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Effects of team tenure and leadership in self‐managing teams

Janka I. Stoker (University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




This study seeks to identify the relationship between leader behaviour and the effectiveness of the members of a self‐managing team (SMT) in terms of perceived individual performance and emotional exhaustion. In particular, it aims to examine the moderating role of individual team tenure.


A questionnaire study was conducted involving 154 team members of 21 SMTs. Two leadership dimensions were measured, plus team tenure and effectiveness (in terms of perceived individual performance and emotional exhaustion) of the individuals involved.


Team members with a short team tenure reported higher levels of individual performance when their team leader demonstrated directive behaviour. Conversely, these relatively new team members reported lower levels of individual performance and experienced greater emotional exhaustion when their team leader adopted coaching behaviour. For team members with longer team tenure, however, individual performance was greater and emotional exhaustion less when their team leader exhibited a coaching style of behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The data were self‐reported and the cross‐sectional design of the study precludes conclusions about the direction of causality.

Practical implications

Leaders of SMTs can benefit from insights into how the team tenure of the individual team members affects their responses to their leadership behaviours. By adapting their leadership styles to suit the characteristics of individual team members, leaders may be able to increase the effectiveness of the individual team members.


This study has examined the effectiveness of different leadership styles within real‐life SMTs and shown the importance of attending to the moderating effect of individual team members' team tenure.



Stoker, J.I. (2008), "Effects of team tenure and leadership in self‐managing teams", Personnel Review, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 564-582.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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