Leadership in Interaction in a Virtual Context: A Study of the Role of Leadership Processes in a Complex Context, and how such Processes are Accomplished in Practice

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Abstract

Within the last decades, technology has infused the way we collaborate with each other. From having a wired, landline phone and perhaps a simple computer to carry out our work, we now have computers, cell phones, and tablets for collaboration. Developing from the first telecommuters in the 1990s, organizations are now creating work collaborations across countries and time zones, with virtual teams as the foundation for such collaborations; not just for temporary projects, but for long-lasting organizational teams in which task interdependence is low or non-existent. Rather than being centered around a task, such teams are collected based on profession, constituting a virtual community with the intention of creating a professional network and discussion and debate platform regarding their daily work. This way of organizing across distance, with the support of technology, has implications for work collaboration; in particular, it has implications for how leadership is accomplished, as the context in itself imposes certain challenges for the interaction. Though supporting collaboration across distances, mediated collaboration can cause challenges, due to lack of bodily cues, gaze, and minimal responses, aspects that are known to be extremely important for communication. Further, organizing teams across distances creates a complex context, wherein team members miss out on the benefits of team proximity, small talk, and shared office space, which are otherwise available when collocated. The possibility of organizing in virtual teams also prompts the possibility of participating in multiple teams and tasks, further increasing complexity. As such, the context complicates work collaboration, in the sense that the interaction is affected, but also in regard to the understanding of who the team is and what its purpose is.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages218
ISBN (Print)9788793956988
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956995
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesPhD. Series
Number11.2021
ISSN0906-6934

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