E-Leadership: The Implication of Digital Transformation for Leadership in Organizations in Africa

The paper discusses electronic leadership (e-leadership) competencies that would ensure
organizational competitiveness in the digital transformation of an organisation or a unit of an
organisation. Like any other large-scale transformation of a business that has high failure rates, digital
transformation can fail and it is failing in organisations in Africa; making them bankrupt requiring
business rescue or taking them completely out of business. Digital transformation is considered as the
process of using digital technologies (integrating cyber-physical systems (CPS) i.e., (intelligent
network systems) and business processes) to create and improve production, sustain customer
experiences; thus, the use of digital technologies to integrate business process, office automation,
industrial process and factory automation to transform business. It is therefore argued that most
African organizations are currently faced with the critical challenge of determining the preconvergence

and convergence of technologies, their alignment with strategy and their integration with
business processes and systems to build digital business infrastructure for competitiveness. The
concept of enactment of technology-in-practice derived from Adaptive Structuration Theory was used
as a lens through which to understand and interpret the implications of the digital transformation on
leadership competencies to derive e-leadership profile to lead African businesses in the digital age.
As such the objective of this paper is to determine the competencies of e-leadership to lead digital
transformation agenda of an organization in a highly and digitally competitive marketplace. It is a
qualitative study, using an interpretative paradigm in a case study methodology where semistructured

interviews were used to collect data from each unit of analysis representing specific South
African based businesses. The selected Cases in South African were extensively investigated. The
enactment of e-leadership derived from AST is proposed to lead digital transformation. The
implication is that the deployment of e-leadership in an organization has a potential to yield benefits
such as the creation of higher organisational flexibility, empowerment of staff and
strategic/competitive advantages for the organization. This paper proposes that having effective eleaders

in an organisation would lead to adequate appropriation of digital technologies to digitally
transform an organisation.

Author(s) Details

Dr. Michael Twum-Darko
Centre for Business Innovation and Incubation, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa.

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