When Two (or More) Heads are Better than One: The Promise and Pitfalls of Shared Leadership

by Edward Lawler, James O’Toole, Jay Galbraith



In both the business press and in academic journals, corporate leadership typically is portrayed as a solo activity, the responsibility of one person at the top of an organizationa1 hierarchy. However, evidence shows that shared leadership is not only common in the corporate world, it is often more effective than the storied "one-man shows." Ongoing research at the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations pinpoints several factors needed to make joint leadership a success. Where two—or more—individuals share leadership, it turns out that making the arrangement work is more complicated than simply "divvying up the tasks." For example, sharing the limelight seems harder than sharing responsibility.

California Management Review

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