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Effect of authoritarian leadership on user resistance to change: evidence from IS project implementation in China

Yajun Zhang (School of Business Administration, Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, Guiyang, China)
Peiran Gao (School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
Junwei Zhang (College of Economics and Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China)
Lu Lu (School of Business Administration, Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, Guiyang, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 28 August 2020

Issue publication date: 9 October 2020

1090

Abstract

Purpose

User resistance to change has been identified as a significant cause of information system (IS) implementation failure. Previous studies have proposed antecedents of user resistance to change. However, whether project leadership (e.g. authoritarian leadership) can lead to user resistance to change remains unclear. By drawing on project leadership, affective event theory and contingency theory of leadership, the authors address this void by empirically examining whether authoritarian leadership can lead to user resistance to change through the mediation of negative emotion and whether the magnitude of this mediation depends on the power distance level.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the authors’ research model that integrates authoritarian leadership, negative emotion, power distance and user resistance to change using data from a matched-pair survey of 278 users and their supervisors involved in IS project implementation in China.

Findings

Negative emotion plays a mediating role in the relationship of authoritarian leadership and user resistance to change. In addition, power distance moderates the relationship between authoritarian leadership and negative emotion and the indirect effect of authoritarian leadership on user resistance to change in IS project implementation through negative emotion.

Originality/value

The authors’ research provides a comprehensive understanding of the antecedents of user resistance to change in IS project implementation and ultimately contributes to the IS project implementation literature and practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Humanities and Social Sciences Fund of Ministry of Education of China (18YJA630149), the National Natural Science Foundation of China(71602065), the National Social Science Foundation of China (16ZDA013), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M622462).

Citation

Zhang, Y., Gao, P., Zhang, J. and Lu, L. (2020), "Effect of authoritarian leadership on user resistance to change: evidence from IS project implementation in China", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 120 No. 10, pp. 1813-1834. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-11-2019-0619

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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