The impact of digital leadership and transformational leadership on digital transformation

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University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg
This study aimed to understand the impact of transformational leadership, and digital leadership on digital transformation journeys with three key objectives, i.e., digital and transformational leadership are positive contributors to delivering digital transformation journeys but digital leadership is a more positive contributor to digital transformation journeys when compared to transformational leadership. A quantitative research approach was taken and online surveys were used to collect data from individuals in three identified organisations who have been part of digital journeys/projects within their organisations’ departments. A total of 272 responses were received, of which 174 were noted as usable for this study due to missing values on responses not used. Reliability and validity, Descriptive, T-Test, Correlation, and Regression tests were used to analyse the data. Based on the tests performed the first outcome was aligned to the literature reviewed and confirmed a positive relationship between digital leadership and digital transformation journeys. The conclusion on the second objective was not aligned to the literature reviewed and found that a negative relationship between transformational leadership and digital transformation. The final objective confirmed that digital leadership has a more significant impact on digital transformation journeys than transformational leadership. While the conclusion may seem clear that digital leadership is a better fit for achieving successful outcomes in digital transformation journeys, the contrary outcomes to existing literature and studies implore the need for further exploration and understanding of leadership traits, styles and attributes that are best suited to supporting the positive outcome of digital transformation journeys. The outcome of such studies may be the creation and recognition of new leadership category, or the consolidation of existing leadership theories. Either way, it is imperative to gain a clearer insight into the leadership impacts on digital transformations if organisations and society are to gain more significant benefits from Industry 4.0 faster.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Management in the field of Digital Business
Digital transformation, Digital leadership, Transformational leadership, Leadership, Digital leaders