Leader’s Personal Need for Structure and the Subordinate’s Perceived Autonomy in a Digital Transformation Process: The Moderating Roles of Leader’s Trust in Subordinates and Digital Self-Efficacy
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- Master of Science 
Digital transformations challenge traditional leadership models, and new leadership practices are required to manage digital change successfully. The goal of this study was to research the relationship between leader characteristics and employee outcomes in these processes. Since employee autonomy is seen as an essential factor for digital transformations, our study investigated the impact of leaders’ personal need for structure (PNS) on subordinates’ perceived autonomy in a digital transformation process. The leaders’ trust in subordinates and the leaders’ digital self-efficacy (DSE) were examined as possible moderators. In order to get a deeper understanding of leaders’ intention-behavior relationship, the Reasoned Action Approach was utilized as a theoretical framework. A multilevel modeling approach, that combined data of leaders and their subordinates, was used in this study. The results showed that a leader’s PNS was negatively related to employees’ perceived autonomy. Further, we found that the negative relationship between a leader’s PNS and employee autonomy was moderated by a leader’s DSE. Leaders’ trust in subordinates was not found to be a significant moderator. However, an unpredicted finding revealed a direct effect of leaders’ trust in subordinates on employee autonomy. Our study offers important theoretical as well as practical implications. Based on our findings, organizations are advised to reevaluate their leadership development programs and provide leaders with appropriate training in order to help them to lead a digital transformation successfully. We conclude with recommendations for future research.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Leadership and Change - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020