دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 19489
عنوان فارسی مقاله

رهبری تحول گرا در زمینه: تیم های مجازی و چهره به چهره

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
19489 2009 15 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Transformational leadership in context: Face-to-face and virtual teams
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 20, Issue 3, June 2009, Pages 343–357

کلمات کلیدی
- تیم های مجازی - پست رهبری - ارتباطات کامپیوتر با واسطه - رهبری تحول گرا - رهبری -
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پیش نمایش مقاله رهبری تحول گرا در زمینه: تیم های مجازی و چهره به چهره

چکیده انگلیسی

This experimental study examined transformational leadership in the context of traditional teams using face-to-face communication and virtual teams using computer-mediated communication. Thirty-nine leaders led both face-to-face and virtual teams. Repeated-measures analyses revealed similar mean levels of transformational leadership in both team types; however, leader rank order varied across team type. Post hoc analyses revealed that the most effective leaders where those who increased their transformational leadership in virtual teams. Furthermore, analyses at the team level revealed that the effect of transformational leadership on team performance was stronger in virtual than in face-to-face teams. Team-member ratings of transformational leadership were equally linked to project satisfaction in face-to-face and virtual teams. Considered as a whole, our results suggest that transformational leadership has a stronger effect in teams that use only computer-mediated communication, and that leaders who increase their transformational leadership behaviors in such teams achieve higher levels of team performance.

مقدمه انگلیسی

The advancement of new communication technologies in the workplace has given rise to a rapidly spreading business practice — the virtual project team (Bell and Kozlowski, 2002, Driskell et al., 2003 and Dundis and Benson, 2003). The typical virtual project team is characterized by temporary lifespan and membership (Avolio et al., 2001 and Bell and Kozlowski, 2002), spatial dispersion (Zaccaro and Bader, 2003 and Zigurs, 2003), and the use of predominantly computer-mediated communication (Driskell et al., 2003). Leaders of such teams face a unique set of challenges, such as successfully influencing team members while relying on computer-mediated communication. Yet, little is known about “which technological developments […] have the potential to change radically what we know [about leadership]” (Zigurs, 2003, p. 339). For this reason, it is becoming increasingly important to study leadership in context (Antonakis et al., 2003, House and Aditya, 1997 and Shamir and Howell, 1999), particularly in the electronic communication context of virtual teams. Important theoretical and empirical research on virtual leadership has begun to appear in the literature. A prime example is Avolio and colleagues' theoretical work (Avolio et al., 2001, Avolio and Kahai, 2002 and Avolio and Kahai, 2003), which coined the term “e-leadership” and employed adaptive structuation theory (DeSanctis & Poole, 1994) to explain how communication technologies may interact with team leaders and members to produce new team structures and cultures. Several lab studies examine the effects of transformational, transactional, participative, and directive leadership on various team outcomes, such as creativity, satisfaction with task and leader, communication, and team performance, in virtual teams (e.g., Kahai et al., 2003, Sosik, 1997, Sosik et al., 1998, Sosik et al., 1999 and Weisband, 2002). Qualitative studies provide information about the experiences of virtual leaders and team members with respect to issues such as effective and ineffective leadership behaviors, challenges virtual teams face, and practice-proven ideas for helping virtual teams function successfully (e.g., Hambley et al., 2007, Hart and McLeod, 2003 and Wiesenfeld et al., 1999). Generally, the findings of this literature speak to the importance of effective leadership behaviors, such as those specified by transformational leadership theory (Bass & Avolio, 1994), in virtual communication contexts. Specifically, this literature suggests that transformational and participative leadership behaviors are of greater importance in teams where communication is constrained by technology. Although the e-leadership literature makes an important contribution to our knowledge of virtual leadership, there have been few direct comparisons of leadership in virtual and face-to-face project teams. Thus, the primary purpose of our study is to provide such a comparison, with a focus on transformational leadership. In an experimental study, we address two questions related to whether and how leadership may differ in virtual and face-to-face teams. First, we use a within-person design to examine the extent to which leaders are consistent in their behaviors across settings. Do leaders alter their behavior to use more (or less) transformational leadership behaviors in virtual project teams, as compared to face-to-face project teams? Second, we compare the outcomes of transformational leadership in face-to-face and virtual teams. We test predictions from leadership and communication theories (e.g., Avolio et al.'s (2001) adaptive structuation theory and Reicher, Spears, & Postmes' (1995) social identity model of deindividuation effects), which suggest that transformational leadership behaviors may be associated more strongly with team effectiveness in virtual than in face-to-face project teams. We focus on transformational leadership because of its documented effectiveness in the research literature (see Judge & Piccolo, 2004), and because theory highlights the importance of transformational leadership in virtual teams (Avolio et al., 2001 and Bell and Kozlowski, 2002). Transformational leadership is comprised of idealized influence (also referred to as charisma), inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration behaviors. Leaders are charismatic when they inspire devotion and loyalty, display a strong commitment to ideals, and emphasize the importance of a collective mission. Leaders are inspirational when they appeal to employees' feelings and emotions, transmit an enthusiastic vision of the future, and express confidence about successful completion of goals. Leaders are intellectually stimulating when they question assumptions, challenge their employees intellectually, and encourage re-thinking of ideas. Leaders are individually considerate when they recognize the unique needs and abilities of their employees, treat employees as individuals, and coach and develop their employees. Substantial evidence has accrued that the four dimensions of transformational leadership are highly intercorrelated, and that their relations with outcome variables are similar (see Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). However, there may be theoretical and practical value to studying the four transformational leadership dimensions separately in some settings (Antonakis et al., 2003), especially when these settings have not received much research attention. Because the empirical literature on leadership in virtual communication settings is still young, in this study we examine the broad transformational composite (e.g., Bono and Judge, 2003 and Kark et al., 2003), as well as the transformational dimensions (e.g., Sosik et al., 1998). Further, leadership is a complex construct that could be described and measured in multiple ways. For example, transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1985) represents a clearly behavioral approach to leadership which specifies exactly what transformational leaders do. In contrast, attributional theories (e.g., Conger and Kanungo, 1987 and Shamir, 1992) and categorization theories (e.g., Lord, 1985, Lord and Maher, 1991 and Yukl, 1998) suggest that followers are likely to view leaders as charismatic if they fit a profile, and hence — that leadership is in the eye of the beholder. Rather than pitting these two philosophical approaches against each other, we take the position that both perspectives have merits as they assess different, yet equally valid, aspects of leadership. Hence, in this study, we examine both leadership behaviors (i.e., what leaders actually say and do as reported by independent observers) and leadership perceptions (i.e., what followers perceive leaders say and do). 1.1. Team type and leadership Whereas Avolio & Kahai (2003, p. 327) expressed confidence that “leadership mediated by technology can exhibit exactly the same content and style as traditional face-to-face leadership,” they agreed with Zigurs (2003) that we do not know how technology affects leadership or management. To better understand the impact of electronic communication technologies on leadership (both leadership behaviors and leadership perceptions), we draw from several communication theories, collectively known as technology-deterministic or cues-filtered-out approaches (e.g., Shannon and Weaver, 1949, Short et al., 1976, Daft and Lengel, 1984 and Sproull and Kiesler, 1986). These theories assert that face-to-face communication is superior to computer-mediated communication for the following reasons: 1) Face-to-face communication is richer in nonverbal (i.e., visual) and paraverbal (i.e., auditory) cues; 2) Face-to-face communication minimizes information loss due to the simultaneous usage of multiple communication channels; 3) Face-to-face communication maximizes feelings of social presence and conversational involvement; 4) Face-to-face communication transmits information about social standing and social context; and 5) Face-to-face communication is less physically and cognitively taxing than other communication media. The differences between face-to-face and virtual communication highlighted by technology-deterministic theories suggest that one might find less transformational leadership in virtual teams. Because electronic communication tends to be lacking in visual and auditory cues — the main carriers of emotional communication — transformational behaviors that are emotional in nature may occur less frequently in virtual teams. Both charisma (idealized influence) and inspirational motivation employ nonverbal and paraverbal cues (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996); hence, it may be hard to display and perceive these transformational behaviors in electronically-mediated communication settings. Virtual communication is also more confusing (Thompson & Coovert, 2003), more laborious and more cognitively taxing than face-to-face communication. For example, it takes at least four times longer to type than to speak (Hancock, 2004 and Walther, 1993). Hence, leaders may engage in less intellectual stimulation, because challenging employees to re-think their assumptions and engaging employees in the decision-making process may prove too difficult and time-consuming in virtual environments. In fact, in interview studies, members of virtual teams report that their leaders often employ one-way, top-down communication and that leaders micro-manage a lot (Hambley et al., 2007), suggesting that virtual followers do not find their leaders to be very intellectually stimulating. Research also reveals that task-orientated, to-the-point communication is the norm in virtual teams, at the expense of social–relational communication (Bordia, 1997, Cornelius and Boos, 2003, Hollingshead, 1996, Straus, 1997 and Thompson and Coovert, 2003). Furthermore, it has been suggested that managers think of electronic communication as a tool to achieve tasks, not as a relational tool (Chidambaram, 1996). If social–relational communication is displaced by task-oriented communication, relational leadership behaviors may also suffer. Specifically, leaders may engage in fewer individualized consideration behaviors, such as taking the time to establish close relationships with individual team members and to develop team members. In interview studies, both virtual leaders and virtual followers report that leaders are challenged to establish relationships with followers (Hambley et al., 2007). In sum, technology-deterministic communication theories predict, and preliminary data from qualitative studies reveals, that each of the transformational leadership behaviors will be harder to display in virtual than in face-to-face teams. In other words, technology-mediated communication can be expected to have an overall negative effect on leadership behaviors, as well as on followers' perceptions of leadership behaviors. Hypothesis 1. Transformational leadership, including the four components of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration, occurs less frequently in virtual than in face-to-face project teams. It is possible, however, that the contextual effects predicted in Hypothesis 1 may not be the same for all leaders. It is plausible that some leaders who are successful at using transformational leadership behaviors in face-to-face teams might use less of this type of leadership in virtual teams, or when forced to rely on electronic communication. Other leaders may believe that transformational leadership behaviors are more important in contexts where communication richness is limited, and, as a result, they may increase their transformational behaviors in virtual communication settings. Thus, an important issue examined in this study is the cross-situational consistency of leadership behaviors; do some leaders alter their behavior to match the team communication context? This question is practically significant as in a typical business setting, leaders may be responsible for both face-to-face and virtual teams (Malhotra, Majchrzak, & Rosen, 2007). Answering this question requires a within-person analysis, comparing the behavior of each leader across contexts. From a trait perspective, there is little reason to expect behavior to vary across situations. In fact, meta-analytic studies link personality and intelligence to leadership (Judge et al., 2002 and Judge et al., 2004). If leadership behavior is a function of certain traits and characteristics, then leaders might be expected to demonstrate similar behaviors across situations. Studies testing this consistency-specificity hypothesis have produced mixed results, however. Some researchers reported that leadership behaviors are consistent across situations (e.g., Albright and Forziati, 1995, Barnlund, 1962, Bell and French, 1950, Borgatta, 1954, Carter and Nixon, 1949, Geier, 1967, Gibb, 1950, Gordon and Medland, 1965, Schultz, 1974 and Zaccaro et al., 1991), but others found evidence that leadership behaviors vary by context (Barrow, 1976, Herold, 1977, Hill, 1973, Hill and Hughes, 1974 and James and White, 1983). The reason for these disparate findings may lie in how leadership has been operationalized. Whereas all of the studies reporting cross-situational consistency examined leadership emergence or leadership potential in small leaderless groups, all of the studies reporting cross-situational specificity examined the leadership behaviors or effectiveness of actual or assigned leaders. Leadership emergence is likely to be more stable than leadership behavior because emergence is more strongly correlated with personality (R = .53 compared to R = .39; Judge et al., 2002) and intelligence (ρ = .25 compared to ρ = .17; Judge et al., 2004) than is leadership effectiveness. Because we examine transformational leadership behaviors, we expect that our results will be consistent with previous investigations that find evidence for cross-situational specificity of leadership behaviors, such that leaders will vary in the extent and in the manner in which they alter their behavior to adapt to the situation. However, because some leaders may increase transformational behaviors in virtual settings, whereas others may reduce such behavior, we do not offer a directional hypothesis. Hypothesis 2. Transformational leadership behaviors vary, within leader, based on team context (virtual vs. face-to-face). 1.2. Team type and leadership effectiveness Due to the impoverished communication environment, virtual teams operate under conditions of challenge, confusion and uncertainty. Several different theories, all referencing the concept of weak situations, suggest that such contexts create the best opportunities for leadership to affect team outcomes. For example, Shamir & Howell (1999) argue that weak situations do not provide people with clear social or structural cues to guide their behavior, and that such contexts create opportunities for influence of charismatic and transformational leadership. Waldman and Yammarino (1999) take essentially the same position, as they argue that volatile situations, or situations of high uncertainty, increase the potential for charismatic and transformational leadership effects. Leaders who operate under weak, uncertain situations have a greater chance to appeal to and engage followers' self-concepts, values, and identities (Shamir & Howell, 1999), as well as to set inspiring goals, allay followers' concerns, generate confidence, and motivate performance (Waldman & Yammarino, 1999). The theoretical predictions of these leadership scholars are in perfect alignment with predictions derived from a new cluster of communication theories, referred to as social-deterministic theories (e.g., Reicher et al., 1995, Spears et al., 2001, Walther, 1996 and Walther and Burgoon, 1992). Specifically, social-deterministic theories argue that the uncertainty characteristic of virtual communication leads virtual interactants to experience a greater need for structure and socio-relational context than face-to-face interactants. Recently, Avolio and colleagues (e.g., Avolio et al., 2001, Avolio and Kahai, 2002 and Avolio and Kahai, 2003) proposed a new theory of e-leadership, which describes how leadership interacts with communication technology in the modern workplace. The central point made by this theory is that virtual teams need not necessarily suffer the effects of leaner communication media. Rather, virtual teams can adapt the technology to suit their needs by creating a new culture of technology use. Virtual team leaders are expected to play an essential role in this adaptation process. Avolio et al. (2001) stated: “we take the position that the successful appropriation of advanced information technology is tied to the type of leadership system in which it is placed” (p. 623). In particular, Avolio and colleagues predicted that virtual teams with participative leaders should outperform virtual teams with directive leaders. Hence, this new theory of e-leadership also recognizes the crucial role of leadership in virtual contexts. The idea that leadership is crucial in virtual teams has already received some support in case studies of virtual teams. For example, Armstrong & Cole (2002) reported that good leadership differentiated successful from unsuccessful virtual teams. Specifically, leaders who generated discussion among team members, strove to reach agreement, modeled group norms, coached team members, acknowledged difficulties posed by distance and virtual communication, created concrete expectations and goals, and rewarded performance led more successful virtual teams. Malhotra et al. (2007) studied 54 virtual teams from 14 industries, and observed six specific behaviors of successful virtual leaders — establishing trust, ensuring that team members feel understood and appreciated, managing virtual meetings, monitoring team progress, enhancing the external visibility of team members, and ensuring that individuals benefit from their participation in virtual teams. In a 4-week study of student virtual teams, Weisband (2002) found that leaders who created awareness about other team members' progress on their individual tasks, schedules, and personal lives and interests, as well as clarified the project task requirements, led more successful virtual teams. Many of the leadership behaviors described in these studies clearly fall into the domain of transformational leadership. In sum, virtual communication creates a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity in virtual followers, and opens the door for transformational leaders to influence followers. Transformational leaders are in a position to provide a sense of social context, to structure the work, and to create a sense of predictability and certainty. Therefore, we expect that when transformational leadership behaviors are used in virtual project teams, they may have greater impact than when used in face-to-face project teams. Hypothesis 3. Team type will moderate the effects of transformational leadership on team performance, such that there will be a stronger association between transformational leadership and team performance in virtual teams than in face-to-face teams. Hypothesis 4. Team type will moderate the effects of transformational leadership on project satisfaction, such that there will be a stronger association between transformational leadership and project satisfaction in virtual teams than in face-to-face teams.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

The two primary aims of our study were 1) to examine the consistency of leaders' transformational leadership behaviors in face-to-face and virtual teams, and 2) to determine whether the effects of transformational leadership behavior differ by team type. Overall, our results suggest considerable variability in leaders' behavior across face-to-face and virtual teams. Further, transformational leadership behaviors were more strongly linked to performance in virtual than in face-to-face teams. Leaders who increased their transformational leadership behaviors with virtual teams achieved the highest level of overall team performance. Because there was considerable variability in whether and how leaders changed their behavior across team types, overall mean level differences in transformational leadership in virtual and face-to-face teams were not found. One key finding of our study is that leaders changed their behavior across team types (i.e., a leader's leadership behavior in one team did not predict that leader's behavior in the other team). Further, the nature of the change (increasing or decreasing transformational leadership in virtual vs. face-to-face teams) was not consistent across leaders. Although it has been suggested that, on the average, technology-mediated leaders can exhibit exactly the same content and style as traditional face-to-face leaders ( Avolio and Kahai, 2003 and Zigurs, 2003), our results suggest that this may not always be the case. Our findings are more consistent with the literature on cross-situational consistency and specificity, which finds that when leadership behavior (as opposed to leadership emergence) is assessed, leaders tend to adapt their behaviors in response to situational demands (e.g., Hill and Hughes, 1974 and James and White, 1983). Overall, our data suggest that leaders tend to adapt their behaviors based on context, but they do not do so in a uniform fashion. In light of this finding, an important issue for future research is to examine the determinants of leaders' behavior change. Our results raise the intriguing possibility of individual differences in leaders' reactions to communication media. For example, it may be that more intelligent leaders, leaders high on adaptability or self-monitoring, or leaders who use electronic communication more frequently, know that increasing their transformational leadership behaviors is important in virtual teams. In contexts where managers are leading both face-to-face and virtual teams, it would be useful to predict which leaders will increase their transformational behaviors with their virtual teams, as these are the individuals who had the highest overall levels of team performance in our study. Another important issue raised by our study is the extent to which mean level comparisons of leadership behaviors across team types can be misleading. On the surface, our comparison of mean levels of transformational leadership in virtual and face-to-face teams appears to suggest that leaders did not alter their behavior based on communication medium. Yet, our within-person comparisons suggest that behaviors do change with context, but not in a uniform manner for all leaders. We found no significant associations between leaders behavior across contexts because some leaders increased their transformational behaviors in virtual teams, and other leaders either decreased them or made no change at all. A second key finding of our study is that transformational leadership had a stronger effect on team performance in virtual than in face-to-face teams. Our data suggest that transformational leadership behaviors are especially instrumental to team performance under the more ambiguous communication conditions created by electronic communication media. Hence, transformational leadership appears to be more “in demand” under virtual communication conditions. This finding is in complete agreement with theoretical predictions from both the leadership (i.e., Shamir and Howell, 1999 and Waldman and Yammarino, 1999) and the communication literature (i.e., Reicher et al., 1995, Spears et al., 2001, Walther, 1996 and Walther and Burgoon, 1992), which argue that effective leadership has a greater opportunity to influence people and outcomes under conditions of social and psychological uncertainty. Further, leaders who increased their transformational leadership behaviors in their virtual teams, relative to their face-to-face teams, led the most successful teams. This result provides support for Avolio and colleagues new theory of e-leadership (Avolio et al., 2001, Avolio and Kahai, 2002 and Avolio and Kahai, 2003), which argues that leaders who “appropriate” technology effectively can overcome the challenges posed by virtual communication to lead effective teams. While we acknowledge that our study was not designed to answer the question, Why is transformational leadership particularly important in virtual teams?, we offer several potential explanations which future research can investigate. One, it is possible that virtual team members feel less known when interacting with others in the impersonal environment created by virtual media. By developing high quality relationships with virtual followers, transformational leaders can increase followers' sense of being known, thus helping them feel appreciated and important. Second, virtual team followers might have a harder time bonding together in the absence of direct, face-to-face interactions. Transformational leaders can help followers identify with the team's task and goals by developing a sense of common mission, team cohesion and team identity. Third, much research reports that virtual team members are confused and overwhelmed by the less natural communication environment. Transformational leaders can introduce a sense of purpose and certainty by setting specific goals and developing agendas for goal achievement. Research by Kahai et al. (2003) suggests several additional mechanisms through which transformational leaders can impact team outcomes in virtual teams, such as increasing follower motivation and decreasing social loafing. There were two other results of our study that deserve mention. First, when we looked at project satisfaction, we did not replicate the moderation effect we found for the link between leadership and team performance. Regardless of team type, members who perceived transformational leadership behaviors from their leaders were more satisfied with the project. Hence, an important prerequisite for follower satisfaction in both face-to-face and virtual teams is that leaders are seen as transformational. Second, there was a reasonable degree of convergence between our two measures of leadership — behavioral counts and perceptual ratings — despite the measurement error present in both. This highlights the point we made earlier, namely, that leadership is a complex phenomenon which can be measured in different, yet valid, ways. Methodologically, our study has several strengths. One strength was that our data came from three different sources: project satisfaction and leadership ratings were based on team-member reports, team performance was based on objective ratings by four independent judges, and transformational leadership behaviors were assessed by independent observers, who were trained to identify these behaviors. A second strength of our study was our use of a repeated-measures design, which allowed us to examine consistency in leader behavior across contexts. Finally, because our study used an experimental design, we have some confidence that observed changes in leader behavior across team types were due to differences between conditions in communication media. Despite these strengths, we acknowledge several limitations as well. First, this was a lab study using college students who did not know each other and who worked on a contrived task for one hour. Thus, it is critical that our results be replicated in a work organization in which managers lead both face-to-face and virtual teams. It is important to note, however, the temporary and short-term nature of many virtual project teams in business organizations, which suggests that our simulation may not be all that different from reality. A second limitation of our study is that although our recruitment techniques were designed to encourage students to self-select into the leader role, our leaders had no formal training or experience. It is plausible that experienced managers and leaders, or managers and leaders who have received training on how to be effective in electronic communication environments, will alter their behavior more or less across contexts than our leaders did. A third limitation of our study was the youth of our sample. Although the use of electronic communication has become widespread in work organizations, these young college students have grown up with such communications, and both leaders and team members in our study may have adapted to electronic communication easily. It is possible that our results would not generalize to a sample of mature workers, especially those who are unfamiliar with electronic communication media. Furthermore, managers' experiences with electronic communication might also be an important determinant of the extent to which they would alter their behavior when assigned to lead a virtual project team. Fourth, close to 70% of the leaders in our sample were women. Although meta-analyses on gender and leadership have shown minute differences in leadership ratings and effectiveness between the sexes (e.g., Eagly & Carli, 2003), replication of these findings with a more gender-balanced sample is warranted. Finally, due to the short-lived nature of our project, we did not use all MLQ items in assessing team-members' perceptions of their leaders. Replicating this study in an organizational setting will allow researchers to tap team members' perceptions of a broader subset of transformational behaviors in which team leaders may engage. In addition to the future research avenues already mentioned, this study can be extended in several other ways. First, future research should compare the effectiveness of other successful leader behaviors, such as contingent reward, or initiating structure and consideration, in face-to-face and virtual contexts. A second important issue for future research is to explore the role of time. It is plausible that the effects we found for transformational leadership on team performance may only be relevant during initial stages of team formation. Alternatively, early leader and team-member interactions may set the tone for all future interactions, thus leading to long-term effects of transformational leadership in virtual teams. Clearly, a longitudinal study of virtual leadership and team outcomes is needed. Third, in the spirit of experimental research, our study simulated the two most extreme ends of team virtuality — all team members communicating face-to-face for the duration of the project versus all team members communicating via text-based communication for the duration of the project. In practice, project teams can be characterized by different degrees of virtuality (Griffith et al., 2003, Kirkman and Mathieu, 2005 and Martins et al., 2004). For example, hybrid teams consist of some members who share the same geographic location and who, therefore, are more likely to use face-to-face communication with members of their own subgroup than with members of other subgroups. Or, face-to-face project teams may still exchange emails to coordinate their work, while virtual project teams may use audio and video communication in addition to text. Such variations in team virtuality may constraint or enhance the effects of transformational leadership, an issue that was not addressed in our study. Lastly, virtual teams can be self-managed. Hence, a future study could investigate leadership emergence in self-managed virtual teams, as well as compare team outcomes of virtual teams with an assigned leader to outcomes of virtual teams with an emergent leader. In conclusion, our study enriches the e-leadership and virtual teams literatures (Avolio et al., 2001, Avolio and Kahai, 2003 and Avolio and Kahai, 2002) in two respects. Theoretically, our study integrates extant leadership theory with new data relevant to e-leadership and communication. Our results are consistent with the notion that social and emotional forms of leadership are more important under conditions where modes of communication are leaner and greater uncertainty exists. Practically, our results highlight the role of leadership in virtual teams, demonstrating that findings from the existing literature linking transformational leadership to team performance can be extended to virtual teams. They also suggest a need for methods to identify leaders who appropriately adjust their behavior to the team context. Because the use of virtual project teams is on the rise in organizations, we hope that this study will stimulate ongoing research on how managers can be more effective when leading virtual teams.

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