If Leadership is such a crucial factor then, the critical issue is: What makes a great leader? It’s tempting to answer: Great followers! Although there lies some truth in this response the issue is much more complex. Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. A definition more inclusive of followers comes from Alan Keith of Genentech who said "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. The source of such influence can be formal, such as one provided by the possession of managerial ranks in organizations. But not all the leaders are managers and the vice-versa also holds equally true. Non-sanctioned leadership-that is, the ability to influence that arises outside the formal organization- is as important as or more important than formal influence. In other words, leaders can emerge from within a group or can be formally appointed. It comes clearly that leadership is a process of influencing others towards achievement of a goal. It is this influence part that makes this concept so crucial.
As a practice, leadership is as old as mankind or even more, but as a concept of study it is of a recent origin. In the past few years numerous literatures has been developed to lay emphasis on the topic. Numerous studies have been done and theories have been developed. All these theories have one thing in common, and that is the influencing others factor. Over the year’s world has never remained stagnant and same is the case with leadership also. With time new concepts and paradigms have been added while the old ones generally remains after accommodating certain new phenomenon.
Since the time the concept has been formally studied, numerous theories have been developed to explain its dynamics. Some of the well read and accepted theories of leadership are the Trait theories, Behavioral theories (Ohio State Studies, University of Michigan Studies and The Managerial Grid) and Contingency Theories. The above said three theories are considered as the traditional theories of leadership . It is with these studies that leadership has achieved its present status of a formal topic of study, if not a separate discipline.
The latest paradigm in the study of leadership is the concept of E-Leadership. The concept has emerged as an answer to the question of bringing together, the skills and talents across national, geographic, cultural and other boundaries, using communications technologies tools to achieve results. E-Leadership stands for balancing many roles and carrying them out via communications technologies. E-leadership has emerged as solutions to the issues emerging at the back drop of the development of virtual organizations and global village.
Organizations today are found using the concept of E-leadership in order to integrate their human and material resources, which may lie across national boundaries, to achieve organizational goals and to increase their organizational worth. Under such organizational structure, where it is not possible to arrange frequent meetings or any such face to face interactions between personnel, and the orders and permissions has to travel thousands of miles within seconds, E-leadership can be the solution to such critical issues. E-leadership is a term used when a leader must preside over a geographically dispersed or virtual team.
Not being physically close to your subordinates poses many problems for a leader. An e-leader thus must be particularly effective at team building and communication in non-traditional modes. Since face-to-face communication is absent, e-leaders must encourage frequent communication and use multiple modes of communication where appropriate. In order to facilitate group cohesion, it may behoove the leader to gather the team together initially to have a face-to-face meeting so team members can get to know each other personally.
If this is not possible, frequent group discussions should be directed by the leader online to ensure communication between group members. E-leaders must also impose structure and routine on the group by setting goals for team members and tracking their progress. This will help team members make sure they are making progress and will help them feel like they are a valuable part of the team. Proponents of E-leadership are promoting the concept in order to increase the organizational worth and in the process the concepts of traditional theories of leaderships are been found undermined.
Although e-leadership has its drawbacks, it also has some advantages and in some cases is simply required. Below are some of its advantages: • It allows for the fastest responses and best ways to keep up with the competition (e. g. , benchmarking). • It allows for employees to work at home (i. e. , telework), which in some studies has been shown to reduce work-family conflict. • This allows for complementarities of skills – that is, a leader can create a really effective team by choosing the best candidates from a wide variety of locations.
Since team members come from many different places, they may be able to provide unique perspectives, enhancing the team’s creativity and innovation, which may lead to an increase in productivity Through case studies of organizations, this research paper is an attempt to bring out the contribution of traditional theories in the determining organizational effectiveness and the contribution of E-leadership in the same. Through this research work it would be seen as to how E-leadership would assure true motivation of group members in a virtual organization when members are physically not visible to one another.
NEED FOR THE STUDY The changing requirements of organizations in the context of cross border, cross culture functioning which calls for higher leadership effectiveness is the first and foremost need for doing research on this field. Also the increasing literary emphasis on changes in addition to the existing patterns of traditional leadership styles also arises the need to study this phenomenon. The new evolving concept of E-leadership is also redefining the traditional practices of leadership in today’s context in various organizations. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY 1.
Research would aim to provide a new insight into the practice of leadership, its basic concepts, theories, and advantages leadership. 2. The research would aim to analyze the importance of leadership in the current business scenario. 3. Through certain organizational case studies, the research would bring out clearly the changing trend in styles of leadership being adopted in the organization. 4. To make a detailed comparison between traditional leadership and E-leadership styles in the context of current business environment and to indicate as to how they are complementary to each other.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY The practice of leadership is found to be ages old. Over the period of time as the requirements changed, new styles and practices came in use to aid the old ones. Sometimes such new practices comes as an addition to the existing patterns while sometimes they come as a replacement of the old and redundant styles. E-leadership is a new and upcoming concept in the field of leadership studies and practices, which is an addition to the existing styles. Though much has been talked about the concept, there is still scope for studies left.
There is a lack of scholarly writings and research in the sense that how organizations can aid their leadership styles with that of E-leadership practices in order to make it much effective in today’s context. There exists volumes of management literature dealing with the topic of leadership but only a partial fraction of it is found dealing with E-leadership. This makes the scope of study wider. There exists wide opportunity for research work in the field so that the concept is introduced in regular management literature.
Owing to the changing dynamics of business and other concerns, E-leadership is the pattern of the future. In times to come it would be the buzz for organizational effectiveness. Thus research-backed studies are essential for the topic to get its due importance. Such scholarly works would help introduce the topic in regular management studies. Such requirements make the scope of study amply wide. The study would cover the traditional leadership styles, its origin, features, its usage, and advantages.
My research would also show how each of the traditional theory emerged as an answer to the shortcomings of the earlier ones thus making a chain. It would then study the recent practice of E-leadership, its origin, and usage and benefits. After analyzing the two, my research would aim to indicate as to how E-leadership is a practice for enhancing the leadership effectiveness and not a concept that aims to replace the studies of traditional leadership. This would be done through case studies of numerous organizations. Such scope makes the scope amply wide for an in-depth research work.
LITERATURE REVIEW Owing to the wide scope of my study I aim to undergo wide survey of literature. My literary survey would include all the management literature dealing in the topic of leadership. Various journals, articles, magazines and other available research works of similar nature and scope would aid the study. Internet and the articles available on various websites would act as indispensable tool for the purpose. I aim to undertake personal interview of certain managers in organizations who are in into the application of E-leadership practices.
This would enable me to take the first hand experience of those who are using the concept. The responses of the respondents would act as a primary data. Reports of various organizations on its work culture and recent trends and practices would also be referred. This would help in determining the changing work culture in organization. Other articles related to the matter, if any, which would be needed in the course of study, would also be referred to. For the purpose libraries of certain institutes and universities would be relied upon. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Having defined the need for the study and setting out research objectives it is necessary to make a research design. Research design specifies the method and procedures for collection of requisite analysis to arrive at certain meaningful conclusion at the end of the proposed study. In the initial stages up to the final designing of the research work, I intend to use both descriptive as well as exploratory research designs It will include detailed study of related literatures and in-depth interviews with managers of some of the organizations.
In the later stage of the research work I intend to use Conclusive Research Design. For this descriptive methodology will be used by me. All this will help to find a definite solution for the research problem and for drawing specific conclusion regarding the problem under study. SAMPLE DATA In this research I intend to keep the sample data as 200, which will include entrepreneurs and managers of few organizations as well as employees, so as to be able to have a better understanding of the changing scenario of leadership styles in today’s organization. EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION OF THE RESEARCH WORK . Will be able to understand the concept of leadership and its various theories. 2. Will be able to have a better insight about the traditional leadership being used in various organizations. 3. Understand the evolving concept of E-leadership and its application in the organizations. 1. Will be able to do a detailed comparative study of the two kinds of leaderships and their impact on the organizations in the current market scenario. 2. Will be able to recommend to the organization the various advantage and disadvantages of adapting a particular kind of leadership.