Making shared leadership work: The importance of trust in project-based organisations

ABSON, Emma, SCHOFIELD, Peter and KENNELL, James (2024). Making shared leadership work: The importance of trust in project-based organisations. International Journal of Project Management, 42 (2): 102575.

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The role of shared leadership in improving project success has received increasing interest, yet there is still insufficient understanding of the contextual factors that enable – or prohibit – the emergence of shared leadership within project-based organisations. Based on primary data drawn from three experiential marketing agency case studies using 34 semi-structured interviews and 33 hours of observation, this paper examines how project-based organisations can effectively facilitate the sharing of leadership. The findings show that trust is a key antecedent to shared leadership in project teams. Specifically, we propose that to enable shared leadership to emerge, individuals should establish intragroup trust - trust with co-workers within their project teams and inter-group trust – trust between members of different project teams, and between project teams and the leadership team. This research is among the first to closely examine whether factors which enable the emergence of shared leadership occur at multiple levels within project-based organisations, and through the use of qualitative approaches, offers a deeper understanding of why trust matters so much within shared leadership in these organisations. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed, and given the exploratory nature of the study, avenues for further research are proposed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 12 Built Environment and Design; 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services; Building & Construction; 33 Built environment and design; 35 Commerce, management, tourism and services
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2024 12:09
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2024 12:15

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