Antecedents of Shared Leadership: Empowering Leadership and Interdependence

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


Shared leadership describes leadership as a collective and reciprocal activity distributed among the members of a team (Carson et al., 2007). The purpose of this paper is to investigate variables assumed to be antecedents for this leadership approach. In particular, the authors examine the importance of external empowering leadership and task and goal interdependence for shared leadership as well as the relationship between shared leadership and team performance. In order to test the hypotheses, the authors applied structural equation modeling using a field sample of 81 knowledge and manufacturing teams from a Danish company. Results indicated that an external empowering team leader and interdependence in the team significantly predicted the extent of shared leadership, which, in turn, was positively related to team leader ratings of team performance. Overall, the study supports previous findings that the act of sharing leadership in a team may contribute to increased team performance. In addition, the study provides an initial understanding of antecedent conditions for the successful development of shared leadership. However, as the study was cross-sectional and conducted within a single organization, care must be taken in making causal claims or in generalizing the results without additional evidence.

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