Distributed leadership in teams: The network of leadership perceptions and team performance

Ajay Mehra, Brett R. Smith, Andrea L. Dixon, Bruce Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

361 Scopus citations


This study uses social network analysis to examine distributed leadership in work teams. We used sociometric data from 28 field-based sales teams to investigate how the network structure of leadership perceptions considered at the team level of analysis was related to team performance. We failed to find support for the idea that the more leadership is distributed across the members of a team the better the team's performance: Decentralization of the leadership network (across three different operationalizations of network decentralization) was not significantly related to superior team performance. But we did find support for the idea that certain kinds of decentralized leadership structures are associated with better team performance than others. Our study suggests that distributed leadership structures can differ with regard to important structural characteristics, and these differences can have important implications for team performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-245
Number of pages14
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Leadership
  • Social networks
  • Team performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributed leadership in teams: The network of leadership perceptions and team performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this