Title

Shared Leadership: A Social Network Analysis

Date of Award

5-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Joan R. Rentsch

Committee Members

Robert T. Ladd, Michael C. Rush, James Wansley

Abstract

Current leadership theory and research has centered on the attributes, behaviors, and relationships of a single leader. However, researchers now recognize the team as an alternative source of leadership. Theories of shared leadership propose that leadership is a process that can be shared among team members, and that this behavior is beneficial to team performance. The purpose of this study was not only to examine the performance benefits of shared leadership, but also to explore factors that may facilitate its development. Moreover, a social network analysis was used to measure the distribution of leadership among team members and the degree of leadership within the team, providing a richer source of information about shared leadership than the more traditionally used aggregation measurement approach. Results indicated that intragroup trust was a key predictor of both dimensions of shared leadership, which were positively related to team effectiveness. Moreover, the interaction between the two dimensions of shared leadership was significantly related to team viability. However, contrary to expectations, the direction of this interaction suggested that the distribution of leadership within the team was more strongly positively related to team viability when the degree of leadership was low rather than high. These empirical findings are among the first on the relatively new concept of shared leadership, and they draw attention to the need for further research to more fully understand the causes and consequences of shared leadership and its measurement.

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