Development of a firm level strategic shared leadership scale.

AuthorJha, Sumi
PositionReport - Abstract

Shared Leadership

In shared leadership, two or more individual leaders lead a team, group or an organization (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007). In modern times, some have advocated that it is always better that two or more individuals lead an organization rather than one individual's leading (O'Tool, Galbraith & Lawler III, 2002). This would help as the presence of more than one leader individual complement each other at cognitive and social organizational skills level but also at an emotive level (Mehra et al., 2006). Presently the rapid changes in macro-economic conditions in the context of Indian business organizations require the concept of shared leadership to be considered upon at the strategic level of organizations. The authors termed the concept as strategic shared leadership (SSL). At strategic level, organizational leaders decide on its vision, direction and commitment of substantial resources and the nature of its being. Strategic decision making (Lee-Davies, Kakabadse & Kakabadse, 2007) involves high stakes. In modern times, the information pool relevant for a firm has become varied, complex and immense. Two or more individuals can better absorb the information, deliberate amongst themselves and then decide on the best course of action. In shared decision making process, information is exchanged amongst leaders with increased intensity and frequency iteratively (Lee-Davies, Kakabadse & Kakabadse, 2007). Researchers indicated that the concept of SSL requires more attention from future researchers (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007; Fitzsimons, James & Denyer, 2011; Bhattacharyya & Jha, 2013).

Literature Review

Discussion on shared leadership was initiated in the modern literature by Gibb (1954) when he talked about the concept of distributed leadership. Gronn (2002) proposed that leadership could actually be conceptualized in a continuum with focus and distribution occupying the two extremes namely autocratic to shared leadership functions and influence. The construct of influence in leadership literature is grounded in the work of many researchers (Yukl, 1989; Kozlowski & Klein, 2000; Morgeson & Hofman, 1999).

Lee-Davies, Kakabadse and Kakabadse (2007), proposed that in an organization, leadership is not necessarily hierarchical. The lower level managers and staffs interact with each other and with senior and middle level managers continuously. These interactions are not dialogues but polylogues. Polylogues provide multiple inputs from different levels of organization; these inputs are continuously deliberated, analyzed and then used for the best suited organizational decisions.

Denison, Hooijberg and Quinn (1995); Carte, Chidambaram and Baker (2006); Hooijberg, Hunt and Dodge (1997), had talked about the leaderplex model in which leadership behavior manifested as eight roles: innovator, broker, producer, director, coordinator, monitor, facilitator and mentor. From the shared leadership perspective different members can assume different roles in the leadership team. Kahai, Sosik and Avolio (2004) had proposed that shared leadership behavior will be more pronounced in the facilitator and mentor roles than in any other roles. Carte, Chidambaram and Baker (2006), empirically established that monitor behavior of leaders was shared but production oriented producer behavior was not shared in the context of high performing virtual teams. Yang and Eric (1996) studied shared leadership based on the leaderplex model and figured out that the mentor, innovator, producer and director roles were shared rather than the roles of facilitator, broker, coordinator, and monitor.

Arnone and Stumpf (2010) wrote that in certain cases shared leadership can be justified by the very fact that two heads are better than one. They further stressed upon that generally at the strategic organizational level the current shared leaders had previously been functional or divisional heads. The very individual (co-leader) with whom the other individual (co leader) was competing now has to collaborate to share the organizational leadership. Arnone and Stumpf (2010) also wrote that the presence of shared leadership in a firm increases sales and net profits and intensifies business growth and expansion initiatives of the firm.

Waldersee and Eagleson (2002), studied re-orientation in the context of hotel management firms and figured out that shared leadership was exhibited by two leaders, one exhibiting adroitness in one function and the other in some other function. They also indicated that sharing of leadership thus can be in difference of styles, one displaying a concern for relation and the other concern for task. Judge and Ryman (2001) studied strategic alliances in the US healthcare industry and pointed out that in the strategic alliance process two or more leaders of two different firms essentially has to demonstrate shared leadership for the success of the alliance. In the cases in which the views of the other leader were not accommodated, the alliance faltered.

Sally (2002) drew lessons on shared leadership from the republic of Rome. He advocated that because of the complexity and uncertainty of forces affecting a business in modern times, the old practice of consuls in republican Rome regarding sharing of leadership roles and tasks is insightful. He found that shared leadership can be successful when the co-leader's joining and exit timing from an organization are similar. Further, the co- leaders should have the same office and the shared leaders should have a veto power on the vital organizational decisions. Sally (2002) also pointed out that shared leaders should draw power from the same general power systems in the organization. Townsend (1970) wrote that the two leaders should pass on the information to each other on a daily basis for more effectiveness.

Shared leadership according to O'Toole, Galbraith and Lawler III (2002) is the way forward for social organizations and human endeavors rather than single leadership. Townsend (1970) a former CEO of Avis wrote that CEO's task should be divided in to joint leadership and the joint leaders should complement each other, fitting one's strengths with others' weakness. Carson, Tesluk and Marrone (2007), indicated that shared leadership has two antecedents, internal as well as external. The internal team environment is of a shared purpose, social support and voice. Shared purpose means a common objective of a team; social support stands for emotional and psychological support of one member to another. Voice (Seers, 1996) stands for participation and input. External factor includes external coaching. For student teams' external support in the form of coaching helped in better shared team performance (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007).

Klein, et al. (2006) studied extreme action medical trauma centre, considering four perspectives namely, contingent leadership, functional leadership, flexible leadership and shared leadership. These researchers explained each perspective of leadership and its relevance for extreme action team. While explaining shared leadership, researcher's suggested that the effective leadership of extreme action teams may go beyond the influence of a single formal leader. Rather, leadership may be shared among several team members, holding different positions in a trauma centre. McCrimmon (2005) provided a viewpoint that in certain organizations the leadership is distributed or shared and to some this may seem as a team which is 'leaderless'. But actually such a team is 'leaderfull' (Raelin, 2003) as everyone in a team acts like a leader (Serban & Roberts, 2016). They also reflected that shared leadership does not necessarily provide thought leadership. Leadership may also be viewed as shared responsibilities with members of formal and informal teams (Yammarino et al., 2012)

Research Gap

Based on the literature review following gaps were identified. Wood and Fields (2007) had developed a scale to measure the extent of shared leadership. The scale had 10 items with four point Likert scale. The scale had a Chronbach alpha of 0.89. The shared leadership scale was adapted by them from the scale developed by Hiller (2002). The factors developed by Hiller (2002), were based on the theoretical work done of Porter-O'Grady and Wilson (1995). The items were representing goal setting, visioning, challenge action plan, leadership evaluation and accountability, decision-making, resource allocation, problem solving, obligation fulfillment, opinion and information sharing amongst leaders. Carson, Tesluk and Marrone (2007), measured shared leadership following a social network approach given by Mayo, Meindl, Pastor, (2003). The measure used was density, which is the aggregation of leadership displayed by team members as perceived by other team members. The measurement was carried out by using only one...

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