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Effects of leadership style on team learning

Tania Bucic (Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Linda Robinson (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Prem Ramburuth (Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 17 May 2010




This paper seeks to explore the effect of leadership style of a team leader on team‐member learning in organizations, to conceptually extend an initial model of leadership and to empirically examine the new model of ambidextrous leadership in a team context.


Qualitative research utilizing the case study method is used for empirical validation.


The leadership style (transformational, transactional, or ambidextrous) adopted by the team leader has an operational effect on the development of learning as a strategic resource within the team, and the organization.

Research limitations/implications

Case studies can be criticized for potential lack of rigour. However, we have used multiple cases following replication logic and triangulation to offset this. Further, cases by nature are generalizable to propositions only, not populations. Thus, a valuable springboard is provided for further quantitative investigations.

Practical implications

The leadership style adopted by the team leader affects team cohesion, perceptions of learning, and learning‐related performance within the team. The findings provide a rationale for greater emphasis on the role, behavior and leading style that are adopted by the leader in order to produce desired team‐level outcomes.


The paper provides much needed extension and empirical validation of the initial model of ambidextrous leadership. The results show that the leader does have an effect on the team, and also that the leader's leadership style is critical to team level learning and related performance. This is valuable knowledge for trainers, recruiters, teams and leaders.



Bucic, T., Robinson, L. and Ramburuth, P. (2010), "Effects of leadership style on team learning", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 228-248.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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