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The effect of digital transformation strategy on performance: The moderating role of cognitive conflict

Hecheng Wang (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)
Junzheng Feng (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)
Hui Zhang (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)
Xin Li (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 30 March 2020

Issue publication date: 4 June 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to verify whether digital transformation strategy (DTS) could improve the organizational performance and provide a comprehensive analysis for enterprises on the necessity of implementing digital transformation in the context of China and draw on the perspectives of “Skewed conflict,” “minority dissent theory” and “too-much-of-a-good-thing.” This study investigates the curvilinear moderating role of cognitive conflict between DTS and performance.

Design/methodology/approach

An empirical investigation was used to collect a large sample data of Chinese enterprises’ digital transformation. A multiple linear regression analysis with SPSS was used to test the proposed hypotheses such as the inverted U-shaped moderating effect of the cognitive conflict.

Findings

In the Chinese context, DTS has a positive relationship on the short- and long-term financial performance. Moreover, this relationship was moderated by cognitive conflict such that the relationship between DTS and short-term financial performance could be further enhanced under the moderate cognitive conflict; however, the relationship between DTS and long-term financial performance was considerably influenced for higher cognitive conflict.

Originality/value

Based on the co-evolution of the information technology/information system (IT/IS) and business strategy, this study clarified the relationships among DTS, digital strategy and business and information technology strategies. By focusing on corporate strategy, this study further examined the effect of digital transformation on both short- and long-term financial performance. To further reveal the micro-psychological mechanisms underlying the effect of DTS on organizational performance, this study confirmed the inverted U-shaped moderating effect of the top management team’s cognitive conflict. Therefore, this research provides a new theoretical perspective for future research in the field of IT/IS, DTS and digital strategy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the anonymous reviewers’ constructive comments and suggestions and would like to thank Prof. Steven Si for his deep insights and kind support. This research is supported by Humanity and Social Science Youth foundation of Ministry of Education of China (Project Number: 18YJC790028), Chinese National Funding of Social Sciences (Project Number: 19BGJ014, 17BJY072), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Number: 71372170), The Youth key Project of the Major Humanities and Social Sciences Program in Zhejiang Colleges and Universities (Project Number: 2018QN017).

Citation

Wang, H., Feng, J., Zhang, H. and Li, X. (2020), "The effect of digital transformation strategy on performance: The moderating role of cognitive conflict", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 441-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-09-2019-0166

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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