A substantial body of literature in research and in practice outlines the performance-enhancing potential of an increased number of women in leadership positions as well as the ethical obligation to make further progress in this regard. However, the pace at which change is happening remains slow. Many scholars have identified general factors on the personal level and in the environment that hinder women in assuming leadership positions. However, scientific knowledge about the concrete interactions that leaders and followers encounter and that they use to claim and grant leadership is scarce, particularly from a comparative perspective on gender. Yet, these daily situations are essential for the successful establishment of leadership and consequently long-term advancements on the career ladder. If, for instance, followers show a more assertive reaction towards a female manager in day-to-day meetings than they would towards a male manager, does this trigger specific subsequent behaviors in the female manager versus the male manager? How does one verbal or nonverbal incident lead to the other, thus forming sequences of behaviors that strengthen or weaken the manager’s position? And do these emergent social dynamics ultimately result in the manifestation of higher-level phenomena, such as the manager’s effectiveness and the follower’s endorsement of the manager? The DFG project aims to answer these and related questions.
In addition to studying the micro-dynamics, the DFG project also focuses on another increasingly relevant topic: Virtual collaboration in the context of work. The trend of working from home has significantly gained popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers were able to show that the 'lockdown' in many regions of the world was followed by an almost 13%-increase of meetings. Even as mandatory 'lockdowns' were gradually lifted, many people continue to work (partly or full-time) from home. Companies such as Twitter and Facebook have already announced their willingness to allow employees to freely choose from where they work. This change gives managers and employees the ooportunity to collaboratively redesign work. But how can communication in virtual spaces be used effectively? And how can managers successfully lead remotely?
The DFG project is entitled “May the power be with you? A micro-dynamic perspective on the role of gender in claiming and granting leadership in interactions of managers and employees”. The data collection will take place in face-to-face as well as virtual meetings (Zoom/Skype/etc.). Prof. Van Quaquebeke, KLU Hamburg, is the cooperation partner of the project.
If you are interested in a cooperation, would like to support our research and develop your own managers for a successful virtual cooperation, please register on our project website or contact our project coordinator Lioba Gierke.