An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

Exploring Distance in Leader-Follower Relationships

Presenters: Michelle Bligh and Ron Riggio

Date: 28 November 2012

Visit the Psychology Press website or your favorite bookstore to buy the book on which this webinar is based.


Leaders face new challenges as they cope with changes in culture, technology, and the workplace. This webinar examines the impact of distance—physical, interpersonal, and social—on our organizations, our governments, and our societies. It is now quite possible to develop followers and influence others halfway around the world, while it remains equally likely that the follower in the next cubicle may be oblivious to a leader’s sphere of influence. Based on our recent book on the same topic, we will review some initial ideas about how distance is altering the study and practice of leadership.

The webinar will address new research and theory that explores when and how leadership is transformed through space and time, and in what ways the notion of “distance” creates continuously evolving meanings for the leader-follower relationship.

Speaker Information

Dr. Michelle Bligh is an Associate Professor in the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences and the Drucker-Ito School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Her research interests include charismatic leadership, interpersonal trust, and political and executive leadership.

Her work has been published in Journal of Applied Psychology, Leadership, Employee Relations, Leadership Quarterly, Applied Psychology: An International Review, Group and Organization Management, Journal of Managerial Psychology, and The Journal of Business Ethics, and she serves on the editorial review boards of The Leadership Quarterly and Leadership.

She was awarded the 2007 Sage Best Paper Award in Group and Organization Management and the 2003 Sage Outstanding Paper Award for Research Methods. Dr. Bligh has also helped a variety of public and private sector organizations assess and improve their effectiveness in the areas of leadership development, organizational culture, and change management.
Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. He is also an Affiliated Faculty member at the Drucker/Ito School of Management and the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University.

Professor Riggio’s research interests include charismatic and transformational leadership, assessment centers, and nonverbal and emotional communication.

Recent books include Leadership Studies: The Dialogue of Disciplines (Elgar, 2012; co-edited with Michael Harvey) and Distance in Leader-Follower Relations (Routledge, 2012; co-edited with Michelle Bligh), and the forthcoming 6th edition of his text, Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

He worked for several years as both an I-O psychology consultant and a trial strategy consultant on product liability cases.