David Gurr
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch031
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Advances in information and communication technology (ICT) are changing organizations, with old practices being altered and new practices, spaces and possibilities created (Wertheim, 1999). It is the capacity of the ICT to support electronically mediated social environments that is causing reconceptualization of leadership conceptions. The emerging concept of e-leadership provides a framework to explore leadership in environments mediated by ICT. Unfortunately, there is considerable conceptual confusion about the term, with at least three different research streams producing different understandings. It is this complexity surrounding e-leadership that is the subject of this article (an extended discussion of this topic can be found in Gurr [2004] and Gurr and Broadbent [2004]). Research on e-leadership is at an early stage. In terms of Reichers and Scheider’s (1990, as described in Hunt, 1999, p. 131) three-stage model of concept development, which includes introduction/elaboration, evaluation/augmentation and consolidation/accommodation, the study of e-leadership is at the introduction/elaboration stage. While there is acknowledgment that a new concept of leadership may be needed, there is conceptual ambiguity as to what this might be, and limited research. Evidence and discussion about e-leadership comes from three main types of research: consultancy discussion papers, survey-based perceptual data, and experimental and quasi-experimental research.

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