Leading Agents or Stewards? Exploring Design Principles for Empowerment through Workplace Technologies

Maren Gierlich-Joas, Valentin Zieglmeier, Rahild Neuburger, Thomas Hess

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Workplace technologies lead to increasing levels of transparency for managers and employees. On the one hand, transparency facilitates novel styles of work, but on the other hand, it drives employee privacy concerns. Despite the technical possibilities to monitor employees, workforce demands empowerment leadership and challenges the assumptions from agency theory. Thus, following a design science research process and collaborating closely with the software provider SoftCo over three years, we aim to develop a suitable technical solution to the changing needs. We build on the knowledge base of stewardship theory, the concept of transparency, and existing market solutions. The design cycles are driven by literature search and empirical investigations, such as qualitative interviews at SoftCo. In this research-in-progress paper, we derive design requirements, design principles, and design features for digital leadership innovations that facilitate stewardship behavior and outline our further research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication ICIS 2021 Proceedings
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationAtlanta
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2021
Article number1519
ISBN (Print)9781733632591
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021: Building Sustainability and Resilience With is: A Call for Action - Austin, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202115 Dec 2021
Conference number: 42


ConferenceThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Transparency
  • Workplace technologies
  • Stewardship theory
  • Design science research

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