The changing face of leadership: making an impression in the technically mediated landscape

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Ferdi, Iris, Justin Post

Authors: S. E. Norris, T. H. Porter

Publication Year: 2011


Journal: Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies

Volume: 4

Issue: 4

Categories: Organizational Change


Organizational leadership in the technically mediated landscape requires drastic changes in how companies interact with constituents and make a good impression. Advances in computer technology, the Internet, and social networking applications yield new ways for people to communicate information about one another and about organizations. The impressions made on people inside and outside an organization are becoming more important than ever before, and how the organization makes these impressions is changing as a result of social media and networking. Leadership in the technically mediated landscape has been referred to as virtual leadership (Avolio, Kahai, & Dodge, 2000). Yet it can be argued that leadership in the technically mediated landscape has shifted from the executive at the top of an organization to the members of the social media network. Friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks are becoming more influential than people in positions of authority. Therefore, making an impression in 21st-century organizations through social networking is changing the face of leadership.

Critical Reflection

In real life, people are constantly performing identity management on various levels and in various ways. However, with the arrival of the internet the behavior on social media is "impression management on steroids" (according to Wather). Because Facebook is by far the largest SNS (Social Networking Site) on the web, moste research focuses on the effects of Facebook. They found that the large number of weak ties on Facebook give a huge boost to ones social capital. Not only people do impression monitoring online. Companies are also trying to make an impression on customers. These technologies and online impressions shape the way in which the future 'virtual offices' should be designed. Managers should be more and more aware on what to post to Facebook and other SNS. This new style of virtual managements asks for a different style than the traditional top-down management. Peer-mediated influence is more and more growing compared to traditional hierarchies. This visualization of management will eventually lead to hybrid and finally virtual organisations.


Ferdi, Iris, Justin Post