Social enablers of Industry 4.0 technology adoption: Transformational leadership and emotional intelligence

Desirée H. van Dun, Maneesh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Many manufacturers are exploring adopting smart technologies in their operations, also referred to as the shift towards “Industry 4.0”. Employees' contribution to high-tech initiatives is key to successful Industry 4.0 technology adoption, but few studies have examined the determinants of employee acceptance. This study, therefore, aims to explore how managers affect employees' acceptance of Industry 4.0 technology, and, in turn, Industry 4.0 technology adoption. Design/methodology/approach: Rooted in the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology model and social exchange theory, this inductive research follows an in-depth comparative case study approach. The two studied Dutch manufacturing firms engaged in the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in their primary processes, including cyber-physical systems and augmented reality. A mix of qualitative methods was used, consisting of field visits and 14 semi-structured interviews with managers and frontline employees engaged in Industry 4.0 technology adoption. Findings: The cross-case comparison introduces the manager's need to adopt a transformational leadership style for employees to accept Industry 4.0 technology adoption as an organisational-level factor that extends existing Industry 4.0 technology user acceptance theorising. Secondly, manager's and employee's recognition and serving of their own and others' emotions through emotional intelligence are proposed as an additional individual-level factor impacting employees' acceptance and use of Industry 4.0 technologies. Originality/value: Synthesising these insights with those from the domain of Organisational Behaviour, propositions were derived from theorising the social aspects of effective Industry 4.0 technology adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-182
Number of pages31
JournalInternational journal of operations & production management
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Social enablers of Industry 4.0 technology adoption: Transformational leadership and emotional intelligence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this