#Leadership: Leading an Industrial Age Organization in the time of Social Media

Szczerbaniwicz, Gary
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

The pervasive growth of social media over the past 10 years has impacted how we communicate, how we share information and how we relate to one another. Communication, information sharing and relationships are all integral parts of leadership. The question is: how do we lead now that social media is a part of our lives and organizations? This exploratory study examines how leadership is conducted in a contemporary organization with industrial age roots where social media is present. Using a qualitative approach, the leader-follower relationship is explored through the perspectives of the leaders and followers in a context of major change to determine what part social media played in the decision-making, relationship, and sensemaking activities within the organization. In this instance, the knowledge and ‘mature’ use of social media (and other means of communicating) were managed effectively by the leadership to maintain the trust of the followers and retain the role of sensemaker for the organization. The potential negative impacts of unfettered use of social media were mitigated by a number of factors. Implications for leadership and future research are discussed to generate discussion and further exploration of the relationship between social media and leadership.

Leadership, Social Media, Communication, Relationships, Information Sharing