The Moderating Effects of Leader-Member Exchange for Technology Acceptance: An Empirical Study Within Organizations

The Moderating Effects of Leader-Member Exchange for Technology Acceptance: An Empirical Study Within Organizations

Yujong Hwang (DePaul University, USA & Kyung Hee University, South Korea), Soyean Kim (Kyung Hee University, South Korea), Kamel Rouibah (College of Business Administration, Kuwait University, Kuwait) and Donghee Shin (Zayed University, UAE)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.20210701.oa1
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Abstract

Within the technology acceptance literature, the issue of top management support and commitment has been studied extensively; however, the issue of leadership per se has not been addressed directly. A missing piece of the leadership puzzle as it relates to technology acceptance is an exploration of how top management support gets translated in the organizational hierarchy. This study introduces leader-member exchange (LMX) to better understand this missing piece. Specifically, this research explores the role direct supervisors play in the acceptance process by end users based on the moderated model of LMX and supervisor influence. The empirical test results in the field setting show that LMX is a significant moderator for most of the technology acceptance variables within organizations. The study explores the role of the quality of the relationship between supervisors and employees as end users. It also highlights the role of LMX and supervisor influence as a conduit for the acceptance process among end users in the organization.
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1. Introduction

This study attempts to shed light on the role of leadership in the acceptance process by moving beyond the usual “top management support.” Within the IS literature, and specifically within the technology acceptance literature, the issue of top management support and commitment has been studied extensively (e.g., Hwang et al., 2017; Grover et al., 2019); however, the issue of leadership per se has not been addressed directly. A missing piece of the leadership puzzle as it relates to technology acceptance is an exploration of how top management support gets translated in the organizational hierarchy.

Even with the extensive research which linked management support to positive outcomes, there seems to be a paucity of research aimed at exploring how such support affects specific constructs that are relevant to individuals’ acceptance of a technology (Lewis et al., 2003; Hwang et al., 2016b). Most studies that looked at the issue of management support were mainly concerned with top management support. What is missing, however, is a deeper understanding of how such support influences specific beliefs and attitudes of prospective end users within organizations. To our knowledge, few studies attempted to address this limitation. For example, Igbaria et al. (1995) reports that management support influenced PU and perceived usage. In a later study, Igbaria et al. (1997) finds that management support influenced PU and PEOU directly and usage indirectly. Along the same lines, Lewis et al. (2003) finds significant support for the relationship between top management support and PU and PEOU. Speier and Venkatesh (2002) also report a significant relationship between management support and the constructs of image and visibility.

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) is introduced in this study to better understand this missing piece. Specifically, this research attempts to explore the role direct supervisors play in the acceptance process by end users. The LMX construct specifically measures and captures the quality of the relationship between employees and their direct supervisor. Studies that looked at LMX as it relates to change have found that those who enjoy higher-quality relationships with their supervisors have the strongest change climate perceptions (Tierney, 1999). Also, LMX has been found to affect the relationship between supervisors’ influence tactics and those tactics’ effectiveness in dealing with resistance to change (Furst & Cable, 2008). Higher quality exchanges are usually found to be less resistant to change (e.g., Van Dam et al., 2008).

The research model in this study integrates variables from multiple disciplines and attempts to explore the relationships between the social influence variable (Supervisor Influence) and the model’s variables. Furthermore, LMX (Leader-Member Exchange) is introduced as a moderating variable for these relationships. Recently, Hwang et al. (2016a; 2016c) called for the further investigation of the role of LMX in the system implementation based on the literature review in this field. This study attempts to shed some light on the role of leadership in the acceptance process by moving beyond the usual “top management support”.

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