The role of line managers in the implementation of digitalization

Violetta Khoreva*, Anna Christina Bos - Nehles, Sari Salojarvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Many organizations are in a process of digitalizing their businesses. This is not a one-time-exercise but can be perceived as a disruptive process by many organizational stakeholders. The objective of this chapter is to socially construct the implementation process of digitalization in organizations and distinguish the role of line managers in the process. Based on an explorative inductive qualitative research design in 36 MNEs, we distinguished between five phases in the implementation process of digitalization: resistance, experimentation, conviction, reorganization, and routinization. In each of these phases, line managers play a different role in each of these phases and thus are in a position to help or hinder the digitalization process. They do so as outside observer, playmate, ambassador, inspirator, and conductor. The chapter highlights how line managers help employees to socially construct the implementation process of digitalization by encouraging, supporting, training, translating, guiding and communicating the change process towards digitalization. In the implications we discuss the dynamic nature of the implementation process in which organizations do not follow a sequential route but choose their own speed and time frame to implement digitalization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook of Line Managers
EditorsKeith Townsend, Anna Bos-Nehles, Kaifeng Jiang
Place of PublicationChaltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781839102745
ISBN (Print)9781839102738
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Business and Management series
PublisherEdward Elgar


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