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This paper investigates 15 leaders’ effective leadership approaches in five different companies in Denmark, during eight months of Covid-19 restrictions. Initially, a massive scaling of digital technology adoption took place, with leaders and members forced to work virtually from home (WFH). Categorized as a major and abrupt socio-technical change, we inquired into the experiences before, during and after lock-down, and discovered that member well-being and team productivity had prevailed. Drawing on critical realism, we took a grounded theory approach to explore the phenomenon of effective leadership in socio-technical change. After extensive coding, we abstracted an underlying pattern that explains how effective leaders apply situational leadership by continuously activating synergies between mechanisms of socialization, institutionalization, and individualization in their socio-technical work-systems. These findings can serve as an inspiration to researchers and managers that seek to find new ways of harmonizing social and technical structures during rapid digital transformation.



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