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Examining teamwork and leadership in the fields of public administration, leadership, and management

Roger J. Chin (Division of Politics and Economics, Claremont Graduate University - The Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA, USA)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of papers in ten top scholarly journals to determine their overall examination of leadership in teams and to identify which models of teamwork and leadership have been most explored by researchers.


This paper reaches its findings through content analysis of 80 journal papers published in top academic journals from 1999 through 2012. Coding based on categories of teams, leadership and leadership styles conformed to forced choice and latent coding; two independent reviewers managed the subjectivity of the coding.


Sixty per cent of the papers studied explored a group of workers whose teamwork was expected to be permanent, which receives a strong direction from a designated leader; almost that many (58.75 per cent) explored a group working with formal leadership by the worker’s supervisor; almost 50 per cent of papers explored leadership that combined two or more leadership styles simultaneously. This heavy concentration of the literature in a few areas suggests that research on other types of teamwork and leadership is minimal.

Research limitations/implications

This particular research utilized the latent coding method of content analysis and forced choice in the selections. Even though content analysis has many strengths, the latent coding method of content analysis and forced choice selections require the researcher to examine the overall content to determine whether certain variables were present or absent. After the examination of the overall content, a subjective interpretation of the data is needed from the researcher. Other researchers that look at the same data may interpret the data differently.

Practical implications

This research provides researchers, academics and practitioners with a comprehensive analysis on teamwork and leadership. The extensive investigation presents a pivotal starting point for further developments in this emerging area. The content analysis found a proliferation of diverse organizations utilizing teamwork, and this subject should be researched more vigorously. As organizations continue to embrace, pursue and promote teamwork, understanding the current state of the field will assist in having better understanding on how to develop effective teams.


This paper contributes to the field by creating taxonomy to categorize the types of leaders and teams and presenting an explanation on the distinction between traditional and horizontal style of leadership. In identifying major trends in the existent literature, this examination provides valuable information for researchers.



Chin, R.J. (2015), "Examining teamwork and leadership in the fields of public administration, leadership, and management", Team Performance Management, Vol. 21 No. 3/4, pp. 199-216.



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