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The role of Web 2.0 (social) technologies in leadership within the organisation: through the analytical lens of the actor-network theory

Soga, L. R. ORCID: (2017) The role of Web 2.0 (social) technologies in leadership within the organisation: through the analytical lens of the actor-network theory. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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We live in an increasingly technological age in which ubiquitous technologies permeate nearly every aspect of life in contemporary organisations. One such group of technologies is what are referred to as Web 2.0 (social) technologies manifesting in applications like social media for online interactions. In this study, Google+, a social technology, is deployed by Drugster, a Fortune 500 organisation for internal communication among organisational members. The study investigates how this technological actor became an integral part of the network of relations in the organisation and how it intermediates the manager-employee leadership relationship. By following actors – both human and non-human – as they implement the technology, the study uses interviews, observations, and netnography as methods of inquiry to understand how this new technological entrant influences the practice of leadership inside the organisation. The study finds that in the digital space, managers, employees and technology all enact relational practices that devolve leadership in a zone of heterogeneous relations. In network construction, the study finds that actors deploy strategies that make them stand in relation with the interests of, and in relation to the actions of those they seek to influence. Here, leadership is argued as a relational enactment of influence in a heterogeneous network in which evolving social order and change are constructed, sustained, and or constrained through intermediations that seek to (de)stabilise the network. The findings also uncover unintended consequences that emerge as a result of the deployment of this technological actant for the manager-employee leadership relationship. Using the analytical lens of the actor-network theory, the study contributes to relational leadership literature by proposing a network perspective that embraces emergent, ambiguous, relational and heterogeneous properties of the manager-employee-technology relationship – what it refers to as a technologized manager-employee relationship.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Vogel, B. and Graca, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:78143


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