Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Shared Leadership and Its Dynamics: A Neglected Mechanism

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Shared Leadership and Its Dynamics: A Neglected Mechanism

Article excerpt


Recognizing the need for study on the influence of temporal dynamics (e.g., Hackman, 2012; Wageman, Gardner, & Mortensen, 2012), researchers in the field of leadership have sought the process in which people in a group exercise leadership along with the process (Zaccaro, & Klimoski, 2002). In order to capture the process or dynamics of leadership, previous studies have explored leadership dynamics in a various settings (cf. Hackman, 2002). For instance, some of situations are top management teams (e.g., Srivastava, Bartol, & Locke, 2006; Wageman, Nunes, Burruss, & Hackman, 2008), the entrepreneur teams (e.g., Ensley, Hmieleski, & Pearce, 2006; Hmieleski, Cole, & Baron, 2012), and virtual teams (Hambley, O'Neil, & Kline, 2007; Kirkman, Rosen, Gibson, Tesluk, & McPherson, 2002).

In order to capture dynamics of leadership, this study focuses on the concept of shared leadership (cf. Pearce, & Conger, 2003), because if the author focuses on one person who would exercise leadership in a group, it makes more difficult to discuss how leadership emerges and changes during the process of a group activities. Moreover, I show that because of changes of the nature of work (i.e., the trend to knowledge work; cf. Pearce, 2004), it is becoming much difficult for one person to exercise leadership alone. According to Pearce (2004), "it is even more difficult for any one person to have all of knowledge, skills and abilities for the tasks" (p. 47). In short, researcher has difficulty determining who has leadership role in advance (cf. functional approach: Morgeson, DeRue, & Karam, 2009; Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks, 2001).

This paper addresses two issues. First, after reviewing the theoretical methods that the existing research employed and discussing what extant research has investigated, the study points out that previous research has been likely to overlook the process in which people share leadership roles and functions in a group. Secondly, I argue that due to the first point, the researchers need to explore the possibility that there are some opportunities where it is likely one person that exercises leadership.

The remaining sections of the paper are structured as follows. First, I outline how the concept of shared leadership has been discussed. Second, the present study reviews what the existing research has explored empirically by a theoretical approach. Third, drawing on the results of extant research, this article provides the neglected issue in shared leadership, and explores the neglected issue theoretically. Fourth, given the discussion, a series of potential theoretical and practical implications are discussed, as well as a series of limitations. Finally, advancing the research, this study suggests some points to be tackled in future research.


The Concept Of Shared Leadership

Some researchers have mentioned that ideas similar to the concept of shared leadership have been discussed before. For example, Pearce and Conger (2003) showed that there had had been some theoretical ideas underlying the notion of shared leadership. According to Pearce and Conger (2003, p.6), the earliest researcher who mentioned the similar idea to the concept of shared leadership was Mary Parker Follett (1924). She introduced the idea of the law of the situation, and showed under some situations; people follow the person who is not appointed leader.

Although this related idea was identified about 90 years ago, it was not until about the 1990s those researchers have been increasingly interested in the concept of shared leadership (cf. D'lnnocenzo, Mathieu & Kukenberger, 2014). Table 1 (adopted from D'lnnocenzo et al. (2014)) shows some of definitions to which previous researches have referred. Table 1 shows the current situation in which researchers have stated different dimensions of shared leadership. Researchers have mentioned the slight different definitions of shared leadership, however, previous research has proposed that there are some features underlying the different definitions of shared leadership among the previous studies. …

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