Moderators of Shared Leadership: Function and Autonomy

Document Type



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

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


Previous studies show that sharing leadership in teams offers potential performance benefits across various contexts. This paper aims to investigate moderators of the effectiveness of shared leadership. In particular, it seeks to explore the moderating effects of team work function – manufacturing versus knowledge team work – and team autonomy. In order to test the hypotheses, the authors conducted hierarchical regression analyses and ran moderated two‐way regression analyses using a field sample of 552 employees comprising 81 teams in a Danish manufacturing company. Contrary to expectations, the results demonstrated a non‐significant relationship between shared leadership and team performance. However, as expected, work function significantly moderated this relationship such that shared leadership exhibited a negative relationship with manufacturing team performance and a positive relationship with knowledge team performance. Moreover, team autonomy was positively related to performance, and it significantly moderated the relationship between shared leadership and team performance. The study provides a potentially useful framework for understanding boundary conditions for the effectiveness of shared leadership. However, since the design of the study is cross‐sectional, direct causation cannot be inferred. Moreover, the study took place within a single organization in a Danish context and, therefore, care must be taken in generalizing the findings without additional evidence from further research.

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© 2013 Emerald Group Publishing