The Virtual Leader Construct: The Mass Mediatization and Simulation of Transformational Leadership

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Journal Article
Leadership, 2005, 1 (4), pp. 407 - 428
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This article explores what happens when leaders and leadership becomes virtualized through the mass media and proposes the Virtual Leader Construct (VLC) – a non-human image of a leader who is purposefully created by an organization. Using examples from the fast food industry it is proposed that there are three orders of the VLC: VLC as an imitation of a former flesh-and-blood leader; VLC as a creative re-representation of a former leader; and VLC as a fabricated leader with no direct relation to an actual person. It is argued that VLCs can and do perform potent transformation leadership functions for organizations – functions that are further enabled the more they are virtualized. © 2005, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
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