Profound and widespread changes in information and communications technologies (ICTs) have influenced our lives and reshaped leadership.
There has been a paradigm shift in communication patterns in every sphere with the overdose of ICTs - social media, e-mail, integrated communication platforms (e.g. Blackboard), videoconferencing and document sharing.
Changes are being studied by Dr. Monty Van Wart, who is leading a team of scholars around the world along with Dr. Alexandru Roman from the college department of public administration. They are conducting a series of studies with various local governments and soon with the Korean government. They attribute their success and speed in expanding their research agenda to using the appropriate amount and number of ICTs, as well as good old-fashioned face-to-face research gatherings once or twice a year.
Using CSUSB as its backdrop, one study reveals that:
1) most managers use computer-mediated communications about 50% of the time
(2) ‘transactional’ aspects of leadership are perceived to have been aided by ICTs
(3) the ‘transformational ‘aspects are more difficult to implement by ICTs alone (but they aren’t easy in face-to-face settings either)
(4) followers expect leaders to be increasingly proficient in the use of ICTs.
Research also shows that effective e-leaders need the ability to communicate competently, exercise virtual social skills, create teams in disembodied contexts, foster and encourage innovation and change without extensive personal contact. They need to be capable of handling routine technological issues and challenges with calmness, and maintain a sense of trustworthiness.