Digital leadership practices: a social intelligence perspective

Raluca Stana, Alexander Richter, Matthias Trier, Hanne Westh Nicolajsen

Research output: Working paperResearch


The digital transformation of the workplace impacts all involved individuals, including leaders, who have to balance institutionally implemented traditional organizational structures and new ways of working, enabled by digital platforms and (often) needed by their employees. Studies show that many leaders are still struggling to find their new individual leadership role and interaction style in the openness of the digital work environment. With this study, we want to contribute to a better understanding of actual digital leadership practices, i.e. how the digitization of the workplace changes leadership styles and approaches. Based on the theoretical lens of social intelligence, we identify five interwoven categories of digital leadership practices through a rigorous literature review and empirically refine them through a focus group as well as an illustrative case study: communicating, adapting, listening, understanding, and empathizing. Framing digital leadership through the lens of social intelligence allows us to emphasize the human perspective of this reconfiguration, which goes beyond ‘rewiring’ the work environment and acknowledges the fact that digital leaders need to learn socially intelligent behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Leadership
  • Information Systems


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