Leading Virtual Teams: Hierarchical Leadership, Structural Supports, and Shared Team Leadership


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Abstract

Using a field sample of 101 virtual teams, this research empirically evaluates the impact of traditional hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership on team performance. Building on Bell and Kozlowski’s (2002) work, we expected structural supports and shared team leadership to be more, and hierarchical leadership to be less, strongly related to team performance when teams were more virtual in nature. As predicted, results from moderation analyses indicated that the extent to which teams were more virtual attenuated relations between hierarchical leadership and team performance but strengthened relations for structural supports and team performance. However, shared team leadership was significantly related to team performance regardless of the degree of virtuality. Results are discussed in terms of needed research extensions for understanding leadership processes in virtual teams and practical implications for leading virtual teams.

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