The project began by proposing theoretical and methodological advancements for the study of leadership. We grounded our work by developing a conceptualization of leadership in virtual organizations as a multifaceted, multilevel, emergent, and relational phenomenon, and we identified and developed methods (e.g., network approaches) to study leadership through this conceptual lens. The theoretical papers written as part of this project, published in top-tier outlets including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, and The Leadership Quarterly, are stimulating new perspectives on leadership and organizing based on our research. We are building on these advancements through a series of laboratory, quasi-experimental, and field studies intended to capture the wide scope and realistic dynamics of leadership in complex MTS contexts. Specifically, we have leveraged our re-conceptualization of leadership through five key types of activities:
- Disseminating our work through numerous publications, book chapters, and presentations.
- Developing, implementing, and refining a large-scale multiteam system laboratory study, called Project BLUE. This platform is enabling in-depth investigation of leadership processes and other critical phenomena that drive success in virtually-connected MTSs.
- Conducting field data collection efforts relevant to this project. We have collected, or are currently collecting, data related to leadership and collaboration in large, virtually-connected systems of teams such as a state health organization in Bihar India, multiple classroom settings, West Point, and NASA. We are implementing our theoretical framework of leadership networks and associated measures to understand the leadership processes that enable these large systems to function effectively.
- Building community and capacity for research on leadership and networks through hosted events such as doctoral consortiums, small conferences and research incubators.
- Engaging in outreach and development activities with relevant communities (e.g., presentations for community leaders, new undergraduate and graduate courses).
This project has also provided numerous opportunities for training and professional development. As part of this project, the PI has mentored 25 undergraduate and 7 graduate students and 2 post-docs; three of these mentees are now junior faculty members at research-intensive universities.
- Leslie DeChurch, Northwestern University
Sullivan, S., Lungeanu, A., DeChurch, L.A., & Contractor, N.S. (2015). Space, time, and the development of shared leadership networks in multiteam systems. Network Science, 1-32.
Contractor, N. S., & DeChurch, L. A. (2014). Integrating social networks and human social motives to achieve social influence at scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 13650-13657.
Murase, T., Carter, D., DeChurch, L.A., & Marks, M.A. (2014). Mind the gap: The role of leadership in multiteam system collective cognition. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(5), 972-986.
Contractor, N.S., DeChurch, L.A., Carson, J., Carter, D., & Keegan, B. (2012). The topology of collective leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 6, 994-1011.
Carter, D. & DeChurch, L.A. (2012). Toward a leadership networks paradigm for collectivistic leadership. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science & Practice, 5, 412-415.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (SES-1219469).