Journal of Computer Information Systems, Volume 50, Issue 1, Page(s) 133-140.
An abundance of previous theories and empirical studies have verified that leadership styles indeed can influence members' creativity and effectiveness in both traditional team settings and in a virtual context. Moreover, past research has also indicated that leaders can build relationships among team members and increase mutual trust due to the face to face interaction made possible in a traditional office environment. However, there is little empirical work that articulates how leaders behave and motivate their members in a virtual context. This study employed an experimental design with 50 undergraduate juniors who acted as the team members and 23 Executive MBA students who acted as the team leaders. The main goal was to study the impact of leaders' motivating language (i.e., empathetic, direction-giving, and mixed usage) on team members' creative performance. Key findings indicate that there are slightly significant differences between three kinds of motivating language approaches. The study shows that leaders who give virtual team members feedback via written communication that is both directional and empathetic are perceived as more effective and lead to better performance.