Introduction regard to the relations between social media and

 

Introduction

Social
media is transforming the lives of global users who are connected. The
Globalwebindex (2015) surveyed that people spent average 1.72 hours per day
using the Internet to connect to social media platforms. In the UK, the average
person spent 22.9 hours browsing the Internet every week and 49% of the time
was reported to be used for social media (Ofcom, 2017). The improvement of
digital literacy is increasing, including social media literacy. Those who use
a computer or mobile device can have accounts on social media platforms, such
as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn, etc. Leaders are no
exception using these new ways to communicate. There are more and more public figures
and senior managers using Twitter and other forms of social media to
communicate with large audience.

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It
is worth considering that what these new ways of communicating mean for
leadership, and how these developments make difference in terms of how one
could or should lead. With regard to the relations between social media and
leadership, Tredgold (2014) stated that leaders who can really master social
media will be able to significantly increase their influence, and not just in
their direct businesses, while Aula (2010) argued that social media expands the
spectrum of reputation risks and boosts risk dynamics. Leadership in the social
media age has raised more and more concerns in the real world as well as
academic area, and the research for leadership and social media is
unprecedentedly under demanded. Social media is relatively new and how it is
used by leaders in a variety of areas is still under explored and needs further
profound insights (Moorley & Chinn, 2016). Hence, understanding the
development and value of leadership in social media is important. This essay
aims to explore the relationship between leadership and social media in the
contemporary world, specifically focusing on how leaders could and should
perform in risk and crisis management and virtual team.

 

Discussion

There
are diverse dimensions of leadership definitions, and the point of view one
adopts in doing so matters. Leadership has been a topic of interest since
antiquity (Grint, 2011). Leaders in the real world have been defined in a
variety of ways, as appointed or elected, as CEOs or spiritual leaders, as
charismatic or transformational (Bass, 1990; Bass & Avolio, 1994). Today, leadership
is no longer simply described as an individual characteristic or as
differences, but rather is depicted in various model as dyadic, shared,
relational, strategic, global, and a complex social dynamic (Avolio et al.,
2009). The way people approach leadership will impact how they consider the
operation of impact in team, organization, and other conditions, and more
generally how they make sense of the dynamics of social life (Ruben &
Gigliotti, 2016). This essay draws on the definition by Daft (2005) that “leadership
is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real
changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes”.

 

When
asked to think of leadership, communication is a topic frequently linked to
leadership. Several authors have noted that communication is central to
leadership (Awamleh & Gardner, 1999; Frese et al., 2003; Riggio et al.,
2003; Towler, 2003). Novick, Morrow and Mays (2008) stated that the most
significant skills required by a leader are communication skills, and pointed
out that communication will influences and organizes employees towards a common
purpose and to fulfil organizational objective. According to Barrett (2006),
leadership communication can be defined as “the controlled, purposeful transfer
of meaning by which leaders influence a single person, a group, an
organization, or a community…and uses the full range of communication skills
and resources to overcome interferences and to create and deliver messages that
guide, direct, motivate, or inspire others to action”. In addition, Roebuck
(2012) asserted that leadership communication focuses on how to lead change and
inspire a vision for internal communication as well as interacting with
external audiences for projecting the image and reputation for the
organization. However, Ruben and Gigliotti (2016) argued that the linkage between
leadership and communication often is limited to a view of communication as a
tool to be employed by leaders in efforts to achieve specific purposes. Thereby
in their article they examined the broader view of communication that envisions
leadership within the context of social influence to explore communication as
an orientation, a world view, and an obbligato lens for progressing the
understanding of the nature of leadership.

 

Technological
development is changing the fundamental landscape of communication as well as
the internal and external communication formula of organizations. For instance,
in 2009, McKinsey published the results of a survey of nearly 1,700 executives
worldwide about the use of a wide range of Web 2.0 social media platforms,
which showed that 64% used social media internally, 56% to communicate with
customers, and 40% to work with external partners or suppliers. Moreover, about
two thirds of respondents suggested that these activities had provided
measurable business benefits. Although this survey was conducted with limited
participants as well as respondents were assembled randomly in terms of gender,
region, cultural background or age, the results can also indicate the
unprecedented trend of leaders leveraging social media to communicate to a
large extent. As Daft (2005) stated in his book, “social media refers to a
great number of Internet-based applications, including social networking,
wikis, blogs, and so forth, that allow the creation and sharing of user
generated content”.

 

With
the increasingly usage of social media, one of significant concerns for
leadership is managing risk and crisis. In the contemporary business
environment, crises have become more frequent and severe (James, Wooten, &
Dushek, 2011cirsis??).

Social media has expedited the speed where information is shared, extended the
reach of messages, and solidified the ability of disparate individuals to
organization (Gruber et al., 2015). In an age of social media, how leaders could and should manage risk and
crisis has become an increasingly