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A Situational Analysis of Shared Leadership in a Self-Managing Team

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A Situational Analysis of Shared Leadership in a Self-Managing Team

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To: Ted Zorn
From: Chris Student
Date:1 April 2003
Subject: Research proposal

Proposed Research Topic: A situational analysis of shared leadership in a self-managing team [provide a brief description or a descriptive title or a research question]

Purposes: Alvesson (1996) claims that a situational approach enables leadership to be viewed and studied as “a practical accomplishment” (p. 476) rather than starting with a conceptualisation of leadership as whatever the appointed leader does. This approach seems particularly well suited to self-managing teams (SMTs), in which leadership is presumably shared. In this project, I will explore how members of a self-managing team enact leadership in their regular team meetings. In particular, I will focus on how SMT members influence the direction of the team as well as the relationships and identities of individual members and the identity of the team as a unit, and how their interaction is enabled and constrained by social and cultural influences (eg, organisational culture, national/ethnic culture, and gender). Such a study should give insights into the workings of SMTs, an organisational form that is rapidly gaining in popularity and acceptance. Also, the study will test the usefulness of a perspective (the situational approach) that is underdeveloped in the leadership literature.

[Expand on the topic/question by describing what you hope to accomplish, and the desired outcomes (especially the practical or theoretical benefits to be gained)]

Background: I will conduct my study in a team that is within the Roadworks Division within the Hamilton City Council. Roadworks has 12 SMTs, each of which is responsible for maintenance of roads within one geographical section of Hamilton. This particular team includes four men and a woman. Three of the men are in their thirties and one in his early 50s; the woman is in her thirties. They are assigned to an area around Chartwell. They start each day...

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