Scholars argue that contemporary movements in the age of social media are leaderless and self-organised. However, the concept of connective leadership has been put forward to highlight the need for movements to have figures who connect entities together. This paper presents a qualitative research of grassroots human rights groups in risky context to address the question of how leadership is performed in information and communication technology-enabled activism. The paper reconceptualises connective leadership as decentred, emergent and collectively performed, and provides a broader and richer account of leaders’ roles, characteristics and challenges. These challenges contribute to the critical literature on the role of ICTs in collective action.
Evronia Azer is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Business in Society, Faculty of Business and Law, Coventry University. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis titled: “Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-Enabled Collective Action in Critical Context: A Study of Leadership, Visibility and Trust”, at Royal Holloway’s School of Business and Management. During her PhD, she received different awards for her research, including the Civil Society Scholar Award from Open Society Foundations in 2016. With a background in software engineering, Evronia is broadly interested in how technology can provide innovative and creative solutions for societies’ problems; ICT4D, and specifically interested in ICTs in collective action, and data privacy and surveillance.