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Leadership and followership in hybrid teams

Leadership and followership in hybrid teams
Leadership and followership in hybrid teams
One may argue that traditionally, leadership has been conceptualised as one-sided where leaders were held fully responsible for leadership outcomes. Nowadays, leadership often is discussed as a relational process influenced by both leaders and followers. Within the context of virtual teams, debates propose that the enactment of leadership and followership is not determined by hierarchy but by the organisation’s processes and objectives, and by team tasks, expertise and team member influence. It is suggested that in virtual teams, tasks and responsibilities ‘move’ among team members as these communicate and interact to achieve common team goals. Such ‘movement’ creates opportunities for leaders and followers to emerge at different times.
This study aims to investigate this notion to provide insights that extend existing work on leadership and followership. This research embeds the investigation in hybrid teams, a team made up of both co-located and distant team members and a type of team that is becoming increasingly common in organisations even more so during and post-pandemic. This study aims to provide understanding of how leadership and followership unfold in teams that interact using mainly technology by collecting qualitative data via interviews and observations from four teams.
Analysing the cases individually and then synthesising commonalities and differences emerging from the thematic analysis, the findings indicate that within hybrid teams, the movement of tasks and responsibilities does occur. Shared leadership and shared followership unfold as team members engage in this dynamic process. This movement, experienced in different ways by team members, is influenced by factors including, the communications medium used by the team, a team’s culture, organisational policies and procedures, and a team member’s self-perception. It is suggested also that in this context, the relationships established at team formation stage are a major determinant of future team synergies and collaboration. In addition, while technology is inherent in these teams, the research emphasises empirically that face-to-face physical interaction remains critical. This seems to indicate that the ‘visual’ element provided by a communications medium may not be enough to develop and maintain a hybrid team, nor does it seem to be enough to reduce distance and avoid, or eliminate, ‘gaps’ between co-located and distant team members.
These findings provide the basis for considerations that organisations may want to make when planning for, developing, or maintaining virtual and/or hybrid teams. This research also raised further questions and it provided suggestions for future research that may bring further insights into the way in which leadership and followership unfold in virtual contexts.
University of Southampton
Alden, Anna Maria
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Alden, Anna Maria
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Meyer, Edgar
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Wang, Jaw-Kai
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Alden, Anna Maria (2022) Leadership and followership in hybrid teams. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 407pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

One may argue that traditionally, leadership has been conceptualised as one-sided where leaders were held fully responsible for leadership outcomes. Nowadays, leadership often is discussed as a relational process influenced by both leaders and followers. Within the context of virtual teams, debates propose that the enactment of leadership and followership is not determined by hierarchy but by the organisation’s processes and objectives, and by team tasks, expertise and team member influence. It is suggested that in virtual teams, tasks and responsibilities ‘move’ among team members as these communicate and interact to achieve common team goals. Such ‘movement’ creates opportunities for leaders and followers to emerge at different times.
This study aims to investigate this notion to provide insights that extend existing work on leadership and followership. This research embeds the investigation in hybrid teams, a team made up of both co-located and distant team members and a type of team that is becoming increasingly common in organisations even more so during and post-pandemic. This study aims to provide understanding of how leadership and followership unfold in teams that interact using mainly technology by collecting qualitative data via interviews and observations from four teams.
Analysing the cases individually and then synthesising commonalities and differences emerging from the thematic analysis, the findings indicate that within hybrid teams, the movement of tasks and responsibilities does occur. Shared leadership and shared followership unfold as team members engage in this dynamic process. This movement, experienced in different ways by team members, is influenced by factors including, the communications medium used by the team, a team’s culture, organisational policies and procedures, and a team member’s self-perception. It is suggested also that in this context, the relationships established at team formation stage are a major determinant of future team synergies and collaboration. In addition, while technology is inherent in these teams, the research emphasises empirically that face-to-face physical interaction remains critical. This seems to indicate that the ‘visual’ element provided by a communications medium may not be enough to develop and maintain a hybrid team, nor does it seem to be enough to reduce distance and avoid, or eliminate, ‘gaps’ between co-located and distant team members.
These findings provide the basis for considerations that organisations may want to make when planning for, developing, or maintaining virtual and/or hybrid teams. This research also raised further questions and it provided suggestions for future research that may bring further insights into the way in which leadership and followership unfold in virtual contexts.

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Leadership and Followership in Hybrid Teams_AM Alden_PhD Thesis - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 June 2024.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: May 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 471269
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/471269
PURE UUID: cede1352-7902-4907-95b3-a834f22cd977
ORCID for Anna Maria Alden: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5047-2979

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Nov 2022 17:51
Last modified: 02 Nov 2022 02:49

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Edgar Meyer
Thesis advisor: Jaw-Kai Wang

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