Shared Leadership and Innovation: The Role of Vertical Leadership and Employee Integrity

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between shared leadership, as a collective within-team leadership, and innovative behavior, as well as antecedents of shared leadership in terms of team composition and vertical transformational and empowering leadership.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Data were obtained from a field sample of 43 work teams, comprising 184 team members and their team leaders from two different companies. Team leaders rated the teams’ innovative behavior and their own leadership; team members provided information on their personality and their teams’ shared leadership.

Findings

Shared and vertical leadership, but not team composition, was positively associated with the teams’ level of innovative behavior. Vertical transformational and empowering leadership and team composition in terms of integrity were positively related to shared leadership.

Implications

Understanding how organizations can enhance their own innovation is crucial for the organizations’ competitiveness and survival. Furthermore, the increasing prevalence of teams, as work arrangements in organizations, raises the question of how to successfully manage teams. This study suggests that organizations should facilitate shared leadership which has a positive association with innovation.

Originality/Value

This is one of the first studies to provide evidence of the relationship between shared leadership and innovative behavior, an important organizational outcome. In addition, the study explores two important predictors of shared leadership, transformational and empowering leadership, and the team composition in respect to integrity. While researchers and practitioners agree that shared leadership is important, knowledge on its antecedents is still in its infancy.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    The author expresses appreciation to an anonymous reviewer for this idea.

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Appendix

Appendix

  • Vertical transformational and empowering leadership (Cronbach alpha .93)

    1. (A)

      Transformational leadership:

      • “My team leader provides a clear vision of whom and what our team is.”

      • “My team leader is driven by higher purposes or ideals.”

      • “My team leader shows enthusiasm for my efforts.”

      • “My team leader encourages me to rethink ideas which had never been questioned before.”

      • “My team leader seeks a broad range of perspectives when solving problems.”

      • “My team leader encourages me to go above and beyond what is expected (e.g., extra effort).”

    2. (B)

      Individual empowering leadership:

      • “My team leader encourages me to search for solutions to my problems without supervision.”

      • “My team leader urges me to assume responsibilities on my own.”

      • “My team leader encourages me to learn new things.”

      • “My team leader encourages me to give myself a pat on the back when I meet a new challenge.”

    3. (C)

      Team empowering leadership:

      • “My team leader encourages me to work together with the others who are part of the team.”

      • “My team leader advises me to coordinate my efforts with the others who are part of the team.”

      • “My team leader urges me to work as a team with other individuals who are part of the team.”

      • “My team leader expects that the collaboration with the other members in the team works well.”

    4. (D)

      Participative leadership:

      • “My team leader decides on my performance goals together with me.”

      • “My team leader and I work together to decide what my performance goals should be.”

      • “My team leader and I sit down together and reach agreement on my performance goals.”

      • “My team leader work with me to develop my performance goals.”

  • Shared leadership (Cronbach alpha .91)

    1. (A)

      Transformational leadership:

      • “My colleagues provide a clear vision of whom and what our team is.”

      • “My colleagues are driven by higher purposes or ideals.”

      • “My colleagues show enthusiasm for my efforts.”

      • “My colleagues encourage me to rethink ideas which had never been questioned before.”

      • “My colleagues seek a broad range of perspectives when solving problems.”

      • “My colleagues encourage me to go above and beyond what is normally (e.g., extra effort).”

    2. (B)

      Individual empowering leadership:

      • “My colleagues encourage me to search for solutions to my problems without supervision.”

      • “My colleagues urge me to assume responsibilities on my own.”

      • “My colleagues encourage me to learn new things.”

      • “My colleagues encourage me to give myself a pat on the back when I meet a new challenge.”

    3. (C)

      Team empowering leadership:

      • “My colleagues encourage me to work together with other individuals who are part of the team.”

      • “My colleagues advise me to coordinate my efforts with the others, who are part of the team.”

      • “My colleagues urge me to work as a team with the others, who are part of the team.”

      • “My colleagues expect that the collaboration with the other members in the team works well.”

    4. (D)

      Participative leadership:

      • “My colleagues decide on my performance goals together with me.”

      • “My colleagues and I work together to decide what my performance goals should be.”

      • “My colleagues and I sit down together and reach agreement on my performance goals.”

      • “My colleagues work with me to develop my performance goals.”

  • Integrity (Cronbach alpha .67)

    1. (A)

      Social responsibility (4 items):

      • “I keep my promises.”

      • “I can be trusted with confidential information.”

    2. (B)

      Trustworthiness (4 items):

      • “I believe that honesty is the basis for trust.”

      • “I have high moral standards.”

  • Innovation (Cronach alpha. 82)

    1. (A)

      Idea generation (3 items):

      • “Our team creates new ideas concerning solutions for difficult problems.”

      • “Our team searches out new working methods and techniques.”

    2. (B)

      Idea promotion (3 items):

      • “In our team, we acquire approval for innovative ideas,”

      • “In our team, we make each other enthusiastic for innovative ideas,”

    3. (C)

      Idea realization (3 items):

      • “Our team often implements innovative ideas in the work environment,”

      • “After we implement ideas, they evaluate their utility.”

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Hoch, J.E. Shared Leadership and Innovation: The Role of Vertical Leadership and Employee Integrity. J Bus Psychol 28, 159–174 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-012-9273-6

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Keywords

  • Shared leadership
  • Innovative behavior
  • Team management
  • Leadership
  • Antecedents