Vijay Singh Gahlawat; Melissa Nielson , pp. 34. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2012.
This current global context is full of both increasing opportunities, and increasing demands that are placed both on the corporations and the employees working within them. As the physical distances between leaders and followers widens, more emphasis will need to be placed on applying traditional benchmark leadership approaches and theories to this context. The study explores and highlights the following issues connected to distance management:
How is the full range leadership model, including transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles between the leader and followers affected when applied in a distance setting?
How effective is the use of different information and communication technology mediums in closing the gap created through physical distance as a mediating factor between a leader and a follower in many situations?
The researchers have concluded that distance has a profound effect on a leader’s ability to display the characteristics of transformational leadership. Passive avoidant styles also tend to manifest themselves more strongly in a distance setting than an office setting with daily contact. The transactional leadership characteristics of contingent reward and management by exception (active) seem to be more dependent on individual leadership style and do not seem to be as affected by distance as a primary influencing variable.
The effects of the frequency of the use of information and communication technology on the distance sample was also examined in relationship to its affect on perception of leadership by individuals being managed in a distance setting. The affects from the use of more simpler forms of ICT are negligible. Richer forms of ICT medium (video conferencing and tele-links etc.) could be necessary to attempt to lessen this gap between leader perceptions in closer vs. distance settings.
For those respondents already being managed at a distance, there seems to be only a
medium level of correlation between the amount of contact that each of the respondents
have had with their supervisor through mail or phone and their perceptions of the leader.
This medium correlation is positive for both transformational and transactional leadership
characteristics. When it comes to the passive avoidant characteristics the correlation is a
medium negative one- as the amount of contact with the supervisor increases the
perception that the supervisor employs these characteristics decreases.
As companies spread out across the globe, more attention will need to be paid to distance
as a moderating factor. The skills of transformational leadership will have to be assessed
in more detail to find out how these leadership characteristics can still be both developed
and applied so that they transfer over in a distance setting. Only then can the gap of
distance be bridged, with technology most likely to play a key role in making this