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ERIC Number: EJ1228828
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2472-5749
Impactful Leadership Traits of Virtual Leaders in Higher Education
Alward, Erin; Phelps, Yvonne
Online Learning, v23 n3 p72-93 Sep 2019
Universities are increasingly leveraging virtual teams into their organizational structure and strategic framework for many functions including academic administration and faculty leadership. One benefit of a virtual workforce is the ability to hire the most qualified individuals regardless of where they are physically located. As the virtual workforce expands, leaders may intuitively rely on traditional face-to-face approaches and strategies for employee oversight and motivation. These techniques may be ineffective or challenging to use in the virtual environment necessitating new approaches. Leaders of virtual teams need to understand the intricacies associated with these groups and be cognizant of factors that assist in creating cohesiveness, trust, and communication amongst virtual teams. This qualitative phenomenological study explores leaders' perceptions surrounding competencies needed to effectively lead virtual teams in online education. A decisive sampling method was used to identify 10 experienced academic leaders who supervise virtual teams. As a result of the interviews, seven major themes emerged: (a) training and development; (b) trust; (c) emotional intelligence; (d) communication/team building/technology; (e) employee recognition and motivation; (f) leadership styles; and (g) virtual leadership competencies unique to higher education. Based on these themes and further evaluation, the need for specific soft skills and robust technology emerged. Specifically, organizational success partially hinges on comprehensive training for virtual leaders, the significance of trust, emotional intelligence, and effective, respectful communication.
Online Learning Consortium, Inc. P.O. Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. Tel: 888-898-6209; Fax: 888-898-6209; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A