Research to advance study of leader effectiveness in online settings

A Center for Leadership Science interdisciplinary research team is receiving a $692,881 federal grant to discover new ways to enhance leader and team effectiveness in online environments, using artificial intelligence technologies and diverse fields of expertise. The funding from the U.S. Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences will span three years.

“With the rise of online work and virtual teamwork, effective training of leaders is increasingly important. Yet the current tools and approaches to evaluate leaders, such as 360-degree assessments, can be vulnerable to subjective bias,” said CLS Co-Director George Banks, who is the project’s leader. The CLS is based in the Belk College of Business and includes faculty from several colleges and the School of Data Science.

“Even as work in online contexts has expanded, the field of leadership development has not adapted to new settings and the changing needs of a wide array of leaders and emerging leaders. We have little understanding of effective leader behaviors in virtual settings, and there are limited tools to train aspiring leaders to work effectively with teams in online settings,” said Banks, chair of the Department of Management and faculty in the interdisciplinary Organizational Science Ph.D. program.

Along with Banks, team researchers are Scott Tonidandel, management professor and director of the organizational science program; Wenwen Dou, computer science professor and co-director of the Ribarsky Center for Visualization