Moving beyond showcase: The five faces of leadership in smart city transformation

Jocelyn Cranefield, Jan Pries-Heje

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


The smart city concept is used as tool by local and municipal governments to deliver benefits relating to people, government, economy, mobility, environment and living. By embedding technologies and the internet of things in the city’s infrastructure, smart cities aim to generate insights that drive local im-provements and accrue to a global level. The smart city is also viewed as a transformative lever for government. As cities move beyond smart city pilot showcasing projects, they face the challenge of embedding smart city initiatives in business-as-usual. Despite ambitious goals and high stakes, little is known about the work that leaders perform in undertaking this transformation. This study explored the leadership practice of smart city leaders in Denmark, Holland, USA, Australia and New Zealand. We focus on how leaders drive transformation from showcasing to becoming a sustainable smart city, and the challenges faced. As result we present a framework of six barriers to overcome and five enacted leadership roles to transform the city of today to a future sustainable smart city. We use institutional logics as a lens to discuss and explain the challenges faced by city leaders and their critical role as innovation agents and boundary spanners in smart city transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm & Uppsala, Sweden, June 8-14, 2019
Number of pages16
PublisherAIS Association
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-1-7336325-0-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event27th European Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems for a Sharing Society - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 8 Jun 201914 Jun 2019


Conference27th European Conference on Information Systems
LocationStockholm University
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Smart city
  • Transformation
  • Leadership
  • sustainability
  • Institutional logics

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