The role of E-leadership in ICT utilization: a project management perspective
Covid 19 presents a great challenge and opportunity for remote working, highlighting the need for electronically-mediated leadership in team tasks and performance. What is the role of leadership in improving utilization of information communication technologies (ICTs) in teamwork? Framed within the e-leadership and project management literature and employing a longitudinal field observation method over 8 months that involves 52 subjects and 172 observations, this study finds that (1) first, strong leaders employ a consistent and high-level use of ICTs throughout the whole process of group work, especially at the planning and closing stages of a project. (2) Second, strong leaders alternate the use of various ICTs to match specific tasks at different phases of the project. Two media platforms—team discussion forum and document sharing— stand out as the most important for strong leaders to build trust and execute tasks. (3) Finally, in a project management setting with a group of transient members with clearly-defined tasks and time-sensitive responsibilities, trust-building is a continual and highly significant leadership responsibility that precedes other leadership responsibilities. Trust is built largely through alternating the use of two rich ICT media (discussion forum and instant messaging) with two lean ICT media (document sharing and presentation display). These findings highlight a significant role of e-leadership in organizations which see the emergence of ICTs especially during crises like Covid 19.
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