Leadership Effectiveness in Global Virtual Teams

Timothy R. Kayworth, Dorothy E. Leidner
2002 Journal of Management Information Systems  
TIM KAYWORTH is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the College of Business at Baylor University. He has prior industry experience in information systems consulting and has also held positions as director of management information systems and operations manager for private sector firms. Professor Kayworth's current research interest centers on the management of information technology in organizations and the effects of information technology (IT) infrastructure and its
more » ... velopment within organizations. He has conducted field-based research addressing the use and effectiveness of corporate IT standards in contemporary firms. Professor Kayworth's work has been published in the proceedings ABSTRACT: The trend toward physically dispersed work groups has necessitated a fresh inquiry into the role and nature of team leadership in virtual settings. To accomplish this, we assembled thirteen culturally diverse global teams from locations in Europe, Mexico, and the United States, assigning each team a project leader and task to complete. The findings suggest that effective team leaders demonstrate the capability to deal with paradox and contradiction by performing multiple leadership roles simultaneously (behavioral complexity). Specifically, we discovered that highly effective virtual team leaders act in a mentoring role and exhibit a high degree of understanding (empathy) toward other team members. At the same time, effective leaders are also able to assert their authority without being perceived as overbearing or inflexible. Finally, effective leaders are found to be extremely effective at providing regular, detailed, and prompt communication with their peers and in articulating role relationships (responsibilities) among the virtual team members. This study provides useful insights for managers interested in developing global virtual teams, as well as for academics interested in pursuing virtual team research. KAYWORTH AND LEIDNER
doi:10.1080/07421222.2002.11045697 fatcat:u7lip2zs2zg37ggenk327ynsny