Leadership has often been conceptualised as one-sided where leaders were fully responsible for leadership outcomes; however, current debates position leadership as a relational process influenced by both leaders and followers alike. DeRue and Ashford (2010) view leadership as a claiming and granting process where leadership behaviours are not determined by hierarchy but by the organisation’s processes and objectives. The objective of this research is to gain an insight into this claiming and granting process with a specific focus on virtual teams, a context where team members utilise communication and information technologies to communicate and collaborate to achieve common goals. Due to the structure and inherent characteristics of these teams, members work ‘differently’ and leaders and followers co-construct leadership, followership and outcomes in different ways. This research focuses on claiming and granting in an environment where traditional face-to-face communication is generally absent. Four case teams from multinational organisations participated in this study. Teams were hybrid teams, i.e. made up of both co-located and dispersed members. Two teams worked together on an ongoing basis whilst two were project-based. Data was collected through interviews and team observations. Preliminary findings indicate that team culture, the adjustment and adaptability of team members to the virtual context, and the visibility allowed by the communications medium used, affect leadership dynamics in these teams. Of particular interest is the emerging notion that the communications medium used by the team need not be ‘rich’ to ensure clarity and visibility of claims and grants in a virtual context.
Leadership, Followership, Teams, Virtual Collaboration, Human Behaviour
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Anna Maria Alden
HR Consultant, Consultancy, Self Employed, United Kingdom
Anna Maria is a postgraduate research student for the Business School at the University of Southampton. For over 20 years she has worked as a freelance HR consultant in Malta where she resides.
Associate Dean UG Programmes and Education Quality, Imperial College Business School, United Kingdom