Knowledge Management without Strong Technology and Strategy Leads to Failure

Executives need to understand that transformational leadership supports information technology and corporate strategy to effectively implement knowledge management projects and, thus, remain competitive.

Information technology and corporate strategy positively affect knowledge management effectiveness. This is how competitive advantage can become a distinctive resource that opens up opportunities while avoiding possible threats, including takeover and acquisitions. It is critical that executives understand that transformational leadership supports information technology and corporate strategy to effectively implement knowledge management projects and, thus, remain competitive.

Leading Technology and Knowledge Using Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders develop relationships and interactions within companies, set desired expectations, and inspire followers to identify further opportunities in their business environment. The idealized influence aspect of transformational leadership can be considered as an important facilitator of technological communication, which enhances interactions among organizational members and departments and improves the extent to which knowledge is shared and accessible for all employees. As such, transformational leaders enhance effectiveness when they blend technological communication to enhance their leadership role. For example, Dianne Yee posits that a transformational leader becomes a role model who highlights the importance of the application of information technology. Scholars Jeroen Schepers, Martin Wetzels, and Ko de Ruyter conducted empirical research in which they portrayed a significant correlation between transformational leadership and perceived usefulness of information technology within companies.

Executives also spend a great deal of time conceptualizing strategic endeavors. Selby Noseworthy affirms that the strategic role of transformational leaders is enhanced when information technology implementation occurs at the right time and place. Transformational leaders, in fact, raise levels of awareness about the importance of technology and empower people to improve information technology implementation within organizations. This managerial implementation improves competitive advantage by increasing a company's capability to better utilize knowledge and enhancing the time and efficiency of task significance, leading to satisfied followers who take better care of stakeholders. Thus, transformational leadership builds a foundational platform for effectively leading information technology and managing knowledge within companies.

Corporate Strategy Must Include Transformational Leadership

Corporate strategy includes four dimensions:

  • Analysis
  • Pro-Activeness
  • Defensiveness
  • Futurity

The first aspect, “analysis,” focuses on identifying the best solutions for the organizational problem. Transformational leaders apply this strategy to create more innovative solutions for organizational problems. Thus, this strategy is highly associated with a company’s capacity to create new knowledge. The second aspect, “pro-activeness,” emphasizes the effectiveness of long-term decisions. Transformational leaders employ this kind of strategy to develop a vision of adopting more comprehensive information about the future. This strategy can enhance the knowledge utilization process, thereby developing guidelines for future pathways and determining future trends in the external environment and allocating resources accordingly.

Transformation leaders can apply the third aspect, “defensiveness,” by taking into account the objectives of strategic implication that seeks to decrease organizational costs and redundancies. While transformational leaders focus on implementing changes, a defensive strategy can be used to modify the current processes to enhance organizational efficiencies. The fourth aspect, “futurity,” incorporates a pro-active strategy that identifies the opportunities that are available but not always addressed in the business, the global environment, and the political regulation changes. This kind of strategy also can be enhanced by transformational leaders as they adopt a strategic posture that inspires employees to identify better opportunities in both the internal and external environment. In many ways, a futurity strategy could enhance knowledge transfer by developing interactions with both departmental units and the business environment. The key here is that corporate strategy has a positive effect on knowledge management. Without a grasp of this tenet, executives are bound to fail.

Work in Progress

Transformational leadership is tantamount to an executive’s success. It has an indirect effect on improving knowledge management effectiveness by implementing a change initiative to facilitate knowledge management processes within companies. Scholarly research on the subject can be applied in the organizational boardroom, particularly in the form of channeling knowledge management into organizational constructs and engaging in the practice of transformational leadership. Furthermore, I would suggest that scholars take our ideas and continue to conduct research using executives as the focal point, so academic scholarship can meet the needs of managerial implications in the higher echelons of organizations worldwide.


Yee, D., 2000, “Images of school principals’ information and communications technology leadership,” Journal of Information Technology for teacher Education, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 287-302.

Schepers, J.; Wetzels, M.; and de Ruyter, K., 2005, “Leadership styles in technology acceptance," Journal of Managing Service Quality, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 496-508.

Noseworthy, S. 1998, “Transformational leadership and information technology: Implications for secondary school leaders” (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr, works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in organizations, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and long-time contributor to and Consulting Magazine. 


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