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Moderators of shared leadership: work function and team autonomy

Maj S. Fausing (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Hans Jeppe Jeppesen (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Thomas S. Jønsson (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Joshua Lewandowski (School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, USA)
Michelle C. Bligh (School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, USA)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 16 August 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies show that sharing leadership in teams offers potential performance benefits across various contexts. This paper aims to investigate moderators of the effectiveness of shared leadership. In particular, it seeks to explore the moderating effects of team work function – manufacturing versus knowledge team work – and team autonomy.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to test the hypotheses, the authors conducted hierarchical regression analyses and ran moderated two‐way regression analyses using a field sample of 552 employees comprising 81 teams in a Danish manufacturing company.

Findings

Contrary to expectations, the results demonstrated a non‐significant relationship between shared leadership and team performance. However, as expected, work function significantly moderated this relationship such that shared leadership exhibited a negative relationship with manufacturing team performance and a positive relationship with knowledge team performance. Moreover, team autonomy was positively related to performance, and it significantly moderated the relationship between shared leadership and team performance.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides a potentially useful framework for understanding boundary conditions for the effectiveness of shared leadership. However, since the design of the study is cross‐sectional, direct causation cannot be inferred. Moreover, the study took place within a single organization in a Danish context and, therefore, care must be taken in generalizing the findings without additional evidence from further research.

Originality/value

To the authors' knowledge, the study is the first to obtain evidence which indicates that the success of shared leadership may depend on the team work function and the level of team autonomy.

Keywords

Citation

Fausing, M.S., Jeppe Jeppesen, H., Jønsson, T.S., Lewandowski, J. and Bligh, M.C. (2013), "Moderators of shared leadership: work function and team autonomy", Team Performance Management, Vol. 19 No. 5/6, pp. 244-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/TPM-11-2012-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited