When Dual Leaders Will Drive Innovation: Reducing Role Conflict to Foster Exploration and Exploitation

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Allen, Julian Bryant
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 06, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Samuel Todd Hunter, Thesis Advisor
  • Susan Mohammed, Committee Member
  • Melvin Michael Mark, Committee Member
  • Dual Leadership
  • Shared Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
Dual leadership has been suggested to promote the appropriate management of complex, paradoxical and disparate demands. More specifically, leader dyads are proposed to manage the complexity of leading for innovation. In the present effort, a lab experiment was developed to test the creative performance differences between teams with one or two leaders in charge of executing an idea generation and idea implementation task. The study sample includes 500 participants, 140 of which were leaders (47 dyads and 46 single leaders) and 360 followers. As a whole, no significant performance differences were identified between the single and dual leader condition in ratings of quality and originality for ideas generated and the implementation plan developed. Further, focusing on the dual leader condition no significant differences in creative performance were identified between leader dyads with similar leadership styles (charismatic-charismatic or pragmatic-pragmatic) and those with diverse leadership styles (charismatic-pragmatic). However, in considering leader rated role conflict, as the mechanism through which leadership structure impacts creative performance, a unique pattern of effects emerged. First, dual leaders reported lower role conflict compared to single leaders. In particular, charismatic-pragmatic leader dyads reported lower levels of role conflict compared to charismatic single leaders. Second, by testing a mediated model dual leaders reported lower role conflict, which led to increased levels of follower rated willingness to follow and increased idea generation originality and decreased idea implementation quality and originality. Implication and future research directions are discussed.