• No results found

The influence of leadership actions on the execution of digital transformation in higher education

N/A
N/A
Protected

Academic year: 2023

Share "The influence of leadership actions on the execution of digital transformation in higher education"

Copied!
53
0
0

Bezig met laden.... (Bekijk nu de volledige tekst)

Hele tekst

(1)

The influence of leadership actions on the execution of digital transformation in higher education

Name: Thimo Janssen Student number: 11569166 Date: 25th June 2021

Qualification: MSc. in Business Administration – Digital Business Track Institution: Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam EBEC approval number: 20210523050551

Supervisor: dr. M. A. (Rick) Hollen

(2)

Statement of originality

This document is written by Student Thimo Janssen who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.

I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.

The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.

(3)

Table of contents

Abstract ... 5

1. Introduction ... 6

1.1. Academic relevance ... 8

1.2. Managerial relevance ... 9

1.3. Thesis structure ... 10

2. Literature review ... 11

2.1. Leadership ... 11

2.1.1. Transactional leadership ... 12

2.1.2. Transformational leadership ... 13

2.1.3. Leadership actions ... 14

2.2. Practices associated with the execution of digital transformation ... 15

3. Methodology ... 18

3.1. Case selection... 19

3.2. Data collection ... 20

3.3. Data analysis ... 23

4. Findings ... 25

4.1. The scanning practice is carried out most ... 27

4.2. Employee autonomy is the primary facilitator... 29

4.3. A low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor ... 30

5. Discussion... 33

5.1. Assessment of the findings ... 34

5.1.1. The scanning practice and the innovation process ... 34

5.1.2. Employee autonomy and intrapreneurship ... 35

5.1.3. A low level of commitment and organizational change ... 37

5.2. Theoretical contributions ... 39

5.3. Managerial implications... 41

(4)

5.4. Limitations and future research ... 41

6. Conclusion ... 43

References ... 44

Appendix A ... 49

Appendix B ... 51

(5)

Acknowledgements

Most importantly, I would like to extend my gratitude to my thesis supervisor, Rick Hollen, for the guidance that he provided during the thesis process.

In addition, I would like to thank the University of Applied Sciences in Suriname for providing me with an internship opportunity; and therefore, the ability to reach the interviewees that were required in order to make this research possible.

Finally, I would like to thank said interviewees for the time and knowledge they made available.

It all served as a means to increase my interest in the field of digital transformation.

(6)

Abstract

While a large body of academic literature has been dedicated to understanding the formation of digital transformation strategies, solely a small portion of academic literature has been dedicated to understanding the practices carried out by organizational actors during the execution of digital transformation strategies, i.e., the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. In this thesis, the actions of leaders, i.e., leadership actions, are claimed to have an influence on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Thus, this research assesses the influence of leadership actions on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. This phenomenon was explored in the empirical context of the higher education industry using a mix of both

inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Assessment of the findings identified after thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted for a single, embedded case study reveals that leaders must ensure that (a) employee autonomy is able to be cultivated in order to facilitate the ability of followers to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital

transformation, and (b) followers commit to the digital transformation strategy in order to counter the inhibiting influence that a low level of commitment has on the ability of followers to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

(7)

1. Introduction

“Perhaps ironically, digital transformation, and digital strategy, are more about people than anything else.”

Gobble (2018, p. 68)

In recent years, organizations from all across the globe have undergone some form of digital transformation. Some of said organizations were able to successfully undergo digital transformation, while others failed to do so. For example, LaPresse, a French-language daily, was able to overcome the decline in print newspaper readership by becoming the world’s first daily newspaper to become fully digital (Grange et al., 2018). In contrast, General Electric, an American multinational conglomerate, was unable to realize its vision of transforming from a firm that sells hardware to a firm that sells software (Austin & Pelow, 2019). Ultimately, the motivating premise that underlies digital transformation is that, when also addressing the corresponding underlying challenges, an organization is able to gain or maintain a sustainable competitive advantage through digital transformation (Vial, 2019).

Despite the potential value of digital transformation being evident, a growing body of evidence suggests that organizations often fail to successfully undergo digital transformation. As a matter of fact, estimates of digital transformation failure ranges from 66% to 84% (Libert et al., 2016). Granted this high rate of failure, a large body of academic literature has been dedicated to understanding the formation of digital transformation strategies, i.e., when and how to undergo digital transformation (e.g., Fitzgerald et al., 2014; Matt et al., 2015; Schallmo et al., 2017; Furr

& Shipilov, 2019), which has generated significant insights. For example, the implementation of new or improved technologies has merely a small impact on the success of digital

transformation; the alignment of organizational processes with said new or improved

technologies is more impactful (Fitzgerald et al., 2014; Matt et al., 2015; Furr & Shipilov, 2019).

While a large body of academic literature has been dedicated to understanding the formation of digital transformation strategies, solely a small portion of academic literature has been dedicated to understanding the practices carried out by organizational actors during the execution of digital transformation strategies, i.e., the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (e.g., Yeow, 2017; Vartiainen, 2020). For example, Vial (2019) solely

(8)

found one academic article regarding the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation after conducting a meta-analysis on digital transformation (Yeow, 2017). Thus, Vial (2019) suggested future researchers to focus on understanding the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

Although some researchers attempted to further understand the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (e.g., Vartiainen, 2020), academic understanding of said practices is yet incomplete, and some fundamental pieces are missing. In the aforementioned article found by Vial (2019), Yeow et al. (2018) assessed the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation by conducting a case study on an organization operating in the clothing industry. Ultimately, Yeow et al. (2018) urged future researchers to assess the extent to which the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation differ in other industry settings. This suggests that contextual factors could potentially influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Thus, this research builds upon the research of Yeow et al. (2018) by assessing the extent to which a certain

contextual factor influences the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

While literature examining contextual factors that influence the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation does not exist; literature examining contextual factors that influence digital transformation in general does exist. Within the literature examining contextual factors that influence digital transformation in general, one contextual factor stands out: the actions of leaders, i.e., leadership actions (e.g., Fitzgerald et al., 2014; Matt et al., 2015; Galunic, 2017; Khanagha et al., 2018; Weill & Woerner, 2018; Vial, 2019). Leadership actions have a significant influence on digital transformation due to leaders being the stakeholders of a digital transformation that propose the most important digital transformation initiatives (Fitzgerald et al., 2014). For example, leaders propose digital transformation initiatives regarding (a) the pathway of the digital transformation, and (b) the extent of aggressiveness by which said pathway is executed (Weill & Woerner, 2018). Thus, as leadership actions significantly

influence digital transformation in general, reason to believe that leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is

present. In sum, this forms the research question: “To which extent do leadership actions

(9)

influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation?”

1.1. Academic relevance

The research question is assessed in the empirical context of the higher education

industry. By assessing the research question, empirical insights on the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation are generated. First, this research contributes to strategy literature as further understanding the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation contributes to further understanding the differences between the execution of digital transformation strategies and the execution of other strategies. For example, differences between the execution of digital transformation strategies and the execution of other strategies are present even if the execution of digital transformation strategies is compared to the execution of strategies in closely related fields, e.g., information technology. More specifically, the practices associated with the

execution of digital transformation strategies primarily regard knowledge leveraging, while the practices associated with the execution of information technology strategies primarily regard information processing (e.g., Matt et al. 2015). Thus, this research contributes to strategy

literature as the generated empirical insights can be used in strategy literature to contextualize the differences between the execution of digital transformation strategies and the execution of other strategies.

Second, this research contributes to digital transformation literature as further

understanding the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation contributes to further filling the academic gap in digital transformation literature that arose due to solely a small portion of digital transformation literature being dedicated to understanding said practices.

This academic gap is problematic as it results in the inability to establish a link between the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation and digital transformation strategies during research on digital transformation (e.g. Vial, 2019).

Third, this research contributes to leadership literature as the research question is assessed in the empirical context of the higher education industry, which is an industry setting where at leadership is important. More specifically, assuming that leadership is inherent to roles

(10)

(Bernstein et al., 2016), there exist multiple roles that are characterized as leaders in the higher education industry (e.g., Tolbert, 1985; Juntrasook, 2014). For example, the director of

admissions and the director of alumni relations are both roles that are characterized as leaders in the higher education industry. In modern organizations, the role with the highest level of

autonomy and accountability is most important as modern organizations significantly depend on the contribution of top management (Chen et al., 2011). However, the role with the highest level of autonomy and accountability is ambiguous in the higher education industry. Higher education institutions are often built out of various individual faculties that each possess inherent

epistemologies, working patterns, and protocols for producing output (Trowler, 2001). The role with the highest level of autonomy and accountability in a faculty is the dean of said faculty (Andrews, 2000). However, although the role with the highest level of autonomy and accountability in a faculty is the dean of said faculty, a higher education institution yet has multiple deans if said higher education institution is built out of various individual faculties (e.g., Trowler, 2001). Thus, leadership is important in the higher education industry as the role with the highest level of autonomy and accountability is ambiguous in the higher education industry.

In sum, by assessing the research question, empirical insights on the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation are generated. Thus, this research is academically relevant as it contributes to (a) strategy literature, (b) digital transformation literature, and (c) leadership literature.

1.2. Managerial relevance

Due to developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations had to, or yet have to, align its strategies and innovations according to the “new normal”, which is a situation where resources are scarce and the business landscape changes daily (Castro, 2020). As digital

solutions are central in aligning strategies and innovations according to the “new normal”

(Castro, 2020), organizations willing to optimally align its strategies and innovations according to the “new normal” underwent, are undergoing, or will undergo digital transformation.

Although this trend of digital transformation does not solely apply to one specific industry, it has been especially evident in the higher education industry (e.g., Adedoyin & Soykan, 2020; Iivari et al., 2020; Toquero, 2020). Thus, assessing the research question in the empirical context of the

(11)

higher education industry is managerially relevant as the higher education industry contains a large number of organizations that are undergoing, or will undergo digital transformation, where at the findings of this research could be managerially applied. In sum, this research is both academically relevant and managerially relevant.

1.3. Thesis structure

First, theoretical light is shed on the two key concepts underpinning this research:

leadership, and the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Regarding leadership, theoretical light is shed on the Full Range Leadership Theory (Bass, 1985), and the components of the nine-factor model of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire that measures the Full Range Leadership Theory (e.g., Antonakis et al., 2003; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008;

Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). Regarding the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, Yeow et al. (2018) established and defined eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation based on dynamic capabilities. Thus, theoretical light is shed on the (a) value of building dynamic capabilities when undergoing digital transformation (e.g.

Yeow et al., 2018; Vial, 2019; Warner & Wäger, 2019), (b) ability to establish and define practices associated with the execution of digital transformation based on dynamic capabilities (Teece, 2007; Teece, 2014), and (c) the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation established and defined by Yeow et al. (2018).

Second, through conduction of a single, embedded case study, an empirical contribution is made by assessing the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation in the empirical context of the higher education industry. Assessment of the findings identified after thematic analysis of semi- structured interviews conducted for said case study reveals that leaders must ensure that (a) employee autonomy is able to be cultivated in order to facilitate the ability of followers to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, and (b) followers commit to the digital transformation strategy in order to counter the inhibiting influence that a low level of commitment has on the ability of followers to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

(12)

This thesis commences with a literature review section, where relevant literature on (a) leadership, and (b) the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is reviewed. Then, this thesis transitions into the methodology section, where the used qualitative research method is rationalized and described. Next, this thesis transitions into the findings section, where the findings of the research are presented. Afterwards, this thesis transitions into a discussion section, where said findings are synthesized, and additionally the limitations of this research and suggestions for future research are presented. Finally, this thesis ends with a conclusion section, where the key points of the research are summarized.

2. Literature review

2.1. Leadership

Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept (e.g., Winston & Patterson, 2006;

Vaccaro et al., 2012; Bernstein et al., 2016; Weill & Woerner, 2018). the Full Range Leadership Theory is an important approach to leadership theory in academic literature, of which the

importance is evident through 8169 citations (Semantic Scholar, 2021) of Bass’ (1985) article that introduced the theory. It divides leadership into three types: (a) transactional leadership, (b) transformational leadership, and (c) laissez-faire leadership (e.g., Bass, 1985; Vaccaro et al., 2012; Volberda et al., 2018). In this research, laissez-faire leadership is disregarded as it is characterized by the absence of leadership actions, and this research assumes the presence of leadership actions.

The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire divides each of the aforementioned types of leadership into components (e.g., Antonakis et al., 2003; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008; Muenjohn

& Armstrong, 2008). Over the years, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire has had multiple revisions in order to improve matchmaking between type of leadership and components

(Antonakis et al., 2003; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008). Muenjohn & Armstrong (2008) suggest that the nine-factor model of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire is statistically best at matchmaking between components and the leadership types used in this research, i.e.,

transactional leadership or transformational leadership. Thus, the components of the nine-factor

(13)

model of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire are used to examine transactional leadership and transformational leadership in this literature review.

2.1.1. Transactional leadership

The nine-factor model of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire divides transactional leadership into three components: contingent reward, passive management by exception, and active management by exception (e.g., Antonakis et al., 2003; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008;

Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008).

Contingent reward regards the extent to which the leader establishes constructive transactions with the followers (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). The leader clarifies role and task requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003). The followers are rewarded with materialistic or psychological rewards for fulfillment of said role and task requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003;

Vaccaro et al., 2012); and in contrast, are punished with threats and disciplining for non-

fulfillment of said role and task requirements. (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). Thus, contingent reward regards the constructive transactions from the leader to the followers, where rewards are given for fulfillment of role and task requirements, and punishment is given for the non-

fulfillment of role and task requirements.

Active management by exception regards the extent to which the leader monitors for non- fulfilment of role and task requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003). Although the leader could reactively intervene, i.e., after non-fulfillment of role and task requirements, active management by exception regards proactive intervention, i.e., before non-fulfillment of role and task

requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003; Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008). Thus, active management by exception is the extent to which the leader proactively monitors for non-fulfillment of role and task requirements by the followers.

Passive management by exception also regards the extent to which the leader monitors for non-fulfilment of role and task requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003; Muenjohn &

Armstrong, 2008). Although the leaders could proactively intervene, i.e., before the non- fulfillment of role and task requirements, passive management by exception regards reactive intervention, i.e., after non-fulfillment of role and task requirements (Antonakis et al., 2003;

Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008). Thus, passive management by

(14)

exception is the opposite of active management by exception; and therefore, is the extent to which the leader reactively monitors for non-fulfillment of role and task requirements by the followers.

In sum, transactional leadership regards leadership through authority (Vaccaro et al., 2012). Transactional leaders pursue compliance by (a) rewarding followers for the fulfillment of role and task requirements, and (b) punishing followers for the non-fulfillment of role and task requirements. In addition, transactional leaders proactively and reactively monitor for non- fulfillment of role and task requirements by the followers.

2.1.2. Transformational leadership

The nine-factor model of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire divides

transformational leadership into four components: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration (e.g., Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008;

Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008).

Idealized influence regards the extent to which the leader is perceived as a role model (Antonakis et al., 2003). The leader exhibits perseverance and self-confidence; and therefore, is perceived as a role model by the followers (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). The leader is focused on higher-order ideals and translates said higher-order ideals into a clear vision that can be communicated to the followers (Antonakis et al., 2003). Thus, idealized influence is the extent to which the leader is perceived as a role model by the followers by translating higher-order ideals into a clear vision that can be communicated to the followers.

Inspirational motivation regards the extent to which the leader motivates the followers (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). The leader has an optimistic and ambitious view of the future (Antonakis et al., 2003). The followers are motivated through communication of said view in a manner that provides the followers with tasks that are meaningful and challenging (Antonakis et al., 2003; Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). Thus, inspirational motivation is the extent to which the leader motivates the followers by providing the followers with tasks that are meaningful and challenging.

Intellectual stimulation regards the extent to which the leader stimulates innovation and creativity in the followers (Antonakis et al., 2003). The leader challenges the solutions that

(15)

followers have for solving complex problems (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008). Consequently, followers have to come up with more innovative and creative solutions to said problems

(Antonakis et al., 2003). Thus, intellectual stimulation is the extent to which the leader stimulates innovation and creativity in the followers by challenging the followers to come up with

innovative and creative solutions to complex problems.

Individualized consideration regards the extent to which the leader pays attention to the needs for achievement and growth of each individual follower (Antonakis et al., 2003; Muenjohn

& Armstrong, 2008). The leader spends time teaching and mentoring followers on individual basis (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2008); and therefore, facilitates self-development in the followers (Antonakis et al., 2003). Ultimately, this results in increased follower satisfaction (Antonakis et al., 2003). Thus, individualized consideration is the extent to which the leader pays attention to the needs for achievement and growth of an individual follower by assuming the position of mentor to an individual follower.

In sum, transformational leadership regards leadership through understanding (Vaccaro et al., 2012). Transformational leaders (a) are perceived as a role models by the followers through translation of higher-order ideals into a clear vision that can be communicated to the followers, (b) motivate the followers by providing the followers with tasks that are meaningful and

challenging, (c) stimulate innovation and creativity in the followers by challenging the followers to come up with innovative and creative solutions to complex problems, and (d) pay attention to the needs for achievement and growth of an individual follower by assuming the position of mentor to an individual follower.

2.1.3. Leadership actions

The components of transactional leadership and transformational leadership describe certain actions carried out by leaders. For example, one could say that leaders carry out actions that make them inherently contingent award, i.e., said leaders establish constructive transactions with the followers. Thus, the descriptions of the components of transactional leadership and transformational leadership are used as a base to extract leadership actions. In sum, an overview of the leadership actions that are used in this research is presented in Table 1.

(16)

Table 1

Overview of the leadership actions that are extracted based on the components of transactional leadership and transformational leadership

Type Component Action

Transactional leadership

Contingent reward The leader establishes constructive transactions with the followers

Active management by exception

The leader proactively monitors for non-fulfillment of role and task requirements by the followers Passive management

by exception

The leader reactively monitors for non-fulfillment of role and task requirements by the followers Transformational

leadership

Idealized influence The leader translates higher-order ideals into a clear vision that can be communicated to the followers.

Inspirational motivation

The leader motivates the followers

Intellectual stimulation

The leader stimulates innovation and creativity in the followers

Individualized consideration

The leader pays attention to the needs for

achievement and growth of each individual follower

2.2. Practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Based on semantic analysis of existing definitions, digital transformation is defined as “a process that aims to improve an entity by triggering significant changes to its properties through combinations of information, computing, communication, and connectivity technologies” (Vial, 2019, p. 121). Digital transformation can be important to deal with disruptive technologies, which are “technologies […] which disrupt an established trajectory of performance

improvement, or redefine what performance means” (Christensen & Bower, 1996, p. 202).

Organizations are under constant threat of disruptive technologies (e.g., Galunic 2017; Furr &

Shipilov, 2019; Vial, 2019; Warner & Wäger, 2019). As a matter of fact, after conducting

(17)

research on disruptive technologies from the perspective of organizations across various industries, Weill & Woerner (2015) found that respondents from all participating organizations reported being under high threat of disruptive technologies. Flavin (2012) suggests that higher education institutions are also under high threat of disruptive technologies. Higher education institutions use technologies for facilitating learning (Fathema et al., 2015). Although higher education institutions solely use a small number of technologies for facilitating learning, the ability of students to learn is inhibited if said technologies are disrupted (Flavin, 2012).

Fortunately, dealing with the threat of disruptive technologies is not necessarily a complex process (e.g., Warner & Wäger, 2019). Undergoing digital transformation is a method of dealing with the threat of disruptive technologies that does not require an organization to bring drastic changes to its business model (Furr & Shipilov, 2019). Warner & Wäger (2019) suggest that building dynamic capabilities is sufficient for dealing with the threat of disruptive

technologies when undergoing digital transformation. Dynamic capabilities involve “higher-level activities that can enable an enterprise to direct its ordinary activities toward high-payoff

endeavors” (Teece, 2014, p. 328). Further supporting the suggestion of Warner & Wäger (2019) is that dynamic capabilities inherently explain the manner by which organizations respond to disruptive technological and market changes (Teece, 2007; Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000;

Danneels, 2010). Thus, the value of building dynamic capabilities when undergoing digital transformation is the obtained ability to deal with the threat of disruptive technologies.

Teece (2007) suggests that dynamic capabilities can be segmented into three capacities:

sensing, i.e., identifying opportunities and threats; seizing, i.e., capitalizing on opportunities;

transforming, i.e., reconfiguring organizational processes. Using said three capacities as a base, Yeow et al. (2018) established and defined eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Said eleven practices are examined in the following paragraphs.

Based on the sensing capacity, three practices were established and defined. Scanning, which regards explorative research on both internal and external sources with the aim of finding opportunities (Teece, 2007; Galunic, 2017). Learning, which regards evaluation of the found opportunities with the aim of identifying areas for further action (Teece, 2014). Calibrating, which regards sensemaking of the identified areas for further action with the aim of finding solutions for aligning existing processes with new processes (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2006).

(18)

Based on the seizing capacity, three practices were established and defined. Designing, which regards assessment of the solutions found during the calibration practice with the aim of creating a guideline for replication or renewal of the current business model (Teece, 2007;

Volberda et al., 2018). Selecting, which regards explicitly setting the levers of business model innovation with the aim of finalizing the created guideline (Teece, 2009; Volberda et al., 2018).

Committing, which regards usage of the finalized guideline as a base for creating a concrete course of action for the organization (Teece, 2009).

Based on the transforming capacity, four practices were established and defined.

Leveraging, which regards reimplementation of existing fungible business resources or processes with the aim of maintaining service to the current market (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Danneels, 2007). Creating, which regards development of new business resources or processes with the aim of serving a new market or customer group (Danneels, 2010). Accessing, which regards outsourcing certain business processes with the aim of facilitating the workload within the

organization (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Danneels, 2010). Releasing, which regards discharging certain existing business processes with the aim of streamlining processes within the

organization (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000).

In sum, the value of building dynamic capabilities when undergoing digital

transformation is the obtained ability to deal with the threat of disruptive technologies. Dynamic capabilities can be segmented into three capacities: sensing, seizing, and transforming. Using said capacities as a base, Yeow et al. (2018) established and defined eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, which are used in this research. An overview of said eleven practices is presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Overview of the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Capacity Practice Description

Sensing Scanning Explorative research on both internal and external sources with the aim of finding opportunities

(19)

Learning Evaluation of the found opportunities with the aim of identifying areas for further action

Calibrating Sensemaking of the identified areas for further action with the aim of finding solutions for aligning existing processes with new processes

Seizing Designing Assessment of the solutions found during the calibration practice with the aim of creating a guideline for replication or renewal of the current business model

Selecting Explicitly setting the levers of business model innovation with the aim of finalizing the created guideline

Committing Usage of the finalized guideline as a base for creating a concrete course of action for the organization

Transforming Leveraging Reimplementation of existing fungible business resources or processes with the aim of maintaining service to the current market

Creating Development of new business resources or processes with the aim of serving a new market or customer group

Accessing Outsourcing certain business processes with the aim of facilitating the workload within the organization

Releasing Discharging certain existing business processes with the aim of streamlining processes within the organization

Note. Source: adapted from Yeow et al. (2018).

3. Methodology

This research explored the influence of leadership actions on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation in the empirical context of the higher education industry using a mix of both inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. In the literature review, theoretical light was shed on the two key concepts underpinning this research: leadership, and the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

(20)

The leadership actions presented in Table 1 and the eleven practices associated with the

execution of digital transformation presented in Table 2 were used a base to assess the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, i.e., deductive reasoning.

Although the theoretical light that was shed on the two key concepts underpinning this research clarified both of the two key concepts on an individual basis, it did not provide

sufficient clarification to form propositions regarding the two key concepts on a collective basis, i.e., propositions regarding the influence of leadership actions on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Thus, the research objective was to explore the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

3.1. Case selection

A single case study was conducted as the aim was to produce high-quality theory

exploring a critical case (e.g., Gustafsson, 2017; Saunders et al., 2018): the University of applied sciences in Suriname. As seen in the introduction section, due to developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations had to, or yet have to, align its strategies and innovations according to the “new normal”, which is a situation where resources are scarce and the business landscape changes daily (Castro, 2020). In order to align its strategies and innovations according to the “new normal”, the University of applied sciences in Suriname developed and implemented solutions for providing education from a distance, i.e., digital education. Despite the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education exhibiting indicators of success, the extent to which leadership actions influenced the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation during the execution of said digital transformations is unclear. Thus, the University of applied sciences in Suriname was chosen as critical case due to exploring said case likely providing implications for assessing the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation.

Although the University of applied sciences in Suriname was treated as a single case, solely one distinction within the case was made: the case was divided into two unique sub-units.

(21)

The two sub-units were unique due to them being distinct regarding the two key concepts underpinning this research: leadership, and the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. As seen in Table 3, there existed two unique sub-units: leaders and followers.

Analyzing said sub-units enabled exploring the case while considering the influence of the position, i.e., leader or follower, of an organizational actor and the associated attributes on the perspective of the sub-unit (Baxter & Jack, 2008). In sum, the used qualitative research method ultimately regarded single, embedded case study (e.g., Saunders et al., 2018), and was inherently cross-sectional as it regarded researching the case at a single point in time (Saunders et al., 2018).

Table 3

Overview of the distinction regarding the two key concepts underpinning this research of the two sub-units

Leadership Practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Leaders Carry out leadership actions

Oversee the carrying out of the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Followers Experience leadership actions

Carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

3.2. Data collection

A mono-method qualitative study was executed (e.g. Saunders et al., 2018). Data was obtained from semi-structured interviews with organizational actors of the University of applied sciences of Suriname. Access to and approaching of the interviewees was possible through internship at the University of applied sciences in Suriname. Interviewees were selected using purposive sampling based on the expected ability of the interviewee to provide insights on the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Interviewees were divided into the two sub-units based

(22)

on their managerial position. Leaders were organizational actors that were in a role with a high managerial position, e.g., director or dean. Followers were organizational actors that were in a role with a medium-low managerial position, e.g., administrator or teacher.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted as this research is inherently exploratory, however ambiguity between interviews needed to be prevented (Saunders et al., 2018). An interview framework for the leaders (see Appendix A) and an interview framework for the followers (see Appendix B) were prepared prior to the interviews. Both interview frameworks consisted of identical questions, however the questions were adapted to the perspective of the respective sub-unit. The questions in the interview framework consisted of both grand tour questions, e.g., “could you describe how you carry out the practices associated with the

execution of digital transformation?”, and prompt questions, e.g., “What are the top 3 inhibitors of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation that you experience?” (Leech, 2002).

As seen in Table 4, the sample consisted of twelve interviewees, of which three

interviewees were leaders and nine interviewees were followers. Two of the three leaders (i1, i2) were directors and were selected as said leaders were likely able to provide important insights on the influence of leadership actions on the execution of the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education from the perspective of leading the organization as a whole. The remaining leader (i3) was a dean and was selected as said leader was likely able to provide important insights on the influence of leadership actions on the execution of the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education from the perspective of leading a teaching team. Seven of the nine followers (i4, i5, i6, i7, i9, i10, i11) were teachers and were selected as said followers were closely involved in the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education; and therefore, were likely able to provide insights on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education from the perspective of being in the role of a teacher. The remaining two followers (i8, i12) were administrators and were selected as said followers were also closely involved in the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education; and therefore, were likely able to provide insights on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of the digital transformations underwent to develop and implement digital education from the perspective of being part of the administration

(23)

team. In sum, the sample size consisted of twelve interviewees, with whom interviews that took interviews took between 30 and 40 minutes were conducted.

Table 4

Overview of the interviewees

Sub-unit Interviewee code

Organizational role Time in role

Leaders i1 Managing director >15 years

i2 Education director >15 years

i3 Dean >5 years

Followers i4 Core teacher 3-5 years

i5 Teacher 3-5 years

i6 Core teacher >5 years

i7 Teacher 1 year

i8 Administration officer >15 years

i9 Teacher 3-5 years

i10 Teacher >5 years

i11 Teacher >5 years

i12 Study coordinator 3-5 years

Certain interviewees indicated preference for conducting the interview in Dutch. Said interviews were conducted in Dutch, for which a translated version of the interview framework was used (see Appendix A and B). Quotes from interviews conducted in Dutch that were to be presented in this thesis were translated into English using Google Translate in order to avoid translator bias. Adjustments to translated quotes were solely made if meaning loss in the

translation of a certain quote was likely. An adjusted quote was sent to the regarding interviewee for revision, and solely presented in this thesis if the interviewee confirmed no meaning was lost in adjustment.

(24)

3.3. Data analysis

Data analysis was done separately per sub-unit, i.e., leaders and followers. Per sub-unit, thematic analysis of the interviews was conducted as the aim was to identify themes and patterns within the interview data regarding the research objective, i.e., exploring the extent to which leadership actions influence the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Thematic analysis of the interviews was conducted following the six phases of thematic analysis as defined by Braun & Clarke (2006). First, familiarization with the data took place by transcribing the data and re-reading the transcripts. Second, initial codes were created by deriving inductive codes from consistencies in the transcripts, i.e., inductive

reasoning, which were continuously redefined to fit the interview data. An overview of the initial codes created by deriving inductive codes from the transcripts that were ultimately used to identify the key themes is presented in Table 5. Descriptive of inferential information regarding (a) leadership actions, (b) the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, and (c) the influence of leadership actions on the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation were assigned to the initial codes using NVivo.

Table 5

Overview of the initial codes created by deriving inductive codes from the transcripts that were ultimately used to identify the key themes during thematic analysis

Code Description

Method, solution oriented, reactive

Reactively searches for opportunities that provide solutions to existing problems

Method, solution oriented, proactive

Proactively searches for opportunities that provide solutions to potential future problems

Aim, personal processes

Searches for opportunities to improve personal processes

Aim, non-personal processes

Searches for opportunities to improve non-personal processes

(25)

Initiator, self, internet

Initiates the scanning practice by searching for opportunities on the internet without being ordered to do so by leaders

Initiator, self, brainstorm

Initiates the scanning practice by searching for opportunities during brainstorm sessions without being ordered to do so by leaders Description,

determine

Describes employee autonomy as freedom to determine the manner by which the practices associated with the execution of digital

transformation are carried out Description, work

independently

Describes employee autonomy as freedom as being able to work independently, i.e., without the requirement of approval from others Requirement,

sufficient time

Reports that sufficient time is required for cultivating employee autonomy

Requirement, structure

Highlights the importance of structure for the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation Generate, working

hours

Reports that sufficient time could be generated through more freedom in determining working hours

Inhibitor, unclear Reports that the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy being unclear

Description, clear Describes a clear digital transformation strategy as a digital

transformation strategy that contains exact guidelines for the manner by which organizational actors should carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Inhibitor, frequency

Reports that the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being discussed frequently enough

Effect, inertia Reports that not discussing the digital transformation strategy frequently enough causes inertia when carrying out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

Requirement, focus Reports that the digital transformation strategy requires specific focus during moments of contact

(26)

Inhibitor, not supporting

Reports that the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being supported

Cause, disagreement

Reports that not supporting the digital transformation strategy could be caused by disagreement with the digital transformation strategy

Cause, non- agreement

Reports that not supporting the digital transformation strategy could be caused by non-agreement with the digital transformation strategy

Phases three, four, and five of thematic analysis regard searching for themes, reviewing themes, and defining and naming themes. This process was done in two iterations: collating codes into sub-themes by identifying relations between the codes, and afterwards collating sub- themes into key themes by identifying relations between the sub-themes. For example, a key theme was “Followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation”, for which related sub-themes include

“Scanning is solution oriented” and “Scanning is performed to improve personal processes”.

4. Findings

A total of three key themes that were consistent across the interview data were identified.

An overview of the thematic findings, i.e., the three key themes, related sub-themes, and related codes, is presented in Table 6. The three key themes and related sub-themes were used in phase six of the thematic analysis, producing the report, which is presented in the following sections.

The presentation of the findings, i.e., key themes, follows a certain structure. First, the

presentation commences with a paragraph that examines the two sub-units for similarities and differences regarding the finding. Afterwards, the presentation transitions into a number of paragraphs that describe the finding in detail. Finally, the presentation ends with a paragraph that summarizes the finding.

(27)

Table 6

Overview of the thematic findings

Key theme Sub-themes Codes

1. Followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation

1.1. Scanning is solution oriented

1.1.1. Method, solution oriented, reactive 1.1.2. Method, solution oriented, proactive 1.2. Scanning is performed to

improve personal processes

1.2.1. Aim, personal processes

1.2.2 Aim, non-personal processes

1.3. Scanning is initiated by the followers themselves

1.3.1. Initiator, self, internet 1.3.2. Initiator, self,

brainstorm 2. Employee autonomy is the

primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital

transformation

2.1. Employee autonomy is described as freedom

2.1.1. Description, determine 2.1.2. Description, work independently

2.2. Sufficient time is required to cultivate employee autonomy

2.2.1 Requirement, sufficient time

2.2.2. Requirement, sufficient time

2.2.3. Generate, working hours

3. A low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the

practices associated with the

3.1. A low level of

commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy being unclear

3.1.1. Inhibitor, unclear 3.1.2. Description, clear

(28)

execution of digital transformation

3.2. A low level of

commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy not being discussed frequently enough

3.2.1. Inhibitor, frequency 3.2.2. Effect, inertia 3.2.3. Requirement, focus

3.3. A low level of

commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy not being supported

3.3.1. Inhibitor, not supporting

3.3.2. Cause, disagreement 3.3.3. Cause, non-agreement

4.1. The scanning practice is carried out most

Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted for the single, embedded case study reveals that followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. All eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation were attempted to be discussed with each

interviewee. Leaders reported that followers do not carry out all of the eleven practices

associated with the execution of digital transformation (i1, i2, i3). For example, a leader reported that followers solely carry out the scanning, learning, selecting, and accessing practices (i3). In addition, followers also reported that followers do not carry out all of the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i4, i5, i6, i7, i8, i9, i10, i11, i12). For example, three followers reported solely carrying out the scanning, learning, and calibrating practices (i4, i6, i12). However, all of the leaders and the majority of the followers reported that followers carry out the scanning practice (i1, i2, i3, i4, i6, i9, i10, i11, i12). Thus, the finding that followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is consistent across both of the two sub-units.

The method for carrying out the scanning practice is solution-oriented (i6, i10, i12).

Carrying out the scanning practice using a solution-oriented method could regard searching for opportunities that provide solutions to existing problems. “If there is a problem in a course that I provide that can be solved using a digital solution, the potential application of a digital solution is examined together with the management.” (i6). However, carrying out the scanning practice

(29)

using a solution-oriented method could also regard proactively searching for opportunities that provide solutions to potential future problems. “We go through new global developments and studies for detecting problems that might be relevant in the future. We then try to find solutions to these problems before they actually become problems.” (i10).

The aim of the scanning practice is to find opportunities for improving personal processes (i4, i6, i7). Personal processes regard processes that primarily affect the organizational actor that carries out the scanning practice. For example, teachers are searching for opportunities for facilitating teaching (i4, i7), “I am looking into ways in which I can fine-tune my digital teaching methods.” (i4); or, for opportunities for facilitating student learning (i4, i6), “Ultimately, the found opportunities should be about using digital resources effectively to improve student

performance.” (i6). However, the aim of the scanning practice is not always to find opportunities for improving personal processes. An interviewee reported searching for opportunities for

improving the organization as a whole. “Options have been explored with management to record lessons on video and make them available to students unable to attend the lessons on campus.”

(i11).

The initiators of the scanning practice are the followers themselves, i.e., followers are searching for opportunities without ever being ordered to do so by leaders (i3, i4, i6, i12).

Followers initiate the scanning practice themselves by searching for opportunities on the internet.

“As part of my profession and work, I am often online to keep up with my fields of expertise. I look for opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills. That also means that I look into ways in which I can sharpen my used digital education methods.” (i4). In addition, followers initiate the scanning practice themselves by searching for opportunities during brainstorm sessions, “In the context of the examination board, we brainstorm about the possibilities for digital

transformation in general, including for the courses to be taught.” (i6).

In sum, followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Three consistencies regarding the scanning practice are identified. First, the method for carrying out the scanning practice is solution-oriented. Second, the aim of the scanning practice primarily is to find opportunities for improving personal processes. Third, the initiators of the scanning practice are the followers themselves, i.e., followers are searching for opportunities without ever being ordered to do so by leaders.

(30)

4.2. Employee autonomy is the primary facilitator

Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted for the single, embedded case study reveals that employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Interviewees were inquired about facilitators of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Leaders reported that commitment is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i1, i2, i3). However, solely two followers reported that commitment is a facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i9, i10). The majority of the followers reported that employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i4, i5, i6, i8, i9, i10, i11).

Although none of the leaders reported that employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, all of the leaders did report that employee autonomy is a facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i1, i2, i3). Thus, the finding that

employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is consistent across both of the two sub-units.

Employee autonomy is described as freedom to determine the manner by which the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation are carried out (i1, i2, i5, i6).

For example, interviewees reported freedom as being able to take initiatives themselves (i2, i3, i8). “[…] should be allowed to take initiatives themselves and to use their own talents.” (i2). In addition, employee autonomy is described as being able to work independently, i.e., without the requirement of approval from others (i4, i8). “Amongst the multiple facilitators, I appreciate the freedom of being able to work alone on a project or track.” (i8).

Sufficient time is required for cultivating employee autonomy (i3, i4, i9, i10, i11). “To be honest, having enough time to implement found solutions might even be more important than receiving guidance for implementing the found solutions.” (i10). If sufficient time to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is granted, organizational actors carrying out said practices are better able to structure the manner by which they carry out

(31)

said practices (i9, i11). “Creating a structure for digital transformation and the practices you have mentioned would result in more efficient time management, and therefore allow me to better execute the practices.” (i11). The practices associated with the execution of digital transformation are carried out more efficiently if said practices are carried out in a structured manner. “If I had enough time, I would create a framework for all the practices we’ve discussed, which would make carrying out the practices way easier due to the gained structure.” (i9).

Sufficient time could be granted by permitting organizational actors carrying out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation more freedom in determining their

working hours (i3, i9). “[…] flexibility with regards to working hours would likely make it easier for people to carry out the practices.” (i3).

In sum, employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Employee autonomy regards freedom to determine the manner by which the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation are carried out. In addition, employee autonomy regards being able to work independently. Sufficient time is required for cultivating employee autonomy. If sufficient time to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is granted, organizational actors carrying out said practices are better able to structure the manner by which they carry out said practices, which in turn cultivates employee autonomy. Sufficient time could be granted by permitting organizational actors carrying out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation more freedom in determining their working hours.

4.3. A low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor

In this section, commitment to a digital transformation strategy that contains exact guidelines for the manner by which organizational actors should carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is examined.

Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted for the single, embedded case study reveals that a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Interviewees were inquired about inhibitors of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Leaders reported that a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor

(32)

of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i1, i2, i3). Although solely two followers reported that commitment is a facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i9, i10), the majority of the followers reported that a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation (i4, i5, i8, i9, i10, i11, i12), for which an overview is presented in Table 7. Thus, the finding that a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is consistent across both of the two sub-units.

Table 7

Overview of the viewpoints of the two sub-units on commitment

Sub-unit (High level of) commitment Low level of commitment

Leaders Primary facilitator Primary inhibitor

Followers Somewhat of a facilitator Primary inhibitor

The finding that a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is derived from the consistent pattern of certain reported causes of a low level of commitment being inhibitors of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. First, a low level of commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy being unclear, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy being unclear (i1, i8, i9, i11). “It was difficult to select the right video conferencing tool, for example, Zoom, Teams, Oracle, etc., because no concrete requirements were predefined. We had to act quickly and on the basis of our own insights.” (i8). A clear digital transformation strategy is a digital transformation strategy that contains exact guidelines for the manner by which organizational actors should carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. “It would be nice if the digital transformation vision was already defined, because that would provide a pathway to executing

(33)

the digital transformation. With a defined digital transformation vision, I mean that it is defined exactly what is expected from me.” (i9).

Second, a low level of commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy not being discussed frequently enough, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being discussed frequently enough (i4, i5, i11, i12). For example, not discussing the digital transformation strategy frequently enough causes inertia when carrying out the practices

associated with the execution of digital transformation. “The vision is defined, in the sense that if you ask executives about how the digital transformation needs to be carried out, they will be able to answer your questions about it, but it is not brought up frequently enough. This causes

inability to move forward.” (i4). Even if there are frequent moments of contact, e.g., brainstorm sessions, the digital transformation strategy could yet not be discussed frequently enough (i4, i5, i12). “Despite the fact that we discuss a wide range of subjects throughout our brainstorming sessions, the practices are not discussed in much detail.” (i12).

Third, a low level of commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy not being supported, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being supported (i8, i10, i11). Not supporting the digital transformation strategy could be caused by disagreement with the digital transformation strategy (i10, i11). For example, an organizational actor could disagree with the guidelines for the manner by which organizational actors should carry out said practices associated with the execution of digital transformation that are described in the digital transformation strategy. “If teachers do not share a similar vision, it might be hard to come up with the right solutions. For instance, a teacher might not want to use Zoom at all due to it being a little impersonal.” (i11). However, not supporting the digital transformation strategy could also be caused by non-agreement with the digital transformation strategy. For example, an

organizational actor could take a passive stance regarding the guidelines for the manner by which organizational actors should carry out said practices associated with the execution of digital transformation that are described in the digital transformation strategy. “I’ve seen other teachers simply stand by even after the school already gave instructions for the implementation of digital education.” (i10).

(34)

In sum, a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. This finding is derived from the consistent pattern of certain reported causes of a low level of commitment being inhibitors of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. First, a low level of commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy being unclear, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy being unclear. Second, a low level of commitment could be caused by the digital transformation strategy not being discussed

frequently enough, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being discussed frequently enough. Third, a low level of commitment could be caused the digital transformation strategy not being supported, where the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation is inhibited due to the digital transformation strategy not being supported.

5. Discussion

Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted for the single, embedded case study reveals that (a) followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, (b) employee autonomy is the primary facilitator of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation, and (c) a low level of commitment is the primary inhibitor of the ability to carry out the practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. Assessment of said three findings reveals both theoretical implications and managerial implications, which is presented in this section.

(35)

5.1. Assessment of the findings

5.1.1. The scanning practice and the innovation process

Based on the capacities of dynamic capabilities (Teece, 2007; Teece, 2009; Teece, 2014), Yeow et al. (2018) established and defined eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. The scanning practice regards explorative research on both internal and external sources with the aim of finding opportunities (Teece, 2007; Galunic, 2017). Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted for the single, embedded case study reveals that followers carry out the scanning practice most out of all the eleven practices associated with the execution of digital transformation. This finding is assessed using both leadership literature and innovation literature as (a) leadership literature examines the dynamic between leaders and followers, and (b) innovation literature examines the scanning practice.

Although the concept of leadership was examined in the literature review section of this thesis, the concept of innovation has not yet been examined. Much like the concept of leadership, innovation is also a complex and multifaceted concept (e.g., Rosing et al., 2011; Tidd & Bessant, 2020). However, the interest lies in the innovation process rather than innovation as a concept as a link between the innovation process and the scanning practice is present. Tidd & Bessant (2020) divide the innovation process into three steps: (a) assessing the environment, (b)

developing the plan of action based on said assessment, and (c) implementing the developed plan of action. However, the innovation process is highly unpredictable in practice (Rosing et al., 2011). Although the innovation process is highly unpredictable in practice, the first step as defined by Tidd & Bessant (2020), i.e., assessing the environment, almost always occurs during the innovation process (Rosing et al., 2011). Assessing the environment regards the describing, understanding, and analyzing of internal and external environment of the organization (Tidd &

Bessant, 2020), which is similar to the scanning practice. Thus, as assessing the environment almost always occurs during the innovation process, and assessing the environment is similar to the scanning practice, a link between the innovation process and the scanning practice is

established.

After conducting a meta-analysis on the influence of leadership on innovation, Rosing et al. (2011) found that exploration is the primary requirement of innovation during the earlier

Referenties

GERELATEERDE DOCUMENTEN

The structure of the report closely follows the research questions. In that way, chapter 2 answers the first two research questions, which concern European law, chapters

The number one reason for change efforts that fail is due to insufficient sponsorship (ProSci, 2003). Also at AAB it appeared that leadership style had an effect on the

The Participation Agreement creates a framework contract between the Allocation Platform and the Registered Participant for the allocation of Long Term

This Act, declares the state-aided school to be a juristic person, and that the governing body shall be constituted to manage and control the state-aided

In order to later be able to become a professional, students interact with different types of professional knowledge and action in their education programmes?. Presumably,

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between four types of organizational cultures (supportive, innovative, rule, and goal), two job

As shown in this figure,a high level of expertise of the employee shows a positive relation between performance orientation and leaders‟ attitude to employee voice, whereas a

Hypothesis 2b: Followers’ extraversion moderates the negative relationship between transformational leadership and followers’ turnover intention, such that this relationship will