Distributed Leadership & Online Communities: Call for papers

I am a member of emint (Association for Online Community Professionals) and today I received and here share a CALL FOR PAPERS.

Submission Deadline for a 2-page proposal or manuscript: July 31, 2008
Special issue of Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal
on Humans in ICT Environments:
Distributed Leadership & Online Communities
edited by:

Niki Lambropoulos & Dr. Leslie Gadman
London South Bank University, London, UK
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Overall Objectives of the Special Issue

The main objective of this special issue is to bring together contributions on the topic of Distributed Leadership and Online Communities. The key objective is to look into the importance of online communities in participatory decision making in companies and organisational and governmental institutions. This special issue also will focus on real life case studies where such evaluations have been applied and validated. We hope the special issue not only will report first experiences and debates, but also go beyond the current state of the art by looking at future prospects and emerging applications.

Distributed Leadership and Online Communities

Leadership refers to top down, bottom up, and distributed management. Top down is the traditional model of centralising control, and bottom up is referring to transformational leadership. In this latter scheme, the empathic leader plays the role of the instrument between him/herself and the community to which s/he belongs. Distributed leadership builds upon participants´ contributions in participatory decision making. Despite the fact that the capacity for leadership is both individual and collective (Ancona & Bresman, 2007; Senge, 1996), at the moment, managemental methodologies and techniques for both top down and bottom up approaches exist, but not for distributed leadership.

Distributed leadership (Woods, 2004) has been related to participatory decision making and participatory democracy. To Ghosh (2002), it is a matter of a more purposeful resolve to build “multi-dimensional trust” within an organisation. This concept is further enhanced by the myriad ICTs and online technologies available today. Examples of applied participatory management come from media and computer companies, as well as governmental, educational , and governmental organisations. For example, some program producers encourage viewers to vote on the plot and decide on the actual end to a film, series, or protagonists. Customers for some companies can make suggestions and vote on their ideas for products. Students´ online communities in universities make suggestions to enhance policy-making decisions. The EU has made several attempts to involve the citizens in decision making by providing online discussion forums and tools to facilitate this process.
(See, for example, the Interactive Policy-making Tool- aims to improve governance by using the Internet to collect and analyse reactions of citizens and enterprises, evaluate existing EU policies, and facilitate open consultations on new initiatives.) However, the organisational structures to support the non-hierarchical nature of power and authority structures are not widely studied. Furthermore, there are few studies considering the incorporation of information systems into a business perspective for building direct ties and relationships that benefit from improved communication with customers or reform public services.

As such, this special issue will be of great use to those who study, design, construct, moderate, evaluate and maintain distributed leadership techniques in organizations, e-learning, eBusiness, e-government and other related domains.


Ancona, D., & Bresman, H. (2007). X-teams: How to build teams that lead, innovate and succeed. City, State, USA: Harvard Business School Press.
Ghosh, P. S. (2002). Committing to re-Build trust as a “true servant” of a fractured civilization: Towards a more enlightened leadership. Leadership Speeches and Presentations, 2008, IAP Leadership Session. Retrieved April 15, 2008, from
Senge, P. (1996). Leading learning organizations: The bold, the powerful, and the invisible. Retrieved May 21, 2008, from
Woods, P. A. (2004). Democratic leadership: Drawing distinctions with distributed leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 7(1), 3-26.

Recommended topics include but are not limited to the following

o Introduction: Leadership before and after the turn of the century, concepts analysis
o Distributed leadership: Theories on management and engagement; organisational strategy and the role of senior management; the role of communication; vision and organisational goals; research on measuring levels of engagement
o Online communities: The use of online networks for decision making.
o Analysis: multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches as in query-based techniques (interviews, focus groups, surveys; content and discourse analysis); the use of ethnographic methodologies and fieldwork.
o Design: Conceptual and detailed design; ontologies; design to enhance ideas sharing and co-creativity; participatory design; prototyping (paper/electronic); screen design; leadership architecture; design of distributed leadership schemes and features; other innovative design approaches.
o Evaluation: Tools and evaluation techniques; multidisciplinary evaluation; frameworks to apply results into practice.
o Applicability of distributed leadership in online communities
o Case studies
o Future trends


Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a manuscript or a 2-page manuscript proposal no later than July 31, 2008. All will be notified by August 31, 2008 about the status of their proposals. Full rough drafts are expected to be submitted by November 30, 2008 and will be reviewed on a blind review basis.

Inquiries and submissions can be forwarded electronically (Word document) to:

Niki Lambropoulos
Researcher, Online Community Architect & Business Analyst
PhD student at the Centre for Interactive Systems Engineering
London South Bank University
London, UK
e-mail: niki at lambropoulos dot org

Dr. Leslie Gadman
Senior Lecturer in Business Strategy and Organizational Behaviour
London South Bank University
London, UK
e-mail: gadmanl at lsbu dot ac dot uk

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