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Remote Leadership, Communication Effectiveness and Leader Performance

Abstract

As remote work arrangements have gained in popularity, workforce dispersion has become increasingly widespread. Little research to date has examined how physical distance influences leader–follower communication effectiveness or leader performance. Building on top of transformational leadership theory, this paper explores how perceived leader performance is influenced by leadership style, physical distance, and communication effectiveness between leaders and followers. A survey of 138 followers, reporting to a total of 41 leaders, was conducted and data were analyzed at the individual follower-level using the Partial Least Squares (PLS) technique. Our model explained 45% of the variance in communication effectiveness and 67% of the variance in perceived leader performance. Consistent with past empirical findings, transformational leadership was associated more strongly with perceived leader performance than transactional contingent reward leadership. Communication effectiveness was also a strong predictor of leader performance, and furthermore acted as a mediator of leadership behavior on performance. Surprisingly, distance had no influence on either communication effectiveness or perceived leader performance. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Neufeld, D.J., Wan, Z. & Fang, Y. Remote Leadership, Communication Effectiveness and Leader Performance. Group Decis Negot 19, 227–246 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10726-008-9142-x

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Keywords

  • Transformational leadership
  • Physical distance
  • Communication effectiveness
  • Leadership performance
  • Survey research
  • Mediation
  • Partial Least Squares