Reimagining e-leadership for reconfigured virtual teams due to Covid-19

Chamakiotis, P., Panteli, N., Davison, R. M. (2021), International Journal of Information Management

Driven by an unexpected transition into virtual working worldwide as a result of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, in this paper, we examine the extent to which existing knowledge from the literature on virtual teams (VTs) spanning two decades can be used to inform how leadership can be exercised in the Covid-19 ‘new normal’, involving ‘reconfigured’ VTs which have both similarities with, and differences from, earlier VTs. Drawing on existing literature on VTs pre-Covid-19, we explore what current (and future) VTs might look like and what this means for leadership in this new context with an emphasis on how leadership, or e-leadership, can be exercised to help the leaders of traditional, physically collocated teams that had to transition into VTs. These new e-leaders need to come to grips with a variety of new challenges in order to create high-performing and sustainable VTs. Following a semi-systematic, state-of-the-art literature review, we: (a) identify key themes and explain with a theoretical model how existing knowledge can lead to new insights for newly transitioned e-leaders; (b) discuss what future information systems (IS) researchers should focus on given the reconfiguration and new characteristics of VTs in the Covid-19 context; and (c) ‘translate’ the findings of our synthesis of the existing literature into prescriptive advice that can be used to inform practitioners.

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