees surveyed feel that support [39]. Understanding
what one’s employees are thinking and integrating their
feedback back into the strategy is essential.
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It is widely recognized that leaders, with their specific
skills and attributes, have a significant and essential influence
on the success of the digital transformation of their
organization. Our research confirms that digital leadership is
not just dependent on the formal legitimacy and role of a
leader. One of our key findings is that a leader's success seems
to be completely independent of his or her formal role. Digital
leaders can come from any place in the organization—if they
are empowered by the Board of Directors and they are
committed to developing a true culture of trust. With the 9
dimensions we discussed above, leaders will be able to
overcome the main barriers that jeopardize the success of their
transformation efforts. This is how digital leaders can earn
their success.
The second important insight from our research is that
Digital Leaders exist in every industry and every size
organization and that they follow similar principles. While
they do not always receive the attention that those from high-
flying technology companies do (e.g., Amazon, Microsoft,, etc.), their contributions for their company,
industry and society are every bit as impressive. This is what
we had anticipated to find before we conducted our study and
we see this as a strong indicator that Digital Transformation is
continuing to evolve broadly across all industries.
We also find that that successful digital leadership applies
to both genders. The female leaders we interviewed—while a
small population—are equally successful in their efforts as
their male counterparts.
The fourth and certainly rather overarching insight we
were able to gain is that the questionnaire based on a profound
frame of reference and especially the serious engagement with
the questions can be a strong impulse for leaders to critically
reflect on themselves and their own behavior. This profound
confrontation with trust can alone and in its own represent a
decisive step towards significantly improving the success of
the digital transformation in any organization.
The research questions Which leadership dimensions
[30] contribute to digital transformation success? What
specific role does trust play in this context?” are partly
answered but cannot be covered conclusively with qualitative
interviews. Further research should focus on quantitative
studies to investigate the aspects found in this study, its
intercorrelations, and their relevance depending on different
company demographics. To strengthen these quantitative
studies, additional digital leaders, ideally more women, from
other industry sectors should be interviewed and analyzed.
Are there industry-specific aspects of trust that are less
significant in other industries? Is it possible to detect a
significant, statistical effect between the categories revealed
and digital maturity across industries? In addition, the factors
found could be used to nuance existing theoretical
frameworks on digital transformation.
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978-1-7281-3401-7/18/$31.00 2021 IEEE International Conference on Engineering,
©2021 IEEE Technology and Innovation (ICE/ITMC)
guide for companies engaged in Digital
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978-1-7281-3401-7/18/$31.00 2021 IEEE International Conference on Engineering,
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Appendix 1: Interview Guide
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Full-text available
Trust: The Winning Formula for Digital Leaders is intended to help you become a more successful digital leader—and maybe a better person (more about this at the end). We know you are thinking, I am not the CEO, or even the Chief Digital Officer, I just work in the ranks of my organization, so how can this book help me? Due to a set of existential threats, like the global pandemic, all businesses are frantically trying to remake themselves into being digital businesses. Digital transformation is taking the world by storm—and everyone in the organization is, or will be, touched by it. We first studied the phenomenon of digital transformation through an extensive survey of global organizations. Called the Patterns of Digitization, the survey examined every aspect of how digital transformation is implemented. We looked at over 500 companies' business strategies, resource allocation, design practices, and looked at their “softer” side, like how the leaders actually communicate with employees. What we learned from this is—that no matter what type and size company you are, you fall into two different camps. Organizations are either "Digitally Developing" (the far majority), or they are "Digitally Mature". Through this analysis, we learned something else very important—Digitally Mature organizations are managed differently. Their leaders "align human & financial resources with the strategy", "create a collaborative, and nimble development environment", "promote open & transparent communication", and initiate other important activities. At the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation, we presented Digital Leadership: Character and Competency differentiates Digitally Mature Organizations Leaders. Through it we show how the character and competency of these leaders (the foundations of trust) help set them and their organizations apart. Our intention was not to laud Digitally Mature leaders, as it was to help lagging companies grasp what is truly involved in implementing a digital transformation and what they need to do to catch up. This has been our "modus operandi" from the beginning. But just exhorting digital leaders to show more character and demonstrate their competency with digital technologies, is still not enough. To really help them (read you) we needed to go deeper. The jewel of this book is its in-depth interviews with proven, successful digital leaders. And we didn’t stop with just exploring their character and competency, we asked them "how specifically" they build trust through their intentions, integrity, capabilities and results. Of course, these are the “four core values” of Stephen M.R. Covey's Speed of Trust framework and the basis of the book’s 20-question Interview Guide. Now, enjoy the book and see for yourselves how these leaders rely on these very humancentric actions—along with the trust and respect of their people—to lead very aggressive and very complex digital transformations. Endorsed by Stephen M.R. Covey, The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything. Foreword by Gerald C. Kane, Author of The Technology Fallacy: How People are The Real Key to Digital Transformation Digital Leaders Included in the Book Authors take a deep dive into the actions of successful digital leaders. They built an extensive interview guide, based on Stephen M.R. Covey's now famous Speed of Trust model, and conducted 1:1 interviews with the following global digital leaders: Chuck Sykes (CEO, Sykes Enterprises), Andera Gadeib (CEO, Dialego), Larry Blue (CEO, Bell & Howell), Robert Kallenberg (Director of Strategy and Organization, Porsche AG), Brandon Batten (Owner &Operator, Flying Farmer LLC), Marc Schlichtner (Principal Key Expert, Product, Portfolio & Innovation Management, Siemens Healthineers), Seth Kaufman (President & CEO, Moët Hennessy North America), Deborah Leff (former Global Leader andIndustry CTO of Data Science and AI, IBM), Krishna Cheriath (VP, Head of Digital, Data and Analytics, Zoetis Inc.), Dominik Schlicht (CEO, Talbot New Energy AG), Craig Melrose (Executive Vice President, Digital Transformation Solutions, PTC), Dagmar Wirtz (CEO, 3WIN), and Rahul C. Basole (Managing Director and Global Lead for Visual Data Science, Accenture AI). Visit Amazon Link:
Full-text available
Managing projects in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) undergoes a digital transformation as novel technologies emerge. Digital technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), push this transformation. Innovation happens in firms and project-based organisations where agents shape how digital technologies are adopted and implemented. This study offers insights into agents of digital innovation, by conducting engaged scholarship within the case study of one large international multi-disciplinary consultancy. The study first builds upon qualitative data collected by interviewing digital agents. Additional data, for triangulation and research validation, were collected from an internal online platform. The analysis revealed a disconnect between digital agents’ technical background, skills and their managerial routines. These individuals crossed professional, hierarchical and organisational boundaries, showed multi-membership and held fluid identities. This has implications for the interfaces between organisational behaviour and projects. The study concludes with suggestions for AEC organisations to reap the benefits of digitalisation.
Full-text available
Overview: Digital transformation is reshaping entire segments and industries: communications, retail, and, increasingly, health care, medicine, agriculture, and manufacturing. While a few companies reach front-runner status, most seem to lag. Digital transformation is a top concern of senior leaders worldwide and motivated the development of this study. This article describes the results of the Patterns of Digitization survey designed to assess how companies are implementing digital transformation. The survey covers the various strategies companies employ, the technologies they invest in, and, in particular, the actions they take to overcome the organizational resistance that is common in most large-scale transformations. We highlight important actions all companies are taking to digitally transform their businesses and the differentiated actions of digitally mature organizations. The insights gleaned from the study should help lagging companies understand what is involved in implementing a digital transformation and what they need to do to catch up.
Full-text available
There is an extensive literature on complexity theory authored by natural scientists writing about research fields in which they are themselves active. There is also a growing literature that draws on this work to address leadership concerns and practices, but whose authors are experienced in leadership education rather than in the substantive scientific fields whose findings they report and interpret. We shall refer to this arena as complexity leadership. The initial burst of enthusiasm for complexity management and leadership in the 1990s, as a conceptual framework for informing organisational practice, has not been sustained at its early intensity. However, the field continues to attract interest. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a discussion of the validity and significance of these ideas for the leadership of organisations. We enable this through a review of the literature, a critique, and some recommendations. The type of questions which we will be raising are: (1) What failings in current leadership theory or practice are claimed to be corrected? (2) How novel, and how plausible, are the leadership prescriptions which are derived from complexity theory? (3) Does complexity theory provide scientific authority for these prescriptions? We find a paradox in the complexity leadership message which, on the one hand, claims to be rooted in complexity theory, but at the same time, rejects key denominators of the hard sciences. Finally, we offer suggestions on how to constructively handle the apparent paradox.
Conference Paper
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This article describes the results of a survey designed to assess how companies are implementing digital transformation, including the various strategies they employ and the actions they take to achieve large-scale transformations. While a few companies seem to reach front-runner status, the majority seem to lag behind. This phenomenon is a top concern of boardrooms worldwide and motivated the development of this study. To help these organizations, we highlight differentiated strategic principles and characteristics of the companies’ design processes digitally mature companies undertake to transform their businesses. These insights should help lagging companies understand what is involved in implementing a digital transformation and what they need to do to enforce this transformation.
Full-text available
Leadership als zentraler Führungskompetenz im Sinne von ,,am System/Geschäftsmodell arbeiten“ kommt im ,,digitalen Zeitalter“ eine besondere Bedeutung zu, da der rasante technologische Wandel der Digitalisierung alle Lebensbereiche durchdringt und Unternehmen zu umfassenden Transformationsprozessen zwingt. Eine strategische, alle Unternehmensbereiche konsequent durchdringende Positionierung der Informationstechnologie (IT) als Business Enabler und Existenzfaktor ist von zentraler Wichtigkeit. Unternehmenskulturelle Konflikte mit der Positionierung anderer betrieblicher Organisations- und Funktionseinheiten sind dabei unausweichlich. Tradierte Managementmethoden stehen auf dem Prüfstand, die Herausforderungen der ,,digitalen Gesellschaftsform“ werden Führungskräfte mit neuen Kompetenzen und grundlegend veränderte Unternehmenskulturen erfordern.
Full-text available
Rapid and pervasive digitization of innovation processes and outcomes has upended extant theories on innovation management by calling into question fundamental assumptions about the definitional boundaries for innovation, agency for innovation, and the relationship between innovation processes and outcomes. There is a critical need for novel theorizing on digital innovation management that does not rely on such assumptions and draws on the rich and rapidly emerging research on digital technologies. We offer suggestions for such theorizing in the form of four new theorizing logics, or elements, that are likely to be valuable in constructing more accurate explanations of innovation processes and outcomes in an increasingly digital world. These logics can open new avenues for researchers to contribute to this important area. Our suggestions in this paper, coupled with the six research notes included in the special issue on digital innovation management, seek to offer a broader foundation for reinventing innovation management research in a digital world.
Full-text available
Researchers for decades have believed that trust increases performance, but empirical evidence of this has been sparse. This study investigates the relationship between an employee’s trust in the plant manager and in the top management team with the employee’s in-role performance and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB). Results support a fully mediated model in which trust in both management referents was positively related to focus of attention, which, in turn, was positively related to performance. The results raise questions about appropriate levels of analysis for outcome variables. Trust is mandatory for optimization of a system.... Without trust, each component will protect its own immediate interests to its own long-term detriment, and to the detriment of the entire system.- W. Edwards Deming (1994) Over three decades ago, Argyris (1964) proposed that trust in management is important for organizational performance. Recognition of the importance of trust in organizational relationships has grown rapidly in recent years, evidenced by a large number of publications on the topic addressing both academic and practitioner audiences (e.g., Annison & Wilford, 1998; Fukuyama, 1995; Mishra, 1996; Shaw, 1997). In spite of this interest, difficulties in defining and operationalizing trust have hampered the empirical study of its relationship with performance.
Extant literature has increased our understanding of specific aspects of digital transformation, however we lack a comprehensive portrait of its nature and implications. Through a review of 282 works, we inductively build a framework of digital transformation articulated across eight building blocks. Our framework foregrounds digital transformation as a process where digital technologies create disruptions triggering strategic responses from organizations that seek to alter their value creation paths while managing the structural changes and organizational barriers that affect the positive and negative outcomes of this process. Building on this framework, we elaborate a research agenda that proposes [1] examining the role of dynamic capabilities, and [2] accounting for ethical issues as important avenues for future strategic IS research on digital transformation.