Remote Control - Redefining Leadership in the Age of Hybrid Work

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Sammanfattning: The pandemic, rather than strategy, has led to organizations’ most apparent digital transformation in the last years due to unprecedented changes in the business environment and society (De Smet et al., 2021; McKinsey, 2020). This post-pandemic shift to hybrid work has required adjustments from companies, managers, and employees to adapt to a new normal where the workplace, in many cases, is digital (Larson & Dechurch, 2020). However, there are still challenges in adapting to this new way of working, such as inequality and disparities in the teams and challenges with leadership, team cohesion and communication. (Larson & Dechurch, 2020; McKinsey, 2020; McKinsey, 2022) Leadership is one of the keys to organizational success and is emphasized as one of the most critical aspects of successful remote work (Offstein et al., 2010; Gross, 2018). Previous research about leadership styles has defined transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles to have different influences in on-site work settings (Bass & Avolio, 1994). However, there is a current gap in the literature on leadership styles and their influence on successful hybrid teams (DeRosa et al., 2004; Bell & Kozlowski, 2002; Hoch & Kozlowski, 2014). Therefore, this master’s thesis has studied leadership styles in hybrid settings and built a theoretical framework for understanding key leadership styles for managing hybrid teams in different contexts. Eight semi-structured interviews with hybrid team leaders were conducted to examine the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work and the connections between leadership styles and perceived hybrid work success. The findings of the study suggest that although most employees like the flexibility and potential of working in hybrid settings, it is crucial for leaders and organizations to be supportive and adaptable to the individual needs of the employees to combat any challenges and to utilize opportunities fully. A mix of the transformational, transactional, and Laissez-faire leadership styles appeared to be the optimum, with the transformational skills emphasized as the most important for successfully leading a hybrid team. The study concluded the importance of leaders acknowledging the opportunities and challenges of leading hybrid teams in their particular context and having an adaptable and flexible approach to modify and develop their leadership styles to lead hybrid teams successfully. Lastly, the study found a neglected perspective of leaders in the hybrid work setting, where although the general view of hybrid work was positive, some respondents experienced hybrid work as more time-consuming, pressuring, and challenging than on-site work in their role as hybrid leaders.

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