Research project observes leaders during the crisis

With a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark, Dana Minbaeva, Professor at CBS, is currently examining the virtual leadership landscape during the corona crisis. According to the latest figures it is not half bad. This study may show a new way to lead – and a new way to work.


Dana Minbaeva

Working from home means sometimes missing out on formal as well as informal information. Leaders may find it difficult to maintain their leadership authority under new, virtual meeting formats.
For the benefit of future leadership it is immensely important to study the virtual leadership taking place after large parts of the population have been sent home due to the corona pandemic. 

Together with Steen E. Navrbjerg, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Dana Minbaeva, Professor at CBS, has received a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark of more than DKK 1m for the project ”Virtuel ledelse under corona-krisen – nye krav til ledelse (virtual leadership during the corona crisis – new requirements for leadership)”. Minbaeva is Professor of Strategic and Global Human Resource Management and Navrbjerg is a member of the Employment Relations Research Centre. The project aims to send out a questionnaire to 1000 public and private workplaces and interview at least 36 leaders.  

Already in July the first results will be available and the researchers will present their results at a webinar for the Confederation of Danish Industry. 

In September, the researchers will return to the leaders to examine whether the corona crisis has led to new leadership practices to be applied in future. 

Some professional groups handle the crisis better
Dana Minbaeva has already shared some takeaways from the first 22 qualitative interviews with leaders from public and private workspaces. 

“Our first finding is that it is actually going okay. Most senior managers’ evaluation is that their companies are at 85-90% of productivity and they believe that is not that bad given the circumstances. Most of the companies still have large backlogs; e.g. products could not be shipped to international customers and warehouses are being filled up but in general business continues.” 

She continues:
“Not surprisingly, we found that people with different personalities deal with working from home differently but what we also found is that some professional groups handle the crisis better. For example, engineers like to be led the corona way.” 

According to Minbaeva, managers have to be aware of employees feeling either included or excluded. 

“There is a big difference between being laid off temporarily and working from home. In both groups employees may feel included and excluded and this reality requires a differentiated approach from managers.“

If you want to follow the findings, ask for a membership of the LinkedIn group “Virtuel Ledelse under Corona-krisen”. The researchers will regularly add new observations to the group.

For more information, please contact Dana Minbaeva, Professor at the Department of Strategy and Innovation at CBS. 

The page was last edited by: Communications // 04/04/2022