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A qualitative investigation on combined effects of distant leadership, organisational agility and digital collaboration on perceived employee engagement

Ronald Busse (FOM University of Applied Sciences, Essen, Germany)
Georg Weidner (School of Business and Management, Bucks New University, High Wycombe, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 13 May 2020

Issue publication date: 30 May 2020

4594

Abstract

Purpose

Environments coined as “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) are hotbeds for new modi operandi in organisations that involve a shift from face-to-face towards distant leadership, as well as from “classical” towards agile organisation principles.

Design/methodology/approach

At the same time, digital collaboration tools have found their way into daily business operations. As the above changes arguably leave deep imprints on performance indicators, our work accordingly illuminates potential impacts on employee engagement. Based on a German sample, we conduct a qualitative investigation featuring in-depth interviews.

Findings

Our findings indicate a curvilinear inverted (approximate) U-shaped relation between what we dub “leadership richness continuum” (including specific characteristics of leadership, agility, as well as the application of a digital collaboration tool) and engagement.

Originality/value

Although our work may inspire practicing managers, we also contribute to theory development providing a new theoretical model for employee engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Busse, R. and Weidner, G. (2020), "A qualitative investigation on combined effects of distant leadership, organisational agility and digital collaboration on perceived employee engagement", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 535-550. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-05-2019-0224

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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