SHARED LEADERSHIP IN PROJECT TEAMS: A QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF THEORETICAL THEMES, ANTECEDENTS, AND OUTCOMES

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Author:
Park, Jong Gyu
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 05, 2018
Committee Members:
  • William J. Rothwell, Dissertation Advisor
  • William J. Rothwell, Committee Chair
  • Weichun Zhu, Committee Member
  • Wesley E. Donahue, Committee Member
  • Edgar P. Yoder, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • shared leadership
  • qualitative research
  • consulting teams
  • project teams
Abstract:
Although the individual approach to examining leadership has cast light on understanding leadership dynamics within a team, it also contains some inherent limitations because this approach only considers the relationship between single leaders and their followers. Over the last decade, scholars have begun to take collectivistic approaches to studying leadership such as shared leadership. While many leadership scholars emphasize the importance and value of shared leadership, a dearth of research exists as to what precisely constitutes shared leadership within a team context and as to why certain teams exhibit more effective shared leadership than others. The primary purpose of this study was to clarify shared leadership by exploring the content and theoretical themes of shared leadership and its fundamental antecedents and outcomes. I also aimed to conceptualize and develop a model of shared leadership that can be adapted for multiple contexts by conducting the research in South Korean context. Because this study was aimed at discovering a new construct that lacks theoretical and conceptual clarity, it was appropriate to use a qualitative method. Through in-depth interviews with thirty management consultants and seven non-participant observations of team meetings, this study examined theoretical themes, antecedents, and outcomes of shared leadership. The preliminary evidence showed that shared leadership includes team members’ autonomously making a decision, taking a proactive initiative, engaging in extra-role behaviors, horizontally making joint decisions, and vertically making joint decisions. My investigation of situational antecedents (i.e., about formal leader traits and behaviors, team composition, and work characteristics) provides insight into the boundary conditions that nurture the proliferation of shared leadership. I also found various individual antecedents, including holding a core team evaluation, showing team trust, and creating an open communication climate, for promoting shared leadership. Finally, I discovered that shared leadership has unique short- and long-term outcomes on individuals and teams. I ascertained that the main contribution of this study is a model outlining what exactly shared among team members is. This study also presented a novel methodology to provide constructive insights on the shared leadership phenomenon through a comprehensive understanding of shared leadership based on a qualitative data analysis of individuals with firsthand shared leadership experience. I hope this study will stimulate more interest and research efforts in examining shared leadership in team contexts.