Leadership-in-interaction is a somewhat underdeveloped area of research which to date has concentrated on talk-in-interaction to the detriment of other modalities. Consequently, this paper seeks to illustrate how social actors make use of different modalities to accomplish leadership, which we conceptualize as the creation of direction, alignment, and commitment. Through multimodal conversation analysis this paper explores interactions between actors in virtual contexts, a particularly interesting empirical setting as the context offers specific constraints on everyday workplace interaction. By zooming in on the interaction using transcripts of naturally occurring interaction, we find that the accomplishment of leadership, direction, alignment, and commitment, in a constrained virtual context can appear mundane. However, at the same time the accomplishment of leadership calls for the mobilization of several multimodal resources (both talk and information and communication technology objects). The analysis makes it evident that the actors mobilize objects to draw on their situated affordances, in the accomplishment of direction, alignment, and commitment. With a fine-grained analysis of naturally occurring data, we illustrate that leadership is a collective achievement. We also expand the understanding of leadership in practice, especially in virtual contexts, by demonstrating how actors utilize objects and verbal resources in the co-production of leadership.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: April 22, 2020
- Virtual context
- Multimodal conversation analysis
- Information and communication technology