Transformational Leaders Help Their Employees Overcome Their Technophobia

Transformational Leaders Help Their Employees Overcome Their Technophobia

Odai Y. Khasawneh (Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHI.2020070105

Abstract

The lack of technology acceptance in the workplace has haunted companies in the past and it seems that it will continue to do so in the future. One of the many variables that impact employees' acceptance of a new technology is technophobia; which previously has been studied within the narrow context of computers or few other technologies that are now outdated. In a novel approach, the current study examines employees' technophobia and how it impacts their technology acceptance. In addition, the moderating influence of transformational leadership is studied to determine whether that type of leadership would influence employees to overcome their technophobia. The data analysis confirms that technophobia and its subdimensions are still an issue that haunts the workplace. However, having a leader who's identified as a transformational leader can help employees overcome their technophobia. This study argues that it is vital for companies to understand the level and type of technophobia as well as what type of leadership their employees have before implementing any new technologies.
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Introduction

The body of knowledge is saturated with studies that demonstration the importance of leadership and its impact on employees’ attitudes. Employees view leaders as the manifestation of organizational values. Leaders have a great positive influence on their employees (Givens, 2008) and linked to organizational success (Gumusluoglu, and Ilsev, 2009). This makes leadership style a major factor for organizational success when faced with a challenging time such as implementing a new technology; since the introduction of new technologies is a very challenging task for companies and employees alike. Transformational leadership theory gained a lot of attention, Bromley and Kirschner-Bromley (2007) argue that transformational leaders inspire and intellectually stimulate their employees and possess charismatic personalities. Daughtry and Finch (1997) argue that transformational leaders are more suitable when it comes to technological innovation in organization.

Davis et al. (1989) argue that researchers and practitioners need to understand why employees resist new technologies in order to invent practical systems that predict how employees will respond and accept a new technology; since most of the time employees are unwilling to use new technology even though it will significantly increase their performance (Davis et al., 1989). Employees go through a state of fear and anxiety whenever they deal with new technology, and research is filled with studies that examine employees’ fear and anxiety as antecedence to technology acceptance (e.g. Saade and Kira 2006 study).

Since the introduction of computers in the 1970s that state of fear and anxiety has been classified by many researchers as computer anxiety. In the context of computers, technophobia is a barrier to company’s development, and is a major factor in hindering employees’ adaption to new technologies (Rosen and Weil, 1995). In the 1970s-1990s, computers were the pinnacle of technology in the workplace, but this is no longer the case. Advancement in technology has skyrocketed in the past few decades, the current study argues that technophobia is becoming the silent killer to technology acceptance in the workplace. This study will examine the impact of technophobia on technology acceptance and the moderating influence transformational leaders have on that relationship. What sets this study apart from other studies is that it will consider technophobia as a general fear rather than fear and anxiety that is tied to computers. To do that, the study adopts a scale and a definition developed by Khasawneh (2018).

Understanding technophobia and its subdimensions and how they might impact employees’ technology acceptance will help researchers and practitioner alike in solving this issue. The study will help answers questions like, does technophobia impact employees in the modern workplace? Does having a transformational leader make a difference?

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