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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Teams
Transformational leadership in context: Face-to-face and virtual teams
In 2009, Purvanova, R. K., & Bono, J. E. examined transformational leadership in the context of traditional teams using face-to-face communication and virtual teams using computer-mediated communication. Thirty-nine leaders led both face-to-face and virtual teams. Repeated- measures analyses revealed similar mean levels of transformational leadership in both team types; however, leader rank order varied across team types. Post hoc analyses revealed that the most effective leaders were those who increased their transformational leadership in virtual teams. Furthermore, analyses at the team level revealed that the effect of transformational leadership on team performance was stronger in virtual than in face-to-face teams. Team-member ratings of transformational leadership were equally linked to project satisfaction in face-to-face and virtual teams. Considered as a whole, our results suggest that transformational leadership has a stronger effect in teams that use only computer-mediated communication and that leaders who increase their transformational leadership behaviors in such teams achieve higher levels of team performance.

Has the pandemic impacted productivity negatively or positively when we were forced to operate in virtual teams?

Would you go back to F2F teams, continue with VT, or create a hybrid environment?

Purvanova, R. K., & Bono, J. E. (2009). Transformational leadership in context: Face-to-face and virtual teams. The leadership quarterly, 20(3), 343-357.
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John

thanks for sharing. These results reflect my view. Virtual teaming can be superior to f2f since all the teaming and influencing behaviors have to be more explicit and conscious.

A good article from HBR supports this for mentoring

https://hbr.org/2022/03/how-to-mentor-in-a-remote-workplace

Thomas
I'd be curious to know about the composition of the teams and how similar they were in their interests, work habits, need for socialization, the types of projects or work they were working on, etc. And then with the leaders, did they have similar levels of education, experience, did they communicate the same things with the only difference being face-to-face vs virtual? What was being transformed and what was being measured?

We're pursuing a hybrid model, where it makes sense. There are more distractions than VT because its easier to distract people when you can walk up to their desks and start talking to them, but what I've seen over the pandemic is that occasional face-to-face builds stronger relationships with cross-functional teams than pure virtual. Especially when the people did not have established relationships before the pandemic.

While we were purely virtual, some people were more productive because they could set their own schedule and ignore all distractions. Others never quite adjusted to their families assuming they were available just because they were home, and looked forward to coming into the office so they could focus.

Some of our teams have always been F2F. Running order fulfillment, returns, shipping/receiving, and manufacturing remotely might be possible for some companies, but is not easily accomplished.
We operated our company in Hybrid environment.Some of our team were sitting virtualy.Some of them are Colocated. Pandemic impacted productivity positively.
Pandemic (Covid-19, because we had others) just accelerate the adoption of a model that was there from year 1998 or 2000. The problem is some organizations where not prepare for that and, to use a new buzzword, that is a matter of agility. I can write lot of things but key is, in my personal experience, redefine face-to-face and to understand that trust in each other is a must.

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