Saturday, February 16, 2013

Remote Transformational Leadership

Remote Transformational Leadership

Several studies have demonstrated the relationship union stewards' transformation in local union activities (e.g. Fullagar et al., 1992; Kelloway and Barling, 1993).1. The dynamic of transformational leadership involve followers having a strong personal identification with the leader, a shared vision for the future, and working collectively for the benefit of the group. Yammarino and Dubinsky (1994) describe transformational leaders as heightening awareness and interests in groups, increasing employee confidence, and gradually moving the followers' interests from the existence by illustrating four main characteristics:
A. idenlized influence;
B. inspirational motivation;
C. individual consideration; and
D. intellectual stimulation.
2. Charisma, a process where leaders arouse followers by being visionary, motivational and powerful, confident and captivating their followers (Bass, 1985), is the sum of inspirational motivation and idealized influence.
3. Leaders who display charismatic leadership are able to use expressive language that is emotionally appealing and communicate a clear vision that is related to the need and values of the followers(Yukl and Van Fleet, 1992).
4. Leaders display intellectual stimulation when they help their followers develop new ideas, motivating them to take alternative routes to problem solving and take a closer look at all possible solutions.
5. Individualized consideration occurs when leaders pay individual attention to their followers, providing  support and acting as coach.

Leadership interactions that are characterized by electronically-madiated communication between geographically and physically isolated leaders and followers term "remote" leadership and constitutes the focus for the current research. It was pointed out that, effect of leadership on performance was negatively affected by the leader and the follower (Howell and Hall-Merenda, 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1984).

Fosterand Coovert (2002) found that there were communication problems among team members using computer-mediad communications, and that there were higher recorded inaccuracies in the computer-mediated teams than in teams that met face-to-face.

The first research methods to proof this points wrong was Vignette approach. Vignette methodology assess whether recipients could identify leadership messages when presented in e-mails. The result of this study show that individuals can indeed differentiate between different leadership styles within e-mails. Second, consistent with expectations, e-mails containing transformational leadership messages associated with greater interpersonal justice and satisfaction compared to messages based on the management-by-exception or laissez-faire styles. Vignette studies reflect a minimal intervention, reducing the extent to which lesson can be generaralize. The purpose of the second study was to expand on and constructively replace initial findings.

The second research based on laboratory investigation, individual exposed to e-mail messages containing a charismatic or intellectually stimulating message would express higher levels of task motivation and demonstrate higher level of performance on laboratory task than individuals who received e-mail instructions that did not contain these aspects of transformational leadership. Main effects for both intellectual stimulation and charisma but no additive effect between the two dimensions of transformational leadership.

Data were collected from 105 undergraduate psychology students at a canadian university. The task required participants to read a short scenario describing a survival situation in which they have become stranded on a mountain with limited supplies during a winter storm. The task is to rank order a list of supplies in term of importance for survival(1-most important, 12 - least important).
Each participant was giving a copy of e-mail containing either a charismatic, intellectually stimulating, neutral (neither charismatic nor stimulating), or transformational (both charismatic and stimulating) message.
Participant were assigned randomly to groups according to which message they had received. Groups had approximately 25 minute to complete the task collectively. Groups ranged between three and six members with an average of four members per group.
Individual were asked to complete a brief post-task questionire. As manipulation checks,


Manipulation checks, participants who receive an e-mail in which the leader expressed intellectual stimulation rated that leader as being more intellectually stimulating than when the leader did not express intellectual stimulation. Participant who receive an e-mail in which the leader charisma rated that leader as being more charismatic than when the leaders did not express charisma. There was no effect of the charisma manipulation on the measure of intellectual stimulation.
Motivation and performance, motivation was higher when participants reads an intellectually stimulating e-mail than when they did not. Similarly, individual performance was better when the e-mail was from an intellectually stimulating leader than when it was not. An e-mail from a charismatic leader had no significant effect on motivation but was associated with better individual performance.
Group performance was greater when the groups had an intellectually stimulating e-mail than when they did not. Similarly, group performance was better when the groups had read an e-mail from a charismatic leader than when they did not.

With all these findings, it is obvious the same effects may well be obtained when the leader-follower communication is electronically mediated rather than transmitted directly.
In summary, the present findings suggest that remote transformational leadership can still have the same positive effects on performance and attitudes that occurs within face-to-face interaction. Moreover, findings suggest that electronically mediated communication channels may be used to convey the same leadership "message" as in face-to-face interaction, which questions the suggestion that leader-follower distance has a negative effect on performance and followers' perceptions of their leader. While these findings await replication in field settings, they suggest considerable promise for the effectiveness of remote transformational leadership.


E. Kevin Kelloway
Department of Management, Saint Mary's University, Halifx, Nova Scotia, Canada
Julian Barling
School of Business, Queen' University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth Kelley
Department of Management, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Julie Comtois
school of Business, Queen's University, Hingston, Ontario, Canada
Bernadette Gatien
Department of Psycology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Fullagar,C., McCoy, D. and Shull, C.(1992),
"The socialization of union loyalty", Journal of Organization Behavior, Vol. 13, pp. 13-26.
Kelloway, E.K.and Barling, J.(1993),
 "Members'partcipation in local union activities: measurement, prediction, and replication",Journal of Applied psychology, vol. 78, pp. 2622-79.
Yammarino. F.J. and Dubinsky, Dubinsky, A.J. (1994),
"Transformational Leadership theory: using levels of analysis to determine boundary conditions", Personnel Psychology, Vol. 47, pp. 787-811.
Bass, B.M. (1985),
Leadership and performance Beyond Expectations, Basic Books, New York, NY.
Yukl, G. and Van Fleet,D.(1992), "Theory and research on leadership in organizations", in Dunnette, M.D. and Hough, L.H.(Eds), Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, pp. 147-99, Consulting Psychologists press, Palo Alto, CA.
Howell and Hall-Merenda, 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1984
Fosterand Coovert (2002) 

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