A Qualitative Meta-analysis of digital leader’s role



One of the key success factors in the journey to digitalization is to cultivate and develop a new generation of leaders called “digital leaders”. Given the importance of this issue in the present era, researchers have addressed this role in many aspects as one of the essential factors determining the success of organizations in the digital age. However, the fundamental issue is what is the status of studies on digital leader’s role in terms of both structural and contextual perspectives? This is important because, to date, relevant researches have focused less on providing a complete picture of researches in this area. Accordingly, in response to this challenge, this research intends to provide a comprehensive view of the international conducted studies in the field of digital leader’s role. In order to achieve this, the qualitative meta-analysis was used to examine and analyze 46 studies in the field which each of them had a different perspective and methodology. For that purpose, we follow a structured and iterative process built on Okoli & Schabram’s guidelines and Fink’s approach to search, identify, and analyze the relevant literature. Finally, in order to evaluate the results of structural and contextual analysis, the peer debriefing strategy were used. The results showed that all conducted researches have predominant features both structurally and contextually. In this regard, in the structural perspective, “time distribution of studies, the method of data collection, the industry distribution of studies and the type of researcher participation” were evaluated. In the contextual perspective, based on the thematic synthesis, five main research themes including “drivers of role definition, goals and objectives, functions, role structure and role competencies” in the field of digital leader’s role were identified and finally, thematic network of the concepts and issues related to each area were drawn up. From the contextual point of view, results of this study showed that over recent years the number and quality of articles have increased, as well as the research focus has expanded to various dimensions; So that in 2019, all five areas of this role have been addressed in numerous studies. Overall, the findings of this article provide a basis for understanding the different research aspects in the field of digital leader’s role. It also provides a framework to design and develop researches in the field of digital leader’s role.