Opportunities & Challenges F Reduce Costs F Serve International Customers/Clients F Integrate Global Talent F Time Zone Differences F Varied Communication Norms F Language differences F Limited face-to-face contact
Advantages of Geographically Proximate Offices (Davenport & Pearlson, 1998) F Frequent and Unplanned Communication F Immediate Access to People F Direct Access to Information F Opportunities to Build Relationships
Leadership Theories F Kotter (1981) –Plan, monitor, assess, evaluate F Bass & Avolio (1992) –Transformational leadership F Goleman (1998) –Emotional Intelligence
Empirical Questions Arise F Can we employ the same leadership theories in a distanced work setting? F Do we need new theories of leadership to account for distanced work settings? F Are there important differences in the way that leadership gets done in a distanced setting vs. a face-to-face/proximate setting?
F The Distance Manager (Fisher & Fisher, 2001) F Mastering Virtual Teams (Duarte & Snyder, 1999) F Virtual Teams (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997)
Issues more pronounced in distanced teams than in co-located ones F Virtual teams may form for a limited time F Geographical dispersion makes establishing the conditions for effective interactions and leadership more complex –Identification (Connaughton & Daly, 2003) –Trust (Jarvenpaa, Knoll, & Leidner, 1998) –Cross-cultural communication (Cascio & Shurygailo, 2003)
Leading from Afar: Strategies for Effectively Leading Virtual Teams by S. L. Connaughton & J. A. Daly; published in Virtual Collaborative Teams: Process, Technologies, & Practice (S. H. Godar & S. P. Ferris, Eds.)
Leading from Afar… F Semi-structured long interviews F 21 leaders with global responsibilities –14 from a high-tech company located in SW –19 males; 2 females F Interviews on site and over distance F 13 testable propositions emerged
1. Face-to-face communication is critical Why should a leader use face-to-face communication? When? I need to see what contexts they work in. I think that in order to be accepted, I need to show my willingness to come on their turf. I do a lot of teleconferencing. But theres nothing that replaces face-to-face.
2. Personalization Matters F Use brief narratives –Why? F Be personal –The frequent interactions with people you have here [at headquarters] are often attributed to trust. And over distance you have a complete void there. So you are missing one of your fundamental tools. Somehow youve got to overcome that. And thats where the one- on-one calls come in… u --What can you do with your interaction to make it more personal?
3. Over-Communicate F It is easy to under-communicate outside of your immediate sphere of contact everyday. And that means that people feel lost and disconnected. When they hear about something that everyone back here [headquarters] knew for weeks was coming and nobody told them they feel they have wasted time, effort, and personal investment.
3. contd F Use at least 2 media for important messages F Inform people at the same time –Why should you avoid informing local team members before distanced ones? F Establish a mechanism for info exchange –Electronic newsletter –Internal website –Internal electronic bulletin board
4. Discipline is key to distanced leadership F Preparation for meetings F Less supervision F Deadlines are real F Continually update
5. Develop expectations and ground rules about communication…from the start
6. Meeting management is critical F Articulate norms for meeting prep and execution –What we would do to make communication more effective is we would come up with half a dozen issues before hand. Each of us would so some pre-work to make the telephone call more productive rather than just leaving it up for grabs. F Ensure that meetings are regularly and publicly scheduled
7. Cultural nuances matter What sorts of national cultural differences might distanced leaders encounter? F Attend to communication style F Sensitivity to international members sense of time
8. Media Choices and Access Matter --which media are used --access to equal media --remember the small things…
9. Overcome the challenge of multiple leaders F A functional head, a team leader, and a country or regional director….Who is the real boss? Who should I listen to?
Distanced versus Proximate Teams: The relationships among perceived communicative behaviors of leaders and employee satisfaction S. L. Connaughton & J. A. Daly
Distanced vs. Proximate… F What makes employees who are geographically separated from their managers satisfied with their jobs and their relationship with their managers? F Communicative properties (frequency, clarity, and feedback) F Relational aspects of communication (perceived equity, information adequacy, task vs. non-task messages, and accessibility) F Job satisfaction and satisfaction with manager
Findings F Communicative properties & relational aspects of communication are significantly and positively correlated with both job and manager satisfaction in distanced and proximate settings. F In distanced settings, frequency of communication with managers, information equity, and managers attentiveness are more important than they are in proximate settings
F People co-located with managers reported a significantly greater tendency to have early meetings with managers than those at a distance. F The manager making early visits to remote sites was positively and significantly related to job satisfaction and manager satisfaction.
F Individuals working from afar were more satisfied with their jobs than those working proximate to their managers. F Accessibility was a significant predictor of satisfaction with manager in the distanced group; actual physical distance was not a significant predictor.
Future Directions F Rise of geographically dispersed ad hoc teams that are assembled for short-term projects F The increasing use of contractors and consultants who do not have loyalty to the organizationhow do you manage them from afar? F Trends in international customer servicehow do organizations effectively serve and lead customers from afar?
Leading from a distance is an absolute necessity in our industry. It will be that way in more and more industries. It is a hard skill. People who have never done it dont even recognize it as a separate skill. Youll say, Well, you dont have any worldwide experience and theyll say, Well, whats worldwide experience expect putting me in a worldwide job? There are just so many aspects that people dont understand.
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