Does Distant Leadership Make a Difference? Exploring the Effects of Leadership and Substitutes for Leadership on Virtual Worker Performance and Satisfaction
Lyon, Julie Stella
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Virtual work, or working from a site other than the main office, has been receiving a great deal of attention in recent years. What has not received the attention it deserves is the role of the virtual worker's leader. In the present study I tested a framework for understanding a virtual leader's influence on the subordinate outcomes of performance and satisfaction. I also included several of the variables suggested by the literature on substitutes for leadership (Kerr & Jermier, 1978). Employing a lab study framework, I crossed three levels of leadership (transactional, transformational, and no leadership) with three categories of leadership substitutes (conscientiousness, feedback, and climate for well-being). The effect of leadership on performance quantity was significant, with participants in the transactional condition outperforming participants in the transformational condition. Additionally, interesting interactions emerged between leadership and feedback and between leadership and conscientiousness on performance. Limitations and implications are discussed.