How Leadership Styles Impact Enterprise Systems Success throughout the Lifecycle: A Theoretical Exploration

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Vol: 11, Issue: 135

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Shao, Zhen; Feng, Yuqiang; Hu, Qing
Top Management; Leadership Style; Enterprise Systems Lifecycle
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Top management support has been identified as one of the most critical factors to the success of enterprise systems. However, few studies have addressed the issue of what type of top management support is most effective in what phase of the enterprise systems lifecycle. In this study, we argue that effective management support is dependent on the top manager's leadership style and the specific phase of enterprise systems. Given the different challenges resulted from enterprise systems in different phases, and the variety of top management leadership styles, a one-size fits all approach is clearly inadequate. Drawing upon extant literatures, we propose a theoretical framework to clarify the relationship between the two most recognized leadership styles and the four phases of enterprise systems lifecycle. Specifically, we argue that transformational leadership is more effective in the adoption phase, while transactional leadership is more effective in the implementation phase, and a mixed leadership is more effective for the assimilation and extension phases. Our study deviates from the traditional focus on transformational leadership in management literature and breaks new ground in IS literature by highlighting the effectiveness of leadership style in the success of enterprise systems throughout the lifecycle.