Title

Something completely different - high tech leaders: a portrait of leadership in the digital age

Department

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dept. of Psychology

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Rapid technological advancements are changing the way organizations work and communicate. It is now possible to build thriving companies that are completely geographically distributed as opposed to gathered in a single location or worksite, and the number of such companies is on the rise . These companies adopt cutting edge technology platforms to facilitate asynchronous, distributed communication, which creates a unique workplace dynamic drastically different from a traditional face-to-face co-located workplace. Leadership is an extremely important, and often studied part of every workplace, but how is leadership manifested in this new type of work environment? This presentation will discuss the challenges of leadership in a distributed work environment and will illustrate one approach to studying leadership communication especially through the innovative Foresight platform. This internet-based platform has been developed by Spartan Systems, LLC, and for this research, will be leveraged to introspectively profile leadership in the context of the work-oriented IM/chatroom platform, Slack. The Slack platform targets workplaces of all sizes with the goal of drastically reducing email communication. It is widely adopted by companies in the technology sector and has a rich ecosystem of apps, bots, and integrations with other platforms (Dropbox, Twitter, MailChimp, etc.) which extend its usefulness and make it highly adaptable to meet the needs of all kinds of teams. Because of this, a very large portion of many companies’ internal communication takes place solely through Slack, making it an ideal data source for studying workplace dynamics, particularly in the form of interpersonal communication. To begin this presentation, it will be shown that it is possible to make comparisons between known leadership traits (e.g., humility, responsibility, discipline, and passion) and measurable Slack metrics. Spartan’s interpretation of these results will be presented, and the audience will also be encouraged to participate by providing insights they may have about the data that are shared in this session. Session attendees will also be pushed to consider the following question: While it is interesting to explore leadership in the way we commonly understand it, why should the data be forced to fit into one or more of the existing theoretical molds? It will be shown that Slack data can be modeled as a network graph, and advanced analysis of this graph can reveal individuals who are perceived as (and arguably therefore are) leaders by other members of their work groups. Unlike self- or other-reports of leadership that typically involve responding to survey-type questions, this method relies on how an individual network behaves as a leader or follower. As such, this is a method that can translate well across different organizations and also a method that is likely to reduce many of the biases associated with traditional forms of leadership assessment. This session will conclude with a discussion of where the Foresight platform is headed next.

Date

10-22-2016

Subject

Industrial and organizational psychology

Document Type

presentations

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

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Something completely different - high tech leaders: a portrait of leadership in the digital age

Rapid technological advancements are changing the way organizations work and communicate. It is now possible to build thriving companies that are completely geographically distributed as opposed to gathered in a single location or worksite, and the number of such companies is on the rise . These companies adopt cutting edge technology platforms to facilitate asynchronous, distributed communication, which creates a unique workplace dynamic drastically different from a traditional face-to-face co-located workplace. Leadership is an extremely important, and often studied part of every workplace, but how is leadership manifested in this new type of work environment? This presentation will discuss the challenges of leadership in a distributed work environment and will illustrate one approach to studying leadership communication especially through the innovative Foresight platform. This internet-based platform has been developed by Spartan Systems, LLC, and for this research, will be leveraged to introspectively profile leadership in the context of the work-oriented IM/chatroom platform, Slack. The Slack platform targets workplaces of all sizes with the goal of drastically reducing email communication. It is widely adopted by companies in the technology sector and has a rich ecosystem of apps, bots, and integrations with other platforms (Dropbox, Twitter, MailChimp, etc.) which extend its usefulness and make it highly adaptable to meet the needs of all kinds of teams. Because of this, a very large portion of many companies’ internal communication takes place solely through Slack, making it an ideal data source for studying workplace dynamics, particularly in the form of interpersonal communication. To begin this presentation, it will be shown that it is possible to make comparisons between known leadership traits (e.g., humility, responsibility, discipline, and passion) and measurable Slack metrics. Spartan’s interpretation of these results will be presented, and the audience will also be encouraged to participate by providing insights they may have about the data that are shared in this session. Session attendees will also be pushed to consider the following question: While it is interesting to explore leadership in the way we commonly understand it, why should the data be forced to fit into one or more of the existing theoretical molds? It will be shown that Slack data can be modeled as a network graph, and advanced analysis of this graph can reveal individuals who are perceived as (and arguably therefore are) leaders by other members of their work groups. Unlike self- or other-reports of leadership that typically involve responding to survey-type questions, this method relies on how an individual network behaves as a leader or follower. As such, this is a method that can translate well across different organizations and also a method that is likely to reduce many of the biases associated with traditional forms of leadership assessment. This session will conclude with a discussion of where the Foresight platform is headed next.