Virtual Leadership and Technological Competence: New Directions of Organizational Dynamics
Paul Hayes JR.
Indiana Institute of Technology
The intent of this paper is to demonstrate the dimension of technological competence plays in enabling more effective virtual leadership and producing a more innovative organization. For the purposes of this paper the researcher will define technological competence (Acur, Kandemir, de Weerd-Nederhof, & Song, 2010) as the phenomenon of individuals members of an organization becoming familiar with computer and internet-based technologies in a way that will allow them to meet in virtual collaboration environments with presence using internet-based, software computer platforms and software-as-a-service (SaaS) communications technologies. This paper will cover technological changes due to globalization, virtual leadership through use of the internet, the need for technological leaders to effectively change traditional organizational dynamics, and describe effective practices of virtual leaders. As the world remains in an unstable geopolitical balance due to the 2008 financial crisis the fate of all business is interlocked from coast to coast and border to border. During times of crisis strong leaders rise to make necessary changes, overhaul systems, and provide much needed innovative practice to avoid past failure. The 2008 financial crisis demonstrates just how interwoven the world’s economies have become. There is not much indication that it will change anytime soon (Emmott, 2008; Epstein & Meredith, 2010). However, it is evident that research declares that the face of business is still changing as technology changes (White & Rosimilia, 2010). IBM has been a leader in utilizing multinational corporations and seems to be in touch with future economic conditions as they are being defined by a global economy. Geert Hofstede (Hofstede, 2011), while working for IBM, formulated a paradigm shifting culture based philosophy that has changed the face of business today. The old verbiage and idea of multi-national corporations is being replaced with the globally integrated enterprise (GIE) concept (White & Rosimilia, 2010). White and Rosimilia (2010) define a globally integrated enterprise on page 3 as “the notion of country-based teams integrating with a perspective that capitalizes on global teams and missions to support a worldwide business agenda.” The new GIE is an expensive endeavor that will require a strong majority of American business to transform the way business is conducted. It is simply too expensive in terms of both time and money to maintain face-to-face interaction with GIEs in today’s economic paradigm of doing more with less by replacing people with programs and assembly with service (Baines et al., 2009; Black & Bahl, 2011). Virtual leadership, while it is still relatively new phenomenon, is the future skill that must be developed for the GIE to be successful because leaders will have to conduct business over spans of time in separated locations. It is very expensive and time consuming to try and continue to conduct business in person. Once spoken of as “e-leadership (Bass & Bass, 2008),” there is a growing need for new leaders that understand the importance of leveraging of a company’s assets. Leaders need to effectively use technology that allows teleconferencing, internet networking, use of SaaS and effective communication practices. Technology makes leading over regions that span time zones, geography, cultures significantly more cost effective. But it is not enough for a virtual leader to understand and embrace the developments of the zeitgeist, that leader must also focus on expert power as it is defined in French and Ravens (Cartwright, 1959) Power Taxonomy. The successful virtual leader will have to change the dynamics of the organization as the use of the technology and the internet changes. The internet is...
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