Leader Emergence in an Internet Environment

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With the progression of technology, particularly the Internet, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations, both business and academic, to effectively use the Internet for research and data collection. In this study, leaderless discussions conducted completely in an Internet environment were used to study how individuals emerged as leaders. The study assessed Leaderless Discussion variables as well as Internet process variables such as emoticons, web-based initializations, and technical speak as predictors of leader emergence. The findings suggest that an Internet-mediated Leaderless Discussion is fundamentally different from a face-to-face environment. Traditional Leaderless Discussion variables (Gender, Satisfaction, and Intelligence) are not predictive of leader emergence in computer-mediated context. On the other hand, many of the Internet process variables (Initializations, Word Count, and Number of Posts) were found to have strong positive relationships with leader emergence further highlighting the uniqueness of the Internet environment.


Keywords: Leadership, Internet, Leader Emergence, Virtual Groups, Computer Mediated Communication, Electronic Communication
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Erika Kelly

University of Oklahoma, Department of Psychology
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Currently, I am attending the University of Oklahoma as a doctoral psychology student with a specialization in quantitative methods. My research is focused on evaluating the Internet as a research tool, particularly how an Internet-mediated environment compares to a face-to-face interaction. As virtual teams become more commonplace in both the business and education realms, I am interested in both the competitive and cooperative nature of these “faceless” teams. However, the impact of the internet is not limited to group work; many researchers are utilizing the internet for survey design research due to its quick and easy qualities. As such, I am also interested in the impact of program languages and formatting on the psychometric qualities of online tests.

Ref: T08P0236