Online Leadership

28/05/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Online leadership is a social influence process, mediated by technology, to produce a change in attitudes, feelings, thinking, behavior, and performance with individuals, groups, or organizations to direct them toward achieving a specific goal;. As stated by Avolio and Kahai (2002), this involves enhancing the relationships among organizational members in a context in which work is mediated by technology. In this case, communication and the collection and dissemination of information occurs via information technology. Traditionally, leadership in organizations involve face-to-face interactions. Now, leaders may lead entire projects from a distance and interact with followers solely through information technology. Today, organizations are incorporating technology that interactions, creating a need for e-leadership. This wiring involves forms of technology such as videoconferencing, online collaboration software, cellphones, e-mail, and Wi-Fi. As a result, organizations are struggling with technological-integration issues while employees face a steep learning curve;. However, our understanding of how information systems change human dynamics has lagged behind the introduction and use of new technology. Thus, technology is being used without knowing the full extend of its impact on human dynamics in organizations.

Online leadership Research

Researchers have investigated online leadership in both the organizational and laboratory setting. According to Avolio and Kahai (2002), field studies of virtual teams suggest that early interactions during the formation of the teams can predict subsequent trust, satisfaction, and performance. For example, teams who spent early meetings identifying team members and clarifying expectations were found to have higher performance several months later. Thus, in order to provide virtual teams with a reason to work together, e-leaders should promote interdependence and reliance on each other. It must be noted that virtual teams may be geographically and culturally dispersed. Thus, in order to foster close relationships in geographically dispersed team, leaders should encourage a variety of task related communication. Online leadership has also been investigated in more controlled settings. According to, controlled experiments on e-leadership suggest that participative leadership may be more suitable for generating solutions for un- or semi-structured problems while directive leadership may be more suitable for generating solutions for structured problems. These studies also report that features of the groupware system that is used for communication may substitute for leadership. Finally, controlled experiments also report that motivation is enhanced by anonymity. Thus, e-leaders should probably consider using anonymous chat rooms and polls as mentioned previously.

Online Leadership Approaches/Styles

Online leadership can involve the same style and content as traditional face-to-face leadership, especially as the advancement of technology enables more visual virtual interactions. Participative leadership involves creating opportunities for individuals to be more involved in decision-making. Considering the importance of having members involved in the decision-making process, participative e-leaders can use technology such as chat rooms with anonymous input and electronic polls as tools to inform both their followers and themselves. Like the more traditional transformational leadership, e-leadership can also be inspiring. To this end, e-leaders can use tools such as e-mail to communicate compelling visions, pride in the accomplishments of followers, or excitement about new ventures.

Successful online leadership

No one can deny that being a successful leader requires building relationships and trust. However, in the case of e-leadership, one may have the added challenge of building relationships and trust more rapidly. Close personal relationships are possible in virtual settings and leaders can aid in fostering them by considering factors of media richness. In choosing modes of communication, these leaders must consider its capacity to provide immediate feedback, availability of personalization, language variety. To this end, leaders need to learn the vividness and interactivity of media to make their presence felt in a positive way. Avolio and Kahai (2002) mention that successful e-leadership involves an appropriate balance of traditional and new methods, avoiding misunderstandings by carefully and clearly communicating intent to followers, using technology to reach out to others in responsive ways, and using technology to deal with greater workforce diversity.