76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Shared leadership is a type of team leadership structure through which multiple team members perform team leadership functions in their pursuit of team goals. In the current study, we develop a multilevel model that explains the role of communication networks in the formation of shared leadership and its underlying individual-level process through interpersonal trust. We further investigate the effect of shared leadership on team performance. We examined this model by using multisource, multiwave data collected from 312 executive MBA members of 64 project teams participating in an enterprise simulation. Results revealed that individual communication network centrality had a positive effect on informal leader emergence via interpersonal trust network centrality. Team communication network structure influences team leadership structure, which in turn influences objective team performance. Our study advances shared leadership research by using a multilevel approach to explain the effects of communication networks on the formation of shared leadership and by showing the effect of shared leadership on objective team performance.