Distance Leadership - Exploring Distance in the Leader-Follower Relationship

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Type and Duration

PhD-Thesis, March 2012 until December 2015 (finished)


Van Riemsdijk Chair in Entrepreneurship

Main Research

Growth and Complexity

Field of Research



Due to a rapidly spreading global access to the internet and newly evolving collaboration technologies, companies can now benefit from saving time and costs by having web-based conferences and meetings. Online document sharing, telephone conferences, instant messaging and mobile work arrangements are some factors, why companies might be more likely to assemble teams rather by competencies, than solely by availability. Despite evident advantages, these innovations hold severe challenges for international organizations.

This research project focuses on the question how geographically distributed employees can be lead effectively. The dissertation focuses on the influence of distance dimensions (physical distance, leader-member exchange, and interaction frequency) on the leader-follower relationship in organizations. The central question aims at quantitatively examining the method of how distance might impact the relationship between leader behavior and follower self-leadership and performance. Findings may assist distant leaders and leaders of physically distant employees on how to lead followers more effectively.


Leadership, Distance Leadership, E-leadership, team performance, Self-leadership