Leadership has always been an essential part of management and without proper strong leadership it is impossible to handle and manage the work force in an appropriate manner which can later turn out to be a productive one.
Leadership affects all facets of human enterprise. Though there are many definitions of leadership, each definition has different focus on leadership. Due to limits of the research focus we’ll use the definition, which highlights and reflects on the behavior of the leader.
Leadership according to Hemphill and Coons (1957), is a “behavior of an individual…directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal” (in Gregoire and Arendt 2004, p.396). Fiedler (1967) advances almost similar definition, as follows, “by leadership behavior we generally mean the particular acts in which a leader engages in the course of directing and coordinating the work of his group members. This may involve such acts as structuring the work relations, praising or criticizing group members, and showing consideration for their welfare and feelings”. Hersey and Blanchard (1993) defined leadership as the process of influencing the activities of an individual or group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation.
Cleland (1995) suggest that research on project leadership is still limited though calls have been made for more project leadership research within the field of project management for more than a decade. Huemann et al. (2007) suggests that the project is a social system, and includes several areas focused on organizational behavior, leadership, communication, team building, and human resource management. Virtual project is an important area for research particularly in view of the growing diversity of project teams and global sourcing of project work.
With the transition of organizations from traditional to virtual the teams in project environment are neither purely collocated nor purely virtual. Most of the teams in today’s organizations fall into a hybrid category (Griffith et al, 2003). Researchers have proposed level of virtuality in the description of virtual teams (Griffith et al, 2003; Kirkman and Mathieu, 2005). It is measured that the level of virtuality in the project context with two traditional dimensions, spatial distance and use of virtual tools like email, teleconferencing and video conferencing.
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