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Context is key: The joint roles of transformational and shared leadership and management innovation in predicting employee IT

This study investigates how transformational leadership, through shared leadership, predicts followers’ information technology (IT) innovation adoption at work. We further examine how management innovation acts as an organizational-level enabler, enhancing the impact of leadership on followers’ IT innovation adoption. To test our hypotheses, we conducted a multi-source, multi-level field study of 5884 employees and 92 of their leaders in small- and medium-sized German companies. Data were analyzed by applying multi-level moderated-mediation analysis. The study findings revealed that shared leadership mediated the relationship between perceived transformational leadership and followers’ IT innovation adoption at the individual level. Moreover, organizational-level management innovation moderated the relationship between transformational leadership and IT innovation adoption, mediated by shared leadership. Taken together, our findings indicate that transformational leadership has the power to motivate followers to lead themselves toward implementing digital change. Our study contributes to shaping a multi-level organizational context that promotes IT innovation adoption at work.