Home Business & Finance Distance Leadership in International Corporations: Why Organizations Struggle when Distances Grow
Trainings for all members involved in a physically distant leadership context
Physical distance should still receive recognition as perceptions of relationship quality decrease, the more leader and follower are separated. One reason could be that the lack of face-to-face interaction makes the transmission of inspirational, visionary, and charismatic leadership challenging. In a context of distance, direct control is difficult to execute (Horwitz et al., 2006) and conflicts are more likely to escalate when individuals do not see each other (Avolio & Kahai, 2003). Although physical distance is less vital than other elements, it was discovered that followers who are neither very close nor very distant seem to have the most difficulties finding their place in the leader-follower relationship. The reason for this is that followers who are very close or very distant from their leaders know about the situation and what to expect. Particularly, those followers who are in between the range of being situated only in a separate building up to those with 1,000 km of distance from their leader are located in an interval state where leadership behavior predicted neither self-leadership nor performance.
Distance leadership trainings should ideally incorporate a holistic view of distance, describing challenges and benefits of distance collaboration. Yet, those trainings might also include role-plays that simulate how conflicts can be resolved in the context of distance. Particular trainings should furthermore incorporate all members of large international corporations as eventually everyone is likely to interact with leaders or team members who are physically distributed at some point in time. Distance leadership trainings unfold their potential in a physically distant environment; yet they are also valuable under close conditions as relationship quality is important in any leader-follower context (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014).
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