Shared Leadership in Virtual Teams


New Research Results Provide Indications for Practical Implementation


The increase of virtual collaboration places new demands on team leadership. One solution approach is seen in the concept of shared leadership. Studies indicate that shared leadership has a largely positive effect on team success. What has been open until now is which specific leadership behaviors should be shared and how such sharing affects team members.
To answer these questions, a questionnaire study was conducted with 411 employees working in virtual teams. The results show that the division of task-oriented leadership behaviors, such as those concerning the planning, organization, and coordination of tasks, has a significantly positive impact on the subjectively perceived productivity and satisfaction of team members. Significant negative effects, on the other hand, occur when relations-oriented leadership behaviors are shared, such as giving feedback or recommendations for personal development.
The detailed study results were published in an open access publication Sharing leadership behaviors in virtual teams: effects of shared leadership behaviors on team member satisfaction and productivity in the Team Performance Management Journal and provide important impulses for the leadership of virtual teams in practice as well as for further research.

The research and development project LUTZ is financed with funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) under the “Future of work” program (funding number: 02L18B535) and supervised by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). The authors are responsible for the content of this publication.