What is it about?

Why do some groups share leadership and in others it become centralized in the hands of a few? In this paper we show how interpersonal perceptions shape how leadership takes on a particular pattern in a group. If people see the group as warm, they are willing to lead more and a shared pattern results. If they see competence as centralized (only a few of us are competent at the group's task), then leadership tends to be centralized around those folks. They get affirmed for leading whereas others do not. Oh, and when leadership is centralized, the consulting groups were rated as poorer performers by their clients.

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Why is it important?

The pattern of leadership makes a difference for performance, so we should care about it. If we want more leadership, we may need to take active steps to make sure that this happens in teams. Also, we might explore what competence perceptions make a difference for affirming others' leadership. If the competence is purely analytic competence, then other competencies potentially important in the team (say competence in group process) may not get reinforced and the group may suffer.


I love this publication because it looks at what is happening "on the ground" in teams that results in a network pattern that is detectable and has impact.

Dr Susan Ashford
University of Michigan

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Interpersonal Perceptions and the Emergence of Leadership Structures in Groups: A Network Perspective, Organization Science, August 2015, INFORMS, DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2014.0963.
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