Looking Within: A Longitudinal Qualitative Analysis of Shared Leadership Behaviours in Organisational Teams

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To date, empirical research on shared leadership (SL) has been dominated by quantitative studies of antecedents and outcomes, frequently in simulated environments. Consequently, there have been few authentic accounts of how SL is practiced within organisational teams. Underpinned by shared leadership theory and leadership behaviour theory, this paper aims to provide a fine-grained view of the SL behaviours exhibited by team members over time, in five organisational teams in Ireland. Design/methodology/approach: This longitudinal qualitative study uses critical incident technique, semi-structured interviews and participant diaries to explore SL behaviours emerging in five teams over time. Findings: SL became widespread over time in each team, with almost all (96%) team members exhibiting SL behaviours. Ten different leadership behaviours were exhibited, indicating that SL permits a wide variety of leadership behaviours to be expressed. Some leadership functions were rarely or never fulfilled by team members (team composition, performance monitoring and resource allocation), suggesting that these leadership behaviours are not amenable to sharing. Practical implications: This paper provides an insight into how SL could be used to increase the leadership capacity in team-based organisations. Originality/value: This paper adds depth to the understanding of SL, revealing the specific behaviours underlying this approach, expanding our understanding of the micro-dynamics at play in SL processes.

Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Pages (from-to)441-460
Number of pages20
JournalTeam Performance Management
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2022


  • Shared Leadership Behaviours
  • Qualitative Research
  • Longitudinal study
  • Longitudinal research
  • Qualitative research
  • Organisational teams
  • Critical incidents
  • Leadership behaviours
  • Shared leadership


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