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Role of leadership in the digitalisation of manufacturing organisations

Guilherme Tortorella (The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia) (IAE Business School, Austral University, Buenos Aires, Argentina) (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil)
Anupama Prashar (Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India)
Jiju Antony (Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Alejandro Francisco Mac Cawley (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Roberto Vassolo (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil) (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile) (Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina) (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Michael Sony (Department of Mechanical and Marine, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 31 January 2023

Issue publication date: 7 March 2023




This study examines the moderating role of leadership behaviours on the relationship between Industry 4.0 (I4.0) maturity and operational performance in manufacturers.


For that, 189 leaders from manufacturing organisations located in India and Brazil that are undergoing I4.0 implementation were surveyed. The collected data was analysed using multivariate data techniques, which allowed to verify the validity of our research hypotheses. This study was grounded on the concepts from the socio-technical systems (STS) theory.


The findings indicated that task-oriented leadership behaviours positively moderate the relationship between technologies for digitalisation and operational performance. A similar effect was found for the interaction between change-oriented leadership behaviours and strategy for digitalisation. In turn, the moderating effects of relations-oriented and change-oriented leadership behaviours were negative when considering the I4.0 maturity dimensions of employee and culture for digitalisation and technology for digitalisation, respectively.


This study offers arguments to better understand the role of leaders' behaviours in the digitalisation of organisations. Changing behaviours is usually a long-term and time-consuming activity. The identification of the leadership behaviours that are more likely to support digitalisation allows companies to anticipate potential issues and prioritise efforts to assertively develop leaders.



Tortorella, G., Prashar, A., Antony, J., Mac Cawley, A.F., Vassolo, R. and Sony, M. (2023), "Role of leadership in the digitalisation of manufacturing organisations", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 315-336.



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