The role of charismatic leadership in diffusion and implementation of e-mail

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Abstract:

Past research on electronic mail (e-mail) has established this information technology as an effective means for achieving intra- and inter-organizational co-ordination. Current research on e-mail has gone beyond the technical aspects of implementation to the non-technical, namely, the social aspects. This paper follows the current trend by considering the role of leadership in diffusion and implementation of e-mail. A case study which describes the introduction of e-mail to a university community, is presented. The diffusion of e-mail was strongly supported by the charismatic president of the university and was a technical success. It was, however, followed by a series of political events that undermined the leadership of the president. The discussion focuses on how leadership theories, paritcularly current theories on charismatic leadership, can explain the technical success of the project and its turbulent political side-effects. The conclusions outline implications for managers and information systems practitioners.

Keywords: Electronic mail; Implementation; Leadership

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621719910261175

Publication date: April 1, 1999

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