This paper describes a theoretical model that articulates how members of virtual teams engage in various impression management behaviors to influence their peers' assessment of them as leaders. Given that previous research has indicated that men and women engage in different impression management behaviors and that settings differ with respect to the degree of technological capabilities, our model includes these nuances. Specifically, we adapted the literature associated with impression management toinvestigate: (a) the efficacy of two key impression management behaviors-self promotion (an aggressive strategy) and supplication (a passive strategy)-that males andfemales engage in, in their quest to be perceived as leaders by members of their virtual team; (b) whether the extent of different technological capabilities affects thisrelationship; and (c) whether the strength of the aforementioned relationship changes over time.Our theoretical model offers three interesting implications: First, successful impression management strategies (i.e., those that help establish leadership) in very virtual settings are likely to differ from those in less virtual settings. Second, initial impressions are presumed to matter. Once impressions are formed they are unlikely to change in the short term. They may change over the longer term, as groups build a history of interactions and performance, but those changes are likely to be slow. Third, greater use of technological capabilities, we argue, offers minority members (women, typically) the freedom to break out of gender-stereotypical impression managementstrategies and establish themselves as leaders without facing potential backlashes (in contrast to settings that are less virtual).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tcarte/14/