The wave of digital transformation is sweeping the world, and technology innovation has brought about changes in the organizational mode. More and more enterprises begin to pay attention to digital transformation, but the effect of Chinese enterprises’ digital transformation is not satisfactory. The main reason for this dilemma is the lack of leadership, and only by efficiently solving this problem can enterprises adapt to the complex and changeable digital environment. The existing literature has conducted a series of studies in this field, but there are still some limitations: First, they mainly focus on the impact of leadership on digital transformation, but ignore the impact of digital transformation on leadership. Second, they mostly discuss how leadership promotes digital transformation from the team level, lacking a multi-level perspective. Given this, this paper builds a framework based on the adaptive structuration theory to explore the interaction between digital transformation and leadership at different levels.
The adaptive structuration theory suggests that the use of technology is affected by the context in which it is embedded, and it also has the ability to change the context. Therefore, this paper uses the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) to conduct a literature review. Through the analysis of 358 literatures, from the perspective of adaptive structuration theory, the research on digital transformation and leadership is integrated into a systematic framework. The study explains the interactive relationship between digital transformation and leadership from two parts: One is to sort out the impact of digital transformation on leadership; the other is to explore how leadership promotes enterprise digital transformation at the organizational, team and individual levels. On this basis, it puts forward directional suggestions on how to explore the interaction between digital transformation and leadership in the future.
The results show that: On the one hand, digital transformation has an important impact on leadership functions, leadership behaviors and leadership competencies by reshaping the omnibus and discrete context. On the other hand, leadership can affect digital transformation through two paths: strategic promotion and guiding adaptation. Among them, leadership focuses on strategic promotion at the organizational level and focuses on guiding adaptation at the team level and individual level.
This paper makes the following contributions: First, it systematically reviews relevant research at home and abroad and establishes a more complete literature analysis framework, which makes up for the shortcomings of existing research and more comprehensively demonstrates the interaction between digital transformation and leadership. Second, it summarizes the impact of digital transformation from the three aspects of leadership functions, leadership behaviors and leadership competencies, proposes two paths for leadership to affect digital transformation: strategic promotion and guiding adaptation, and sorts out the internal mechanism of the interaction between digital transformation and leadership. Third, it introduces the adaptive structuration theory into the leadership research in digital transformation, which deepens the application of adaptive structuration theory in the management field, and provides an integrated perspective for the related research.