Shared leadership is explained as the process of influencing others to comprehend and work together about what needs to be completed in an efficient manner. Shared leadership is the polar opposite of the traditional method of vertical leadership, which is more commonly known as the “top down” method. When leadership is spread among the team, certain attributes are present among the team’s members, such as collaborative leadership, participative, decision style, and good quality leader-member relationship. The leader who choses to use this style can propel his company and increase self-efficacy potentially in each member that participates. How? SL increases employee motivation, creativity, and efficiency. SL enhances the decision making of the group through sharing. Additionally SL fosters a much closer relationship between the employees and management, which ultimately creates a positive and productive working environment. Last but not least, leaders who use an SL style can share the ideal for the company with the workers and motivate them to work together in propelling the company to completing the goals and visions that have been set.
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As the reader moves through this literature review, it should become clear as to the importance of utilizing the leadership style of shared leadership and its effectiveness. The traditional style of vertical leadership, historically would come from a single individual. Shared leadership is not based off of that model and seemingly appears throughout the research to be much more positive and effective.
Over a very long history researchers have developed a thought of leadership as a downward hierarchical controlled influence process that comes from one person within work teams – better known as the formal leader. Traditional leadership research has mostly considered how this single person can influence followers in an organization or team Shared leadership is where team members exert leadership influence and provide guidance to each other as needed (Zhu, Yam, & Johnson, 2018).
Zhu (et al, 2018) explain shared leadership as a “dynamic, interactive influence process among individuals in groups for which the objective is to lead one another to the achievement of group or organizational goals or both.” Additionally these team attributes results from the team sharing duties and decision-making across multiple team members. Choi, Kim, and Kang (2017) explained shared leadership has an immense amount of positive impact on team efficacy. It promotes teamwork and aids in the mentality of the need to share knowledge and responsibility among the team’s members. When this type of sharing is implemented specific attributes are present among the members of the team such as mutual-gain ideal, collaborative leadership process, participative decision style, and good quality leader-member relationship.
Theories of Shared Leadership
What are some of the theories of shared leadership? According to Amar and Hlupic (2016) the researchers believed that everyone in a group should have the opportunity to lead. They also assert that the movement in leadership will have an impact on the actions of all that are connected and eventually bring a change in the norms of social behavior. Furthermore, they personally believed to be more efficient than traditional methods of leadership, shared leadership is the way; forcing external controls is not the way to get the most productions out of a group. Vertical leadership, hones in on getting others to work to complete desired goals within the scheme of the hierarchical organizational structures by an overflowing approach of the vision from top to bottom (Amar and Hlupic, 2016).
When considering the traditional methods of leadership versus shared leadership, the main goal of the organization’s leader becomes indoctrinating workers with the energy for the duties they are being charged with (Amar and Hlupic, 2016). The researchers are stating along with the traditional belief system comes negative effects (such as the impediment of progress and lacking of suboptimal performance); this is contradictive to the behavior that brings fresh ideas (Amar and Hlupic, 2016)
Benefits of Shared Leadership
Barnett and Wedenfeller (2016) stated shared leadership is valuable and effective. Additionally the framework is not simplistic in nature but it can improve the success in a variety of ways for the team such as team performance, effectiveness, and creativity. The grandeur of shared leadership is can also grow in a group where vertical leadership is the primary leadership style. Barnett (2016) stated good vertical leadership such as transformational, empowering leadership, and other leadership styles can move forward the growth of shared leadership in a team.
Themes Commonly Found Related to Shared Leadership
Amar and Hlupic (2016) believe shared leadership works more efficiently in most situations additionally Barneet and Wedenfeller (2016) discussed the effectiveness of shared leadership and much like the other Amar and Hlupic found that it can improve team outcomes, effectiveness, creativity and education. This way of leading is distinct from vertical leadership. How? Usually in teams with SL influence and responsibility are shared among the team members, or by the team leader with team members. Barneet (et al, 2016) makes further assertions that SL takes time to develop and throughout different stages the group will go through different roles and functions that may take on greater or different importance.
Throughout the research several commonalities among the compiled research kept resurfacing such as grasping a knowledge base of the team’s goal and purpose is paramount to facilitate team members’ willingness toward SL, for selecting and putting into action the characteristics or attributes most desired in a SL environment (Barnett et al, 2016). Also as it relates to SL there are three key ingredients: shared leadership is about horizontal influence, SL is an emergent team anomaly, and team members will decide the roles and how the group will be influenced.
Here is an example of transformational and shared leadership styles importance to employees. According to Choi, Kim, & Kang (2017) three researchers from Korea University, Kean University and Gachone University found that transformational leadership contributed to team output effectiveness, organization and effectiveness. This was proven through a survey conducted through the perceptions of 424 employees of Korean financial and insurance firms. These researchers summarized that the managers should work along side the members of the team more and should pay attention to how the team fits between the leader’s behavior and the characteristics of the team in order to promote efficacy of the team.
Kakar (2017) experiments with In 44 software development projects. Kakar (2017) further investigates how leadership types – vertical versus shared impact team performance. The results of the study show that vertical leadership was found to have a higher positive impact on team efficiency, shared leadership found to have a higher positive impact on team innovation, and a balanced shared and vertical leadership was found to optimally impact team effectiveness.
The findings of this study support the concept that when leadership is allowed to emerge freely, software development teams tend to prefer shared leadership to vertical leadership. Knowledge of work is increased at a faster pace than routine jobs. Additionally, shared leadership is positively associated with team innovation. The input, output, and processes are well known in teams engaged in routine jobs compared to teams engaged in knowledge work such as software development.
According to Martins, Martins, and Pereira (2017) this article provides more evidence on the significant effect that the constructs of social emotional capitals as well as shared leadership have on organizational performance. According to this journal article an emotionally mindful leader enhances organizational performance and behavior due to the climate of trust. This case study attempts to gather information as to how leadership self-efficacy might influence shared leadership and affect organizational performance. This study includes the premise that managers who have self-reported ratings for the self-efficacy leadership attributes cluster will demonstrate a higher probability of improving both perceived and actual employee performance.
This article includes a case study, which provided data to be gathered on self-reported ratings pertaining to leadership self-efficacy. Self-confidence enables positive organizational values to spread. This study also highlights emotional competencies and their interaction with social competencies. Conclusively according this article trust is an integral part of the process of creating and sharing knowledge; it is considered an asset that encourages self-efficacy development. This information just further supports what the before mentioned research has proven; SL does promote self-efficacy and will propel a group or a company to the next level of success simply by empowering its workers
Gaps in the Knowledge about Shared Leadership
Amar and Hlupic (2016) believe there needs to be more testing to give shared leadership its final shape. This study by these researchers proposes ideas that should result in many fresh ideologies and could spark several investigative studies. Barnett et al (2016) explained that there is much to be educated on as it relates to SL. As an example a deeper knowledge of which functions of team leadership are frequently shared the most, with whom should it be shared, and at what junctures in the team performance process would be advantageous.
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Barnett (et al, 2016) list there unanswered questions that may deserve further examination or investigation includes but are not limited to: how the nature of the task a team takes on is aided or impeded by shared leadership or how to handle routine team tasks. Determine whether social network analysis is the preferred or best way of understanding shared leadership would be helpful and understand how social network analysis might identify and provide understanding into the important patterns of shared influence in teams.
Choi (et el, 2017) concluded their article informing the readers that the limitations of their research was a result of only focusing on one type of team in finance and insurance companies; so their research may not apply to other organizations. They further stated that the next time an experiment is done both team-and-individual-level factors based on multilevel analysis instead of individual-level analysis to explain factors affecting the perceptions of workers and team efficacy. Finally, only two styles of leadership were examined in the study. Choi (et el, 2017) stated future analysts could provide different conclusions by investigating other leader’s demeanor that include but are not limited to empowering and servant leadership.
Research that was completed by D’Innocenzo, Mathieu, and Kukenberger (2016) did not reveal the information that was expected. This article was more of an antithesis to the answers being sought after. There was an experiment conducted using 50 effect sizes from both published and unpublished studies which provided meta-analytic support for the positive relationship between SL and team performance; the answers were not parallel with this research. The researchers stated that they limited the investigation to the relationship between shared leadership and team performance.
The conclusion of their experiment proved that there are performance benefits of utilizing forms of SL. These researchers denoted that shared leadership is not the cure that is valuable in all situations. They continue to explain that leadership should not be limited to downward vertical exchanges but should also be shared among the team’s members furthermore they explain that is far more valuable to provide guidance as to who should be leading, which tasks, at what points, at what times, and under what situations (D’Innocenzo et al, 2016). This to me sounds like vertical leadership is more likely to be encouraged over shared leadership; which is against the research that has been compiled. These researchers conclude with explaining shared leadership (once it has been established) benefits the team for in the area of higher performance. But the price associated with erecting that sufficiency and maintaining it over time should also be considered. This still does not seem as if these researchers are in favor of shared leadership. Does it?
The article by Edgeman, Neely, and Eskildsen (2016) was yet another article that yielded negative results in the search to understanding SL, its importance, and self-efficacy for employees. The focus of this article was on sustainability and excellence. In 2014 there was a Performance Management Association Conference that was co-hosted by Asrhus University and Cambridge University. The conference attracted researchers and practitioners from more than 30 nations and organizations. The primary conference theme was “Designing the High-Performing Organization.” The conference featured a day strategically formulated for business, during which selected elements of organizational design, function, and performance arose consistently at micro, intermediate, and macro levels.
This article did not support the ideology of shared leadership being at the forefront of success. The article discusses the value of vertical trust in a health care environment. I did not find this article very helpful. It seemed to be to narrow. As an example, the article referenced strategic alignment and control. The improvement that is discussed in the organization is seemingly around control, rules, and scorecard. Not too much about leadership was illustrated in this article. Supply-chain, job satisfaction, vertical trust and distributed leadership were discussed. Distributed leadership was referenced but not in the way I expected. As an example the article stated, “Leadership and governance are essential authors of enterprise success and are responsible for formulating and implementing a strategy that will lead to favorable performance and impacts in selected areas of importance.” This statement reminds me of the “top-down” methodology of management. The rest of the topics discussed in this article: neuropsychological measurement and workplace learning, better performance through improved strategy work, and multi-level strategic alignment. The focus did not seem to be on shared leadership but more of test, measurements, and strategy.
Hans and Gupta’s (2018) research yielded negative results toward the goal of examining shared leadership versus the traditional vertical style of leadership. The authors applied hierarchical regression and social network analysis using a sample of 23 teams consisting of 219 employees from an Indian-based multinational BPO. The results of the research indicate that skill variety, task significance, autonomy and feedback are significant precursors for shared leadership, and psychological safety, and perceived self-efficacy act as moderators.
Hans and Gupta’s (2018) research was not very helpful or applicable to the initial premise of this research concerning shared leadership. The authors provided an initial understanding of the impact of job characteristics in a team for the development of shared leadership. The research that was attempted to be gathered was too narrowed. This article was centered around, how shared leadership impacts organizations more effectively. This is more of a psychological safety and self-efficacy examination.
Hu, Chen, Gu, Huang, and Liu (2017) conducted a survey that examined the effects of task and relationship conflicts on team creativity, and the moderating of role of shared leadership in inter-organizational teams. A questionnaire survey was conducted in China to collect data. 54 teams, which comprised 54 team managers and 276-team member, were deemed useful for the study. The conclusion of the research went as such; relationship conflict has a negative relationship with team creativity. When shared leadership is not weak, the negative relationship with team creativity is weaker for relationship conflict. This research would be good if the current research was based more on conflict resolution, team creativity, and shared leadership.
Although very interesting from a psychological perspective this article focuses more on the insight to conflict, leadership and inter-organizational literature. This article aids managers in the process of intervening in the conflicting situations of inter-organizational teams. Consequently this article will be minimal to gaining the information that is being researched.
Pitelis and Wagner (2018) provided information about strategic leadership. This article was not specific or narrow. It just was not the article that I thought it was going to be. This article was more about the capabilities, dynamics, and destinations of the organization. The needed to be on shared leadership, solely and how it impacts an organization versus vertical leadership.
Researchers Wang, Han, Fisher, Pan (2017) are from Boston University, China Europe International Business School, and University College (London). These researchers used data from 310 executive MBA students in 66 teams on a business simulation project. They explored how shared leadership and team learning behaviors influence each other over time in self-managed teams, and how the stability of the leadership network structure is associated with team learning behaviors .
In summation, SL early in the task promotes team-learning behaviors. This increases the chances of maintaining a stable leadership network, which engenders subsequent learning. This article although interesting was to narrow of scope. This article focused more on social structures in teams, and will help scholars and practitioners better understand the balance between flexibility and stability in group dynamics. This is not what I was searching for. This research will fit minimally into my research paper.
Yin, Xing, and Guo (2017) used a sample of 280 leader follower dyads from a large state-owned Chinese company using printed surveys. The researcher used a sample of 280 leader follower dyads from a large state-owned Chinese company using printed surveys. With the consent of the person in charge of the company, researchers retrieved a list of all staff names including leaders and subordinated, which had resented who is the superior to each subordinates; then they randomly sampled 400 subordinates. The article presented options of personality and competent leaders having a positive effect on proactivity. This article did not help me at all in the way that I thought. This article was more on being proactive in the workplace as a results of their leader’s perceived competence however being proactive in a person’s assigned role can be synonymous with shared leadership.
Throughout the research it was clear that all experimentation or articles that mention keywords from a designated research topic does not always fit into the final analysis and documentation. There will be times when the article that was retrieved is too narrow or too broad. The best recommendation that can be given is to take time to cipher through and disregard what is not needed but keep digging. Additionally, it is also imperative to have an open mind about what is found. Perhaps the findings may not fit into the current research but may open doors to more research or answer other questions to unanswered
Employees that are encouraged and supported positively to be apart of a collaborative effort tend to be more motivated than other workers. It is imperative that managers and supervisors make efforts to treat their employees as well as they can while making them feel apart of the companies’ decisions and tasks. I Corinthians 12:14 (KJV) states “that the body is not one member but many.”
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- Barnett, R. C., & Weidenfeller, N. K. (2016). Shared leadership and team performance. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 18(3), 334-351. doi:10.1177/1523422316645885
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- Fransen, K., Delvaux, E., Mesquita, B., & Van Puyenbroeck, S. (2018). The emergence of shared leadership in newly formed teams with an initial structure of vertical leadership: A longitudinal analysis. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 54(2), 140-170. doi:10.1177/0021886318756359
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- Hu, N., Chen, Z., Gu, J., Huang, S., & Liu, H. (2017). Conflict and creativity in inter-organizational teams: The moderating role of shared leadership. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(1), 74-102. doi:10.1108/IJCMA-01-2016-0003
- Kakar, A. K. (2017). Investigating the prevalence and performance correlates of vertical versus shared leadership in emergent software development teams. Information Systems Management, 34(2), 172-184. doi:10.1080/10580530.2017.1288526
- Martins, A., Martins, I., & Pereira, O. (2017). A matter of emotions and trust: Impact of shared leadership on organizational performance. Paper presented at the 207-212. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1906807080?accountid=12085
- Pitelis, C. N., & Wagner, J. D. (2018). Strategic shared leadership and organizational dynamic capabilities. The Leadership Quarterly, doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.08.002
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- Wellman, N. (2017). Authority or community? A relational models theory of group-level leadership emergence. Academy of Management Review, 42(4), 596-617. doi:10.5465/amr.2015.0375
- Yin, K., Xing, L., Li, C., & Guo, Y. (2017). Are Empowered Employees More Proactive? The Contingency of How They Evaluate Their Leader. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/apps/doc/A512846149/AONE?u=vic_liberty&sid=AONE&xid=1cb3a178
- Zhou, W., Zhang, Y., & Shen, Y. (2017). How shared leadership and team personality composition interact to improve entrepreneurial team performance. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 24(3), 426-445. doi:10.1108/JSBED-12-2016-0206
- Zhu, J., Liao, Z., Yam, K. C., & Johnson, R. E. (2018). Shared leadership: A state‐of‐the‐art review and future research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39(7), 834-852. doi:10.1002/jo
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