Shared leadership and team effectiveness: A social network analysis in the project life cycle
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Many organizations are encouraging a shared leadership approach that meets the increased complexity of today’s working environment. It is therefore imperative for scholars to clearly comprehend the nature and mechanism of shared leadership in teams. However, a lack of coherence and clarity in this research field as well as a lack of insights into the dynamic nature of shared leadership, has impeded its theoretical and empirical advancement. Therefore contributing to the burgeoning research in the field of shared leadership, this research aims to 1) provide an integrative and comprehensive review of shared leadership studies; 2) uncover the dynamic nature of shared leadership and explore how it changes across different phases of the project life cycle; and also 3) extend the line of research that examine the relationship between shared leadership and team effectiveness and advance it by studying the moderating role of the project life cycle in such relationship. In order to do this, a systematic review of shared leadership covering 164 articles spanning 20 years (1999–2018) has been conducted. Moreover, a conceptual model of how shared leadership changes throughout the project life cycle has been developed and empirically tested from a social network analysis. This research also investigated hypotheses regarding the relationship between shared leadership and team effectiveness as well as the moderating role of the project life cycle in such relationship. Data was collected from a sample of 26 engineering design teams (119 respondents) who adopt a shared leadership Shared Leadership and Team Effectiveness: A Social Network Analysis in the Project Life Cycle 4 approach. The findings show that 1) shared leadership changes across the project life cycle; such changes exist not in the centralization of shared leadership networks, but in the density of shared leadership networks; 2) the density of shared leadership is larger in the early phase than the later phase of the project life cycle; 3) shared leadership is positively related to team task performance, team viability and team effectiveness; 4) moreover, the stage of the project life cycle moderates the positive association between shared leadership and team effectiveness, such that this relationship is stronger at the early phase than at the later phase of project life cycle. Overall, the finding of this research makes significant contributions to the field of shared leadership. Firstly, it captures this growing area of research and provides a comprehensive overview of shared leadership studies about where it has been and where it should go into the future. Secondly, it brings valuable insights and empirical evidence into the dynamic nature of shared leadership. It thus helps to gain a better understanding of shared leadership constructs and foster its theoretical and empirical advancement. Thirdly, it offers insightful thoughts into the consequences and moderators of shared leadership and adds to the academic debate in the field of shared leadership. Finally, it pinpoints future research directions to scholars and brings practical suggestions for project managers in industry who seek to implement best practice in organizations toward high team effectiveness.