Dissertation Abstract - The Effects of Vertical Leadership, Team Demographics, and Group Potency Upon the Emergence of Shared Leadership

Dennis M. Cashman, PhD  

As leadership research has progressed, reports of increasing levels of involvement and commitment by employees suggest the evolution of an alternative form of collective leadership, known as shared leadership.  Research to date has been somewhat limited to the specific organizational conditions and structures of self-managed teams and academic environments.  Unique to this research, the condition in which shared leadership may emerge was targeted to more conventional, leader-led teams within a high technology company.  This study confirms that shared leadership develops in other team structures beyond self-managed teams.  Unlike past shared leadership research, both variables of vertical transactional contingent reward and transformational leadership have been found to be positively related to the development of shared leadership.  Additionally, the research validates the relationship among vertical leadership, group potency, shared leadership, and team effectiveness.  Seeking to answer the recommendations of past shared leadership researchers to better understand the effects of team demographic variables upon shared leadership, the demographic variables of team size, team maturity, member familiarity, member proximity, and team membership load are studied.  Both transactional contingent reward and transformational vertical leadership, as well as team member familiarity, support the emergence of shared leadership. Shared leadership, along with team member proximity, supports the development of group potency.  Transformational vertical leadership, shared leadership, team maturity and size support the team’s self-assessment of team effectiveness.  The findings are significant in that new insights into some of the common conditions in which shared leadership may emerge have been reached.