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Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 1

Marking criteria:

� Coherent and convincing identification of a major challenge facing organisations in the contemporary

world 20%

� Identification of relevant leadership and negotiation concepts, and insightful application to the essay

topic 25%

� Evidence of reading from a range of sources; careful referencing 15%

� Critical and independent thinking 15%

� Good structure: an effective introduction and conclusion, logical organisation of material, effective use

of paragraphs, integration of all sections into a unitary whole 15%

� Clear expression of ideas, well edited, high standard of presentation and attention to details 10%


Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 2


Leadership in a technologically dominated workplace is a challenging endeavour that
requires targeted strategies to ensure that technology impacts the organizations in a positive
manner. In the contemporary world where a majority of work processes are technology-driven,
leaders must take strategic actions to manage continuous change, anxiety, fear and related factors
associated with technology adoption. It is also imperative that employees have the right capacity
to utilize technology by ensuring that they have the required skills and capabilities. The growing
use of biometric e-passports presents an example of how technology affects organisations,
including the challenges of adoption and implementation. This paper is a discussion on leading
in technology dominated workplaces, with a major focus on biometric e-passports. The
discussion comprises challenges faced by modern organisations, relevant leadership and
negotiation concepts and their application in the context of leading in a technologically
dominated workplace.


There is an evident rise in the use of biometric e-passports, with almost half of UN
member states utilizing the technology. Biometric e-passports are aimed at promoting efficiency
while reducing costs. The technology which comprises a microprocessor chip with the biometric
information of the holder is a combined electric and paper passport (Jules, Molnar & Wagner,
2016). The passport, which utilises contactless smartcard technology was developed with the

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 3

objective of improving security and increasing efficiency through automation. To authenticate
data, the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used. This infrastructure is significantly expensive
and this challenges the technology’s implementation even after security mechanisms have been
set up. As a project that is largely considered a government role, challenges are likely to be
witnessed in implementation before all airports can adopt the technology. As with any other
change process, technology integration in organisations comes with considerable challenges,
mostly associated with resistance to change, infrastructure challenges and lack of adequate skills
to operate the technology.

Organisations introducing new technologies face the challenge of resistance to change,
which refers to the tendency of intended users wanting to maintain the status quo (Saskia Bayerl,
Lauche & Axtell, 2016). In essence, they are not ready to change their mode of operation to
adopt new technologies. Therefore, leaders in technologically dominated organisation must be
motivated to encourage followers to embrace new technology. Griffin, RW & Moorhead (2011)
and Nilsen, et al (2016), identify various factors that lead to technological change resistance.
These include fear and uncertainty on what the new technology holds, the need to change
processes to accommodate the changes, need for technology-specific skills and possible
difficulties in operating new technology. The biometric e-passport currently faces challenges of
resistance, with opponents citing that there is no available information regarding what will be
included in the chip and the level of security it provides.

Communication plays an imperative role in determining the effectiveness of technology
acceptance and adoption in an organisation (Scărlătescu, 2014; Saskia Bayerl, Lauche & Axtell,
2016). This means that employees should be adequately informed regarding any changes in

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 4

technology or adoption of technology within the organization in order to ensure that they are
psychologically prepared. Unfortunately, such communication is overlooked, particularly where
hierarchical differences exist, such that employees get to know about the technology when it has
already been implemented and they are expected to adopt it. According to Leanne & Waldman
(2012), communication aids in reducing resistance to change by involving employees in the
change process. In order to achieve this effectively, employees need to be involved from the
start, by helping them understand the technology, its use, how it will improve organisational
processes and how it will affect their work. When employees are actively involved in the set up
process, they are more likely to understand the need for the technology and embrace it.

Technology implementation remains one of the most significant challenge in
technologically dominated organisations. In their research on adoption and implementation of
technology, Kyratsis, Ahmad & Holmes (2012) establish that the ‘how-to’ or the information
necessary for effective implementation of innovation at both the organisational and individual
level determines the success of technology implementation. There is need to instil the right
knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that employees can effectively execute technology
change. In the use of the biometric e-passport, users need knowledge on how to troubleshoot and
detect untrustworthy information.

Heshan, Yulin & Haiyun (2016)notes that in the adoption of technology, there is no
universal technology and that organisations must seek to identify a structural, strategic and
cultural fit before making a decision to adopt. A majority of organisation do not put this into
consideration and this ends up affecting its applicability. Many companies will invest in
technology because it is a trend in the market, without taking the time to understand how the

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 5

technology fits into the organisation’s strategy, whether the organisation’s infrastructure is
adequate to support the technology effectively and whether the organisation’s culture fits well
with the new technology. Where there is no strategic or structural fit, implementation becomes
difficult and it ends up being a waste of the organisation’s resources. In the case of biometric e-
passports, the challenge has been ensuring that airports are equipped with the necessary
infrastructure to support the function.

Technological malfunctions present a significant challenge in the management of
technologically dominated organisations. Technology and technological equipment are highly
susceptible to malfunctioning and a myriad of risks including power and network challenges,
loss of data, malware, intrusion and cyberattacks (Florio, 2012). These affect the use of
technology due to disruption of operations. Technology has been known to paralyse
organisational operations for long periods of time, leading to losses and major inconveniences.
Biometric e-passports require reliable power and internet connection and in the event that these
are not available, the e-passports would be rendered useless.

There is a looming challenge over technology integration in organisations, given
technology is seen as a substitution for process implementation as opposed to being a
complementary. With the increasing use of technology, there is increased automation in
organisations, which leads to the loss of intellectual knowledge. ISMP Canada (2016) notes that
people are so reliant on technology that they cannot solve simple problems without the use of
technology. The use of biometric e-passport is one such automation and its use could challenge
physical verification, thus increase the risk of identity theft (Jules, Molnar & Wagner, 2016).

Leadership and negotiation concepts

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 6

Leading in technologically dominated workplaces requires proactive leadership, to ensure
effective integration of technology into the organisation. Therefore, it is important for leaders in
such organisations to identify a leadership style that augments their strategy (Chaneski, 2016).

Transformational leadership encompasses leading by encouraging and motivating others. This
means that the leader provides followers with clear goals of the technology and how it will
impact their lives. Kunnanatt (2016) notes that in the application of transformational leadership,
openness and trust play a significant role in influencing leadership efficiency, hence the need to
have an open approach during implementation of any change process (Effelsberg, Solga & Gurt,
2014). This way, the followers are likely to be motivated to implement the technology because
they understand and own the process (Jiao & Zhao, 2014). In addition, they are more actively
involved in the development of innovative ways to counter effects of technological changes. In
order to facilitate smooth adoption of technology, transformational leaders are more likely to
provide learning opportunities for followers including trainings. Transformational leaders also
take the time to inspire and promote intellectual stimulation, such that followers can participate
in the development of future technology (Jain & Duggal, 2016). Through recognition of
followers who perform well in technology use, leaders can encourage high level performance
and effective adoption of technology (Northouse, 2016). Individualised consideration
characterised by interpreting challenges at the individual level to address specific problems also
present transformational leadership as an effective leadership in the implementation of
technology (Dwyer, et al, 2013).

Transactional leadership is considered less effective in managing change and in particular
technological change. This is because instead of influencing followers through empowerment

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 7

and creating opportunities for learning, leaders use their authority to demand compliance from
followers. Transactional leaders are more interested on reaching set goals and give little
consideration to how these will be achieved. Accordingly, they are more likely to promise
reward for performance and use punishment for non-performance; without necessarily guiding or
empowering followers on what is expected of them. As a result, followers are likely to be
dependent on the leader’s power to promote technology adoption, thus inhibiting creativity in
implementation (Mullins, 2013). In a majority of cases, followers are not involved in the process
of technology adoption and only learn of it when they are required to implement it. Given the
level of difficulty involved in utilizing new technology, there is the likelihood of conflicts within
the organisation because there is no positive influence from the leader (Northouse, 2016). The
fact that non-compliance is addressed through punishment leads to more resistance to change and
the process of technology adoption may be slow and ineffective.

Maruping & Magni (2015) identify employee ownership of technology as the main
driving force towards effective technology adoption. This is effectively addressed under the
LMX theory, which seeks to incorporate followers as part of the in group. Leaders utilizing this
style are likely to be inclusive and engaging in a bid to influence greater contribution by the
employees. According to Mullins (2013), change processes are more effectively achieved when
followers understand what the change is all about and when they are encouraged to participate in
the change process. This makes the LMX theory highly applicable for technologically dominated
organisations because leaders seek to be on the same level with followers in terms of
understanding and interpretation of change. Due to the effective collaboration demonstrated in
LMX theory, implementing new technology is likely to be highly effective and less costly.

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 8

Implications for leadership and recommendations

Technologically dominated companies face considerable challenges every time a new
technology is being adopted, mostly due to the process of change that may affect the
organisation’s culture and disrupt employees from their usual way of doing things. Influencing
positive change and adjustment to new technology requires leaders in such organisations to be
proactive in terms of involving employees in the process. As in the transformational and LMX
theory, involving employees in the process and impacting them through positive influence plays
an important role in acceptance of new technology and motivates them to own the process. In
this respect, leaders should refrain from transactional processes and focus on seeing beyond
financial incentives. Leaders should focus on creating purpose for work through motivating and
encouraging employees to be part of the organisation (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2015).

Communication emerges as an important aspect in promoting effective change adoption. Leaders
in technologically dominated organisations need to establish communication with followers in
order to understand how technological changes affect them and also provide a channel for
obtaining feedback for future needs.

Technology is considered a means to improved efficiency within the organisation, made possible
through automation. This technically means that work is likely to be done faster and more
accurately. Based on this, it is an opportunity for leaders to allow employees shorter working
hours as technology increasingly reduces human labour. This would play a great role in
enhancing motivation and increasing performance.

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 9


Technology adoption, like any other change process is a complex undertaking that
requires effective collaboration and ownership by both the leaders and followers. Having an
effective leadership process ensures that change can be managed effectively through encouraging
followers to embrace the change. Through an efficient reward and motivation system, leaders
can encourage technology adoption in their organisations, through encouraging employee
participation. By involving them from the beginning, an organisation ensures that it will have
employee support during implementation of technology. This is because the employees are
conversant with the intended technology, understand its relevance and are of how their roles will
be affected by the new changes. In adopting the biometric e-passport, special attention should be
paid to the concerns voiced by users in order to ensure that it serves the intended purpose.

Leading in Increasingly Technological Dominated Workplaces 10

Reference list

Chaneski, WS 2016, Employing the Right Leadership Style, Modern Machine Shop, 89, 6,

pp. 44-46, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 December 2016.

Dwyer, P, Bono, J, Snyder, M, Nov, O, & Berson, Y 2013, ‘Sources of Volunteer Motivation:

Transformational Leadership and Personal Motives Influence Volunteer Outcomes’,
Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 24, 2, pp. 181-205, Business Source Complete,

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