Title

Tensions Between Diversity and Shared Leadership: The Role of Team Political Skill

Department

Business Administration

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Small Group Research

Publication Date

2019-06-14

Volume

50

Issue

4

First Page

507

Last Page

538

Abstract

Maintaining workplace diversity is an important legal and ethical issue in modern organizations. However, demographic heterogeneity might discourage the development of shared leadership in work teams as individuals are inherently not inclined to share leadership roles with dissimilar others. The present study is designed to investigate how political skill assists team members to overcome interpersonal dissimilarities and become engaged in mutual influence with their peers. By studying 63 student project teams using multiwave, multisource surveys, we find that team demographic faultlines on gender and race are negatively associated with shared leadership magnitude and therefore discourage team task performance. However, such destructive direct (on shared leadership magnitude) and indirect (on team performance) effects of team demographic faultlines can be mitigated when the team is staffed with many politically skilled members. Our findings bring important implications for organizations in building and encouraging shared leadership, especially in newly formed professional work teams.

Keywords

team demographic faultlines, political skill, shared leadership

DOI

10.1177/1046496419840432

https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1046496419840432

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