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The impact of empowering leadership for KMS adoption

Ren‐Zong Kuo (Department of Information Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)
Ming‐Fong Lai (Science and Technology Policy Research and Information Center, National Applied Research Laboratories, Taipei, Taiwan)
Gwo‐Guang Lee (Department of Information Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 2 August 2011




While the prior research suggests that leadership has important influences on IT acceptance and use, there has been little empirical investigation that identifies the specific managerial behaviors associated with adoption success. This study attempts to address this issue by exploring the influence of empowering leadership on knowledge management system (KMS) adoption through its effects on task‐technology fit and compatibility.


To test the proposed research model, data were collected through a questionnaire survey sent to IT managers of 500 large companies in Taiwan.


The results show that empowering leadership has an indirect effect on KMS usage. Empowering leadership was positively related to both task‐technology fit and compatibility, which in turn were both positively related to usage of KMS.

Research limitations/implications

There are two limitations to this study, requiring further examination and additional research. First, the sample was drawn from Taiwanese organizations. Hence, the research model should be tested further using samples from other countries, because cultural differences may exist between Taiwan and other countries. Second, this study obtained just 151 completed questionnaires for a 30.2 percent response rate. The limited number of respondents in the survey also causes concern. As a larger sample that brings more statistical power can provide more stable and consistent results, the study should be verified with a larger sample to increase generalization.

Practical implications

This study suggests that practitioners should not only focus on the technology issue (i.e. providing suitable knowledge to meet user needs and accruing high compatibility with user working style), but also be concerned with the impact of leadership style. Managers should consider how to empower subordinates appropriately, a decision that can indeed facilitate the development of an environment where employees participate in knowledge management activities more spontaneously. Without such appropriate leadership, however, even though firms may introduce a well‐built KMS, it is unlikely that system would effectively exert its full range of benefits.


The results of the study will be useful to practitioners in understanding the type of leadership that should be employed in the context of KMS, thus increasing the success rate for adopting the system and further achieving knowledge management goals.



Kuo, R., Lai, M. and Lee, G. (2011), "The impact of empowering leadership for KMS adoption", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 7, pp. 1120-1140.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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