Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Marcus Lam, PhD, Chair; Hans Peter Schmitz, PhD, Member; Afsaneh Nahavandi, PhD, Member


leadership, technostress, cognitive resource theory


The integration of advanced information systems and technology within organizations can generate "technostress" in workers. Technostress is created from the inability of individuals to adapt to the technological changes in the workplace and stems from perceptions of technical complexity, uncertainty, skills insecurity, task overload, and blurring of work-home boundaries. High levels of technostress can lead to reduced job satisfaction, commitment, and health outcomes among managers, and can result in lost organizational productivity. While technostress impacts have gained attention, research within leadership studies is limited.

To understand the relationship between technostress and group performance, the cognitive resource (CR) theory of leadership was used as the guiding theoretical framework. CR theory posits stress as a moderator between leader attributes – such as directive behavior, intellectual abilities, experience, alongside task characteristics – and group performance. Thus, technostressors were hypothesized to negatively moderate the relationship between group performance in relation to age (H1), directive leadership (H2), and intellectual abilities (H3).

Directive leadership and intellectual abilities were measured using the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire and Cognitive Reflection Test, respectively. Ragu-Nathan et al.'s (2008) technostress questionnaire measured techno-uncertainty, techno-complexity, and techno-insecurity. Demographic factors such as age, gender, and education were also measured. For intelligent automation, Sheridan and Verplank's (1978) automation scale was used. Group performance measures included self-assessed on-schedule and effectiveness ratings.

Data was collected via Amazon's MTurk platform with a final sample size of 204 managers in the United States across industries. Analysis was conducted using logistic regression. Results indicate partial support for hypothesis 1 and hypothesis 2, where higher technostress dampened positive group performance in relation to age and directive leadership. Yet, it was noted that techno-insecurity slightly improved group performance in relation to directive leadership. Partial support was also found for hypothesis 3, where leaders' intellectual abilities negatively influenced group performance under higher technostress. Finally, no significant relationship was observed between intellectual abilities and intelligent automation.

Findings are consistent with stress, technostress, and leadership literature. The study supports CR theory’s potential to examine technostress and points to the multidimensional nature of technostress with varied impacts, both positive and negative, on group and organizational outcomes.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only


Leadership Studies

Available for download on Wednesday, June 07, 2023