Getting everyone on board: The role of inspirational leadership in geographically dispersed teams

Aparna Joshi, Mila B. Lazarova, Hui Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Arich body of research in the area of leadership has examined the influence of transformational/charismatic forms of leadership on employees' motivation, attitudes, and behaviors. This research is based on the assumption that leaders are able to influence followers based on close, sustained, and personalized contact with them. However, new organizational realities are challenging this assumption. Drawing on the intersections between social identity theory and leadership research, this study highlights the importance of inspirational leaders who, by developing socialized relationships with team members, can foster attitudes that are critical for team effectiveness in geographically dispersed settings. Findings support the role of this form of leadership in dispersed settings. Inspirational leadership emerged as a significant predictor of individuals' trust in team members and commitment to the team. Further, the positive relationship between inspirational leadership and individuals' commitment to the team and trust in team members was strengthened in teams that were more dispersed suggesting that inspirational leaders are important in all contexts but that their importance is underscored in highly dispersed contexts. Finally, shared perceptions of trust and commitment predicted performance at the team level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-252
Number of pages13
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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