Digitalisation, digital transformation, digital workplace, data-driven organisations, big data, artificial intelligence – the discourse on different facets of digitalisation is present, powerful and sometimes convincing and seductive. “Digital leadership” is another, related phenomenon that has emerged in the digital era. Talking about leadership and using digital as a prefix: what is this all about? Is it a phenomenon of scientific and conceptual interest? Does it have a substantial practical significance or is it just another buzzword? This paper will investigate and reflect upon those questions with the aim to contribute to a deeper understanding of leadership in a digital era. The basis of this paper is consti- tuted by a hermeneutic literature review of related research on leadership, digitalization and digital transformation. Thereto, five interviews with senior executives working with leadership in a digital era have been conducted. As a theoretical lens we applied the concepts of transactional versus transform- ative leadership. The analysis conclude that the transactional form of leadership seems to prevail. However, when practitioners talk about leadership in a digital era they emphasise the need for char- acteristics related to more transformative leadership. In this sense, we have identified an ongoing transition of leadership itself. Another conclusion is that leadership in a digital era is based on para- doxes and also about handling them. Finally, talking about “digital” leadership does not really con- tribute to the understanding or characteristics of leadership. Thus, we suggest skipping the prefix and instead talk about leadership in a digital era.
Braf, Ewa and Melin, Ulf, "LEADERSHIP IN A DIGITAL ERA - IS “DIGITAL LEADERSHIP” A BUZZWORD OR A SIGNIFICANT PHENOMENON?" (2020). 11th Scandinavian Conference on Information Systems. 8.