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2024 | Book

Employee Uncertainty Over Digital Transformation

Mechanisms and Solutions

Author: Masaki Matsunaga

Publisher: Springer Nature Singapore

Book Series : Future of Business and Finance


About this book

This book delves into the psychological and behavioral impact of the advent of digital transformation (DX) on white-collar employees in the modern organizational context. It uncovers how DX-driven uncertainty affects these workers' professional identity, self-efficacy, and job performance from a communication-centered perfective. While effective leadership can serve as a buffer, the intricate dynamics of these relationships await further exploration.
To unravel these complex issues, the book employs an array of theoretical frameworks that have been tested against large, time-separated, dyadic datasets collected in Japan. In so doing, the studies introduced in this book illuminate how employees make sense of and communicate the uncertainties they face. Furthermore, it highlights a vision-driven leadership style and scrutinizes its unique attributes and limitations for addressing team members' uncertainty.
This book is indispensable for executives and managers; it is a roadmap to steering digital transformation efforts without igniting resistance or conflict among frontline staff. For researchers, it's an invaluable resource for analyzing the mechanism of uncertainty management in today's fast-paced, tech-centric environments. Moreover, the book bridges the gap between interpersonal communication studies and other pivotal disciplines, such as leadership, management, organizational behavior, and social psychology in the context of stress and coping with uncertainty.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Landscape of Digital Transformation and Leadership
This chapter presents an overview of the current monograph, which explores digital transformation and leadership with a particular focus on human elements interlaced within these dual processes. First, it emphasizes the exigency underpinning the research within the book; despite the wealth of literature on DX and leadership from strategic standpoints, there is a gap in understanding how DX affects the individuals involved and how leadership intervenes with such processes. Based on this problematization, the current chapter outlines the book’s aims and scope in terms of scrutinizing the intricate nature of DX from a human-centered perspective, theorizing about the role of leadership within the context of digital transformation, and bridging theory and practice through an interdisciplinary approach. This chapter then provides an overview of the subsequent chapters and identifies the readers who will benefit most from the book (scholars, postgraduate students including those in MBA programs, and business professionals interested in DX and leadership). It also provides reading strategies recommended based on readers’ backgrounds, interests, and objectives.
Masaki Matsunaga
Chapter 2. Uncertainty in the Age of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation (DX) exerts multifaceted influences on organizational members. To explore these complex dynamics, the studies reported in this chapter divvied the umbrella concept of DX into two subcategories (“digitization” and “digitalization”) and examined their impact on employee uncertainty and identities. Repercussions of the perceived vision clarity behind the given DX initiative and organizational support were also scrutinized. SEM analyses of the survey information collected in Japan (Ns = 689–1,139) have revealed that: (a) both digitization and digitalization are positively associated with employee uncertainty; (b) DX-driven uncertainty is, in turn, negatively associated with employees’ identification with their organization and professional roles; (c) digitization has positive direct effects on employees’ organization-based and work-based identities; (d) digitalization has negative direct and indirect effects on employees’ identities; and (e) these effects are moderated by the perceived clarity of vision behind DX and organizational support. Implications of these results, as well as the limitations of the studies and directions for future research, are discussed with reference to the literature on the related themes including but not limited to leadership, change management, training and empowerment, and organizational culture.
Masaki Matsunaga
Chapter 3. Transformational Leadership in a Digital Era
Drawing on Brashers’ (2001) theory of communication and uncertainty management, the study reported in this chapter examines the role of transformational leadership (TFL) in employees’ uncertainty management process in the context of DX and its impact on their appraisal of DX, self-efficacy, and job performance. The study examined the hypotheses regarding the complex interplay between these factors with the data collected over four waves from 873 employee–supervisor dyads in Japan. Structural equation modeling analyses have revealed that: (a) uncertainty is negatively associated with employees’ appraisal of DX, self-efficacy, and job performance; (b) TFL is positively associated with these factors; and, moreover, (c) TFL moderates the impact of uncertainty on appraisal and self-efficacy. Simple-slope analyses indicate that, when one’s direct supervisor exhibits low TFL behaviors, uncertainty is significantly negatively associated with their appraisal and self-efficacy; conversely, in the high-TFL condition, the adverse impact of uncertainty diminishes. These findings highlight the pivotal role of transformational leadership in shaping positive appraisals and self-efficacy among organizational members, thereby enhancing their job performance in the face of DX-driven uncertainty. Theoretical and practical implications of the obtained findings are discussed with reference to the relevant literature.
Masaki Matsunaga
Chapter 4. The Role of Digital Literacy in Leadership
The study reported in this chapter integrates the theory of communication and uncertainty management (TCUM) with the notion of transformational leadership (TFL) to examine how the uncertainty over the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies affects employees. Drawing on TCUM’s tenets, it is posited that TFL leaders need context-relevant expertise to effectively inspire and motivate their followers. Structural equation modeling analyses with the data collected in Japan (N = 1,318 employee–supervisor dyads) have revealed that uncertainty is negatively associated and TFL is positively associated with employees’ job performance. Consistent with TCUM’s proposition, the digital literacy of leaders is found to moderate the effects of TFL. Specifically, the positive association between TFL and job performance has disappeared when the employees simultaneously sense high uncertainty and low digital literacy of their supervisors. Implications of these findings are discussed with reference to the relevant literature. The current study provides empirical evidence on an important boundary condition of TFL effectiveness in the context of AI-driven digital transformation. Organizations should recognize and work on the imperative to develop talents with both robust leadership and digital skills to successfully drive DX.
Masaki Matsunaga
Chapter 5. Navigating the Future of Digital Transformation and Leadership
Digital transformation (DX) is fundamentally a human-driven endeavor. Drawing upon this perspective, this chapter delves into the theoretical and practical implications of the findings obtained in the current monograph, with a particular focus on the pivotal role played by transformational leadership (TFL) in navigating the complex, multifaceted landscape of DX. It elucidates the skills required for TFL leaders, explicating the difficulties associated with identifying and nurturing such leaders. Three distinct approaches to procuring digitally skilled leaders, each with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages, are also outlined. Additionally, this chapter underscores the unique capability of TFL leaders to reframe arduous DX-induced challenges as opportunities for growth. As a future direction, the potential and challenges of a “hybrid” approach that integrates various leadership styles are contemplated. Furthermore, this chapter problematizes the concept of job performance vis-à-vis the uncertainty level of a given DX environment to delineate a future research agenda. Limitations of the current research are clarified to encourage future studies to critique and build upon the obtained findings to develop theories that guide leaders across diverse sectors toward successful DX initiatives.
Masaki Matsunaga
Employee Uncertainty Over Digital Transformation
Masaki Matsunaga
Copyright Year
Springer Nature Singapore
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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