Paradoxical virtual leadership: Reconsidering virtuality through a paradox lens

R. Purvanova, R. Kenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This conceptual article moves the conversation about virtual leadership forward by blending extant knowledge on virtuality and on leadership. Drawing on paradox theory, we show that virtuality is a paradox; therefore, virtual leadership’s core function is to deal with paradox. Our paradoxical virtual leadership model introduces three distinct leadership styles: synergistic, selective, and stagnant. Synergistic leaders view virtuality through a both–and cognitive framework, integrate divergent forces into synergistic solutions, and engage in varied, even opposing, behaviors to synergize virtuality’s paradoxical tensions and leverage the power of paradox. In contrast, selective leaders view virtuality through an either–or framework, and attempt to either manage virtuality’s challenges, or to capitalize on its opportunities, thus failing to balance paradoxical tensions. Finally, stagnant leaders adopt an avoidant framework, ignoring or avoiding virtuality’s paradoxes, and fail to lead effective virtual teams. The practical implications of this model—especially as they relate to how virtual leaders can synergize paradoxical tensions—are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-786
JournalGroup & Organization Management
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
  • CULTURAL-DIVERSITY
  • DISTRIBUTED TEAMS
  • FACE-TO-FACE
  • GEOGRAPHICALLY DISPERSED TEAMS
  • INNOVATION
  • MANAGEMENT
  • MANAGING STRATEGIC CONTRADICTIONS
  • MODEL
  • WORK GROUPS
  • paradox
  • paradoxical tensions
  • synergistic leadership
  • virtual leadership
  • virtuality

Cite this