A Review of Literature on E-Leadership
Shri Chimanbhai Institute Working Paper No. CPI/MBA/2012/0004
29 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 7, 2012
This article reviews existing literature on e-leadership and the attendant concept of virtual teams. Current scholarship of e-leadership says the goals of leadership have not changed, but the new e-leader needs to implement those goals electronically on computer-mediated virtual teams that are dispersed over space and time. What is very different is that the e-leader may never physically meet one or more of the followers, and that the main communication medium is the computer. The new paradigm provides a range of new opportunities: the ability to instantly communicate one-on-one with employees, customers, and suppliers; the capability to use talent wherever it exists; the opportunity to enhance organizational performance by assembling better multi-functional teams, and to improve better customer satisfaction by using the follow the sun methodology; the ability to cut costs; and, scope for better knowledge management. These can positively impact an organization‘s competitive advantage. However, e-leaders also have new challenges: how to bridge the physical distance from the followers; how to communicate effectively with far-flung team members; how to convey enthusiasm and inspire followers electronically; how to build trust with someone who may never see the leader; and so on. The article discusses what new skills the e-leader might require for success. It also examines the concept of the virtual team from various angles: structure, communication, degrees of virtuality, multi-cultural issues, trust-building, ethical issues, and so on. Finally, the technology that supports e-leadership and virtual teams is briefly discussed.
Keywords: e-leadership, virtual organization, virtual team, virtual management
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation