Leading Digital Transformation: The Scandinavian Way

  • Bendik Bygstad
  • Hans-Petter Aanby
  • Jon Iden
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 294)


Digital transformation can be seen as the mutual reinforcement of process redesign and innovative use of IT. The literature on digital transformation focuses on digital business strategy and the transformational CIO. Stakeholder engagement in combination with leadership style is seldom discussed. Our research questions are (i) what characterises leadership in the digital transformation, and (ii) what does the Scandinavian workplace model add to the knowledge of digital transformation? Our empirical evidence is the digital transformation in a large airline, the SAS, during the years 2013–2016. The process was very turbulent but eventually quite successful. We identify two Scandinavian contributions to transformation research: firstly, the deep engagement with employees, including trade unions, supports a structured process with a focus on finding solutions, not conflicts. Second, a coaching leadership style, allowing space for autonomy, leverages the competence of highly-skilled employees.


Digital transformation Transformational leadership Scandinavian workplace model CIO Case study 



We thank the informants for their time and engagement.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.NHH Norwegian School of EconomicsBergenNorway
  3. 3.OptimiseIT ASDillingNorway

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