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Antecedents of shared leadership: empowering leadership and interdependence

Maj Schoeler Fausing (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Thomas Skriver Joensson (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Joshua Lewandowski (School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA)
Michelle Bligh (School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 5 May 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

Shared leadership describes leadership as a collective and reciprocal activity distributed among the members of a team (Carson et al., 2007). The purpose of this paper is to investigate variables assumed to be antecedents for this leadership approach. In particular, the authors examine the importance of external empowering leadership and task and goal interdependence for shared leadership as well as the relationship between shared leadership and team performance.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to test the hypotheses, the authors applied structural equation modeling using a field sample of 81 knowledge and manufacturing teams from a Danish company.

Findings

Results indicated that an external empowering team leader and interdependence in the team significantly predicted the extent of shared leadership, which, in turn, was positively related to team leader ratings of team performance.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, the study supports previous findings that the act of sharing leadership in a team may contribute to increased team performance. In addition, the study provides an initial understanding of antecedent conditions for the successful development of shared leadership. However, as the study was cross-sectional and conducted within a single organization, care must be taken in making causal claims or in generalizing the results without additional evidence.

Originality/value

Few studies focus on the antecedents of sharing leadership. The authors obtained evidence, which suggests that the development of shared leadership may depend on the presence of an empowering team leader as well as task and goal interdependence in the team.

Keywords

Citation

Fausing, M.S., Joensson, T.S., Lewandowski, J. and Bligh, M. (2015), "Antecedents of shared leadership: empowering leadership and interdependence", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 271-291. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-06-2013-0075

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited