Remote Working Culture
Remote Working Culture
Introduction (Chapter 1)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious havoc in the corporate world where operators have had to cope with changing forms of operations and unpredictable circumstances. Many businesses have no option but either to cease operations or adapt to new circumstances, including laws and regulations by embracing digital transformation. Nevertheless, as firms are changing to remote work, the impact on worker motivation and attitude are at risk as daily practices change, in return for increased flexibility and little overwatch. Bloom et al. (2014) inform that digital transformation and remote work have been of concern for several years before the health crisis that turned into an economic depression. However, firms that chose to implement digital change as part of their business strategy have witnesses both impressive and negative outcomes working with a remotely placed staff.
Consequently, the study seeks to examine research questions that forms the basis of this research. Thus, the research questions are;
RQ I: How has leadership transformed from the change of face-to-face conversation to digital interaction?
RQ II: How does e-leadership influence the development of a desirable organizational culture?
RQ III: How has remote working (electronic leadership) impacted on leaders and employees’ outcome and motivation?
Significance of the Study
The research is significant because it provides valuable information to organizational leaders and firms in general on how to adjust during this time when the effects of COVID-19 are still evident. The study affirms that it is possible for leaders to manage their teams without having to engage physically through practicing e-leadership. The study happens at a time when firms across the globe are striving to equip their leaders to guide their teams remotely through various approaches (Howard-Grenville, 2020). The research further shows the need to change with changes to remain relevant in the contemporary work environment where things change rapidly. Therefore, knowing how much leadership has changed to more digital forms will encourage leaders to make adjustment to their leadership approach and knowing how e-leadership facilitates operations will motivate organizational leaders to embrace the technique.
Review of Literature (Chapter 2)
Leading remotely or practicing e-leadership refers to leaders performing all their leadership roles and obligations through electronic avenues. Hence, the primary variation between traditional leaders and e-leaders is the setting or environment in which they operate. The COVID-19 crisis has played a significant impact in the evident move to remote working with the steady rise of e-business. Thus, leaders should find ways of using some of the change models to guide them transit into modern forms of offering leadership. A suitable model that may guide leaders to embrace change in the most suitable manner is Lewin’s change management model that was named after its founder, Kurt Lewin, who introduced the concept in the 1950s (Hussain et al., 2016). The first step when using Lewin’s model is to unfreeze, which is also known as the preparation phase. The leader at this stage should critically analyze how things take place now, so they can precisely know what should change to achieve desirable outcomes (Hussain et al., 2016). The leader at this phase also presents the case to the working staff and relay clearly what to expect so every stakeholder is prepared. The second phase when using the model is to proceed with change, which is the implementation stage. The leader at this phase should implement the change and keep everyone in touch through adequate communication and participation (Hussain et al., 2016). The third component when using Lewin’s model is refreezing, which entails embracing measures that will reinforce adopted changes (Hussain et al., 2016). The theoretical foundation offers leaders a place to start and also provides information on what to do going forward with the adoption of e-leadership.
Introducing and using e-leadership to foster organizational culture in a way that motivates workers and impact on their outcome while adhering to Lewin’s model of change presents a better chance to achieve the merits associated with e-governance. One possible merit of deploying e-leadership is that it provides an opportunity to instantly interact one-on-one with potentially thousands of workers. The other possible merit of using e-leadership appropriately is that it makes it possible to utilize talent that does not necessarily come from within or near the workplace, thus making it possible to improve performance. The other reason why leaders should rely on a suitable theoretical framework when deploying e-leadership is that the technique presents an opportunity to improve organizational outcomes by bringing together multi-functional groups that are rich in ideas.
Historical Background of Variables
The independent variables in the study are remote working and e-leadership while the dependent variable is impact on employees’ outcome and motivation. Remote working and e-leadership are the independent variables because no factor impact on their nature. On the other hand, impact on workers’ performance and motivation is the dependent variable because they depend on how effective leaders engage them through electronic platforms. Nonetheless, the mediator or mediating variable that connects the independent and dependent variables, and which explains the connection between the two forms is the electronic avenue such as a smartphone or computer because there would be no connection without these devices. All these variables are important in determining the research outcomes.
Critical Review on Association
The identified variables (independent and dependent) have significant association, which make them suitable for the study. An evident connection between the variables identified for the research is that one is likely to impact on the other and any change may have significant impact on a particular variable. Specifically, how the leader deploys leadership techniques using virtual avenues will influence how workers perform their work as well as determine the organizational culture (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2020). Leaders who use effective leadership techniques are likely to motivate their employees and build the suitable work culture as opposed to leaders who use inappropriate or ineffective methods. Consequently, the variables have some connections, which make them suitable for further analysis.
The hypothesis for the research is that more leaders have embraced working remotely, especially in the wake of COVID-19, which has significantly impacted on the operations of members of staff. It is expected that workers will become more motivated when leaders believe in them that they will do the right thing even without physical monitoring.
A research framework is suitable when conducting or contemplating conducting a research because it offer an underlying guide to back up the researcher’s collective research initiatives. Developing and adhering to a research framework is important because a research typically entails different activities and also takes many forms as well as vary in scope. Therefore, creating a research framework is a fundamental factor that all researchers should consider. The following is a graphical presentation of this research that seeks to find the possible impact of e-leadership in fostering desirable organizational culture. It identifies the problem, the purpose of the study, the research questions, and the variables, which are all related in completing the research.
The research framework in this case falls into four primary sections – the problem, purpose, research questions, and conceptual framework. The problem serves as the basis for conducting the research and provides insight into the nature of the study. The purpose is the overall objective for performing the research, which is to find out how and why leaders are shifting to e-leadership methods now that COVID-19 still has a major impact on business operations. The third component of the research framework is the research questions, which identify the specific areas the study is examining. The final aspect is the conceptual framework, which mostly relates to the methodology part. The conceptual framework will provide guidance on hypothesis formation, understanding the relationship between variables, and knowing how they relate to the research questions.
Methodology (Chapter 3)
The population comprises of relevant literary sources that analyze remote working and impact of e-leadership in fostering a desirable work culture and motivating workers. The sources will come from various reliable databases including ERIC, JSTOR, ScienceDirect, PubMed, Scopus, and Directory of Open Access Journals among others. Different websites will also serve vital roles in providing relevant sources for the study. However, the researcher must be very keen to identify the suitable literature for the research.
The Sample Technique
The study will utilize stratified sampling method where the population is first separated into subgroups known as strata, which all share similar features. The approach is suitable where the researcher expects the measurements of interest to differ between the various subgroups while the data collector wants to achieve representation from all available subgroups (Mallet et al., 2012). For example, in this study the researcher will stratify literary sources based on content and relevance to the study. The study sample will then be acquired by picking suitable articles or sample sizes from each available stratum. In stratified sampling, the researcher is free to select non-equal samples from every stratum. For example, if the researcher learns that there are more sources on remote working as opposed to electronic-leadership, he will be compelled to choose unequal samples from each side. However, the researcher may have no option but to choose from each stratum proportionally if it turns out that each area presents the same number of sources (Mallet et al., 2012). Various factors make the stratified sampling technique a suitable approach for this study. One of the reasons why the approach is suitable is that compared to simple random sampling, it utilizes specific features that can offer more precise representation of the entire population depending on what is utilized to separate in into different subdivisions. Nevertheless, the researcher must acknowledge that the selection of suitable strata for a study sample may not be an easy process (Mallet et al., 2012). A second limitation is that arranging and assessing the outcomes is more difficult contrasted with the simple random sampling technique. Nonetheless, the sampling technique is the most effective for this research despite the identified limitations.
Determining the appropriate data and measurement scales allows the researcher to organize, recognize, analyze, and utilize data to impact on approaches that will allow for the realization of the targeted results. The data in this case will be qualitative in nature, which means it will be non-numerical (UNSW, 2020). Thus, it would be possible to still break down the collected data into sub-divisions using various techniques.
Data Collection and Analysis
The research will gather data through systematic literature review, which requires a researcher to identify, select, and critically analyze research with the aim of responding to clearly identified research questions. The systematic review will adhere to a clearly formulated plan where the criteria is adequately identified before performing the review (Mallet et al., 2012). The method is a transparent, comprehensive search performed over various databases and other literature that provide relevant information for the research. The researcher should use a well thought out plan which has clear focus or provides answers to defined research questions (Xiao & Watson, 2017). The researcher while using the method should pay considerable attention to the key aspects of a systematic literature review, such as transparency, clarity, integration, focus, equality, accessibility, and coverage (Mallet et al., 2012). On the other hand, the descriptive data analysis, which analyzes data based on presented information will serve as the data analysis technique (Mallet et al., 2012). The researcher should know how both approaches work to achieve the best out of them.
The study will take into account certain ethical considerations to ensure that no violations happens in the course of the research. A fundamental factor to consider during data collection is to make sure all sources are verified for use by the public to avoid potential violation of copyright laws. The researcher may have to seek permission from the author in cases where one must get access first before using particular works. Another ethical factor to consider is to avoid all forms of biasness because this could affect the nature and quality of the study. Biasness in selecting and analyzing sources could result in faults that tamper with the overall quality of the study. More fundamentally, the researcher must be cautious to avoid all forms of disturbance to other parties by ensuring that the process happens without any interruption whatsoever.
Leaders while switching to working remotely should consider certain key elements. A critical factor to consider based on the analysis of literature is to focus on maintaining the organizational culture. It takes much time and effort to develop a workplace culture that encourages workers’ best effort to impact on business operations, remain productive, and find fulfilment and happiness in their works and working remotely does not have to tamper with the already adopted culture (Heathfield, 2021). Therefore, leaders should learn the components that require maintenance and nurturing while leaders work outside the office or workplace setting. Leaders should learn to trust their workers when guiding them through e-leadership because members of staff who are handled with respect and trust will likely perform their work more effectively (Heathfield, 2021). Rather than over-monitoring the workers, which can affect their productivity and motivation, it is suitable to come up with suitable alternatives that allow employees to work effectively (Hinds & Elliot, 2021). Another factor to consider to achieve impressive outcome when offering leadership through electronic avenues is to build and nurture a behavior that reinstates the desired organizational culture. Heathfield (2021) informs that offering guidance through virtual forms requires competent leadership approaches when it comes to unifying the team and coordinating projects. It is possible to achieve this by setting goals and objectives for employees as well as create standards for performance so members of staff know precisely what is needed of them (Heathfield, 2021). Besides, leaders should foster a culture that instills the transparency of workers and offers critical response to let members know how they are faring in their respective duties. However, failing to consider such critical components could derail how a leader or employees work remotely.
Nonetheless, leaders should watch out for the possible challenges associated with e-leadership and enact measures that would improve how they lead through electronic platforms. A possible challenge is that it may be difficult to communicate effectively with members who are placed far away, especially when they are not alert (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2020). Consequently, this can disrupt operations and result in inconveniencies. An effective remedy to the problem is maintain constant interaction with every member and to remind everyone to be alert. Another challenge with e-leadership is that some workers may not be as active as they would be if their leader was physically present. Lack of direct monitoring can lead some individuals to lose focus or become less engaged in handling organizational operations. Leaders should encourage their employees to always work hard and be committed to their duties despite the absence of physical monitoring. Another constraint associated with e-leadership is that it is difficult to inspire members and express enthusiasm through electronic means yet these are critical aspects that impact on performance (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2020). A suitable way to deal with the problem is to always remember the significance of encouraging employees despite using electronic means that do not require physical presence. However, disregarding these challenges could have far-reaching implications on the organizational performance.
The research proposal provides a framework that will guide a study seeking to find out how leaders have turned to digital forms to execute their duties and to examine how the shift to virtual platforms impact on employees. The study identifies e-leadership as a critical component in fostering remote organizational culture. However, successful leaders consider certain critical elements. Leaders who want to steer their teams remotely in the most effective manner should stabilize and pay attention to the culture they want to build. Leaders while working remotely should also trust workers and build and nurture the behavior that compliments the desired workplace culture. The proposal identifies systematic literature review as the suitable way of gathering data and descriptive method as an appropriate technique for analyzing the collected information.
Limitations and Direction for Future Research
Future researchers should learn from the limitations in the study and enact measures that would make their researches more informative and impactful. One of the limitations is that the study makes reference to a limited number of sources, which constraints the possibility of gathering a wide range of data. Seeking information would take much time and require additional commitment but overall the quality of data will be more reliable. Thus, future researchers venturing into similar researches should consider including more sources in their researches because this would increase their likelihood of coming up with more convincing and comprehensive findings. Another limitation in the study is that largely relies on qualitative aspects, which deprives it of certain qualities associated with using quantitative approaches. Future researchers may address this concern by using the mixed-method research design that allows for use of both qualitative and quantitative forms in a research.
Heathfield, S. (2021). How to maintain company culture while working remotely. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-maintain-company-culture-while-remote-working-5083958
Hinds, P., & Elliot, B. (2021). WHF doesn’t have to dilute your corporate culture. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2021/02/wfh-doesnt-have-to-dilute-your-corporate-culture
Howard-Grenville, J. (2020). How to sustain your organization’s culture when everyone is remote. Retrieved from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-sustain-your-organizations-culture-when-everyone-is-remote/
Hussain, S., Shen, L., Akram, T., & Haider, M. (2016). Kurt Lewin’s process model for organizational change: The role of leadership and employee involvement: A critical review. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 3, 123-127. doi:10.1016/j.jik.2016.07.002
Kirkpatrick, J., & Kirkpatrick, W. (2020). Remote leadership that drives performance and results. Retrieved from https://www.kirkpatrickpartners.com/blog/Remote-Leadership-That-Drives-Performance-and-Results/#.YWfI69pBxPY
Mallet, R, Hagen-Zanker, J, Slater, R, & Duvendack, M. (2012). The benefits and challenges of using systematic reviews in international development research. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(3), 445-455. doi: 10.1080/19439342.2012.711342
UNSW. (2020). Types of data & the scales of measurement. Retrieved from https://studyonline.unsw.edu.au/blog/types-of-data
Xiao, Y., & Watson, M. (2017). Guidance on conducting a systematic literature review. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 1, doi.org/10.1177/0739456X17723971