Exploring Employee Experiences of Distributed Leadership in Consultancy SMEs
Despite a growth in literature on distributed leadership, the majority of studies are centred on large public organisations particularly within the health and education sectors. The purpose of this study is to fill the gap in the literature by exploring employee experiences of distributed leadership within two commercial consultancy SME businesses in the UK and USA. The aim of the study informed an exploratory method of research to gather qualitative data drawn from semi-structured interviews involving a sample of employees in each organisation. A series of broad, open questions were used to explore the employees’ experiences; evidence of distributed leadership; and extant barriers and practices in each organisation. Whilst some of our findings aligned with patterns and practices in the existing literature, it importantly discovered some emergent themes that have not previously been recognised in the previous studies. Our investigation identified that whilst distributed leadership was in evidence in both organisations, the interviewees’ experience reported that it was sporadic and inconsistent. Moreover, non-client focused projects were reported to be less important and distributed leadership was found to be inconsistent or non-existent.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3300516Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 546
 W.J. Reddin, “The 3-D management style theory: An examination of a prescriptive theory”, Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 72, no.3, pp. 444-451, 1967.
 J.P. Spillane, “Distributed Leadership”. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, 2006
 C. A. Gibb, “Leadership”, in Lindzey, G. (ed.) Handbook of Social Psychology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, pp. 877-917, 1954
 K. Leithwood, K., Seashore-Louis, S Anderson, and K., Wahlstrom, “How leadership influences student learning: A review of research for the learning from leadership project”. New York, NY: Wallace Foundation.
 A. B. MehraSmith , A. Dixon,.and , B. Robertson, “Distributed leadership in teams: The network of leadership perceptions and team performance”, The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 17, pp. 232-245, 2006
 J. Cope, S. Kempster, and K. Parry, “Exploring Distributed Leadership in the Small Business Context”, International Journal of Management Reviews. vol. 13, no.3, pp. 270-285, 2011
 O. Jones, and H. Crompton, “Enterprise logic and small ﬁrms: a model of authentic entrepreneurial leadership”, Journal of Strategy and Management, pp. 329-351, 2009
 A. Harris, “Distributed Leadership: What We Know” in Harris, A. (ed.) Distributed School Leadership: Different Perspectives. London: Springer. pp. 11-21, 2009
 D. Berg, “Resurrecting the muse: followership in organizations”, in Klein, E. B., Gabelnick, F. and Herr, P., (eds.) The Psychodynamics of Leadership. Madison, CT: Psychosocial Press, pp. 27-52, 1989
 E. J. Miller, “The leader with the vision: is time running out? ”, in Klein, E. B. Gabelnick, F. and Herr, P. (eds.) The Psychodynamics of Leadership. Madison, CT: Psychosocial Press, pp. 3-25, 1998
 J.R. Meindl, “The romance of leadership as a follower centric theory: a social constructionist approach”, Leadership Quarterly, pp. 329-341, 1995
 Kellerman, B., “The End of Leadership”. New York, NY: Harper Business, 2012
 G. Yukl, “An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories”, The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 10, pp. 285-305, 1999
 P. Gronn, “The future of distributed leadership”, Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 , no.2, bpp. 141-158, 2008
 H. Bresman,”How to Distribute Leadership”. INSEAD Knowledge Blog, August 2015.
 A. Harris, and, J. Spillane “British Educational Leadership”, Management and Administration Society, vol. 22 , no.1, pp31-34, 2008
 R. Bolden, “Distributed Leadership”, University of Exeter Discussion Papers in Management, Paper, vol. 7 , no.2, 2011
 S. McChrystal , Silverman, D. and Collins, T., “Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World”. New York, NY: Penguin Portfolio, 2015
 D. Wang, D. A. Waldman, and Z. Zhang, , “A Meta-Analysis of Shared Leadership and Team Effectiveness”, Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 99 , no.2, pp. 181-198, 2014
 B. L. Kirkman, B.Rosen, P. E. Tesluk, and C. B. Gibson, “The impact of team empowerment on virtual team performance: The moderating role of face-to-face-interaction”, Academy of Management Journal, pp. 175-192, 2004
 M. D. Ensley, K. M. Hmieleski, and C. L. Pearce, “The importance of vertical and shared leadership within new venture top management teams: implications for the performance of start-ups”, Leadership Quarterly, pp. 217-231,
 S. A. Deetz, “Resistance: Would struggle by any other name be as sweet? ”, Management Communication Quarterly, vol. 21, pp. 387-392, 2008
 R. Thorpe, J. Gold, R. Holt, and J. Clarke, “Immaturity: the constraining of entrepreneurship’. International Small Business Journal, pp. 232-252, 2006
 H. Floren, “Managerial work in small ﬁrms: summarising what we know and sketching a research agenda”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, vol. 12 , no.5, pp.272-288, 2006.
 R. McAdam, R. Reid, and M. Shevlin, “Determinants for innovation implementation at SME and inter-SME levels within peripheral regions”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, vol. 20, no.1, pp. 66-90, 2014
 E. Gundling, T. Hogan, and K. Cvitkovich, “What is Global Leadership?” Boston, MA: Nicholas Brearley, 2011
 T. Carte, L. Chidambaram, and A. Becker, “Emergent leadership in self-managed virtual teams”, Group Decision and Negotiation, p. 323, 2006
 M. Saunders, P. Lewis, and A. Thornhill, “Research Methods for Business Students”. 7th ed. Edinburgh: Pearson Education, 2016
 N. King, “Doing Template Analysis”, in Symon, G. and Cassell, C. (eds) Qualitative Organisational Research: Core Methods and Current Challenges. London: Sage., 2012
 I. C. Fischlmayr, K. M. Puchmüller, “Married, mom and manager – how can this be combined with an international career? ”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, p.1-22, 2015
 A. Lewins, and C. Silver, “Choosing a CAQDAS package- 6th edn”. CAQDAS Networking Project Paper. 2009Available at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/sociology/research/researchcentres/caqdas/files/NVivo11-distinguishing%20features-Mar2016-FINAL.pdf. (Accessed 1 October 2016).
 J. Corbin, and A. Strauss, “Basics of Qualitative Research”, 3rd edn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008
 J. Chocqueel-Mangan, “Devolving decision making: implications for leadership development”, Strategic HR Review, vol. 9, no.4, pp. 34-40, 2010
 J. B. Carson, P. E.Tesluk, and J. A Marrone, “Shared leadership in teams: An investigation of antecedent conditions and performance”, Academy of Management Journal, pp. 1217-1234, 2007
 L. Perren, and P. Grant, “Management and Leadership in UK SMEs: Witness Testimonies from the World of Entrepreneurs and SME managers”. Report from the SME Working Group. London: CEML.
 G. Beaver, and P. Jennings, “Competitive advantage and entrepreneurial power: the dark side of entrepreneurship”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 12, no.1, pp. 9-23, 2005.
 C. M. Leitch, C. McMullan, and R. Harrison, “Leadership development in SMEs: an action learning approach”, Action Learning: Research and Practice, vol. 6, no.3, pp. 243-263, 2009