Off to new pastures: Exploring Tensions Between Followers and Leaders in the Automotive Industry Challenging the Adoption of Digital Leadership

Eberl, Julia
Drews, Paul
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The automotive industry is driving digitalization at high speed to optimize operations, gain new business opportunities, and close the gap with new, leading competitors from the IT industry. Although the automotive industry aims for digital leadership (DL) to transfer from antecedent physical products to new pastures of digital services, the adoption is challenged by tensions in the follower–leader relationship (FLR). To identify these tensions for the first time in research, we analyzed DL in the automotive industry from a follower and leader perspective. Based on 25 interviews, the results extend existing research on the adoption of DL in the automotive industry by (a) identifying four configurations of digital leadership adoption stages causing tensions in the FLR which impede the adoption of DL and (b) four strategies for managing the tensions.
Socio-technical Issues in Organizational Information Technologies, digital leadership, digital transformation, follower-leader-relationship, leadership 4.0, organizational transformation
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