Monash University
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Distributed Leadership: a Case Study of an Australian Voluntary Nonprofit Organization

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-08, 01:50 authored by Inglis, Loretta, Sarros, James C.
The paper discusses a topic raised in recent leadership literature, that of distributed leadership. This concept is an alternative to the current focus on individual, sole leaders, and proposes that leadership is often distributed among two, more or many members of an organization. The literature on distributed leadership is discussed, with particular emphasis on the writings of Gronn (1999; 2002) who classifies distributed leadership as either numerical or concertive action, containing the properties of interdependence and coordination. A case study of an Australian nonprofit organization follows. This study seeks to determine if distributed leadership exists in this organization and if it could be understood using Gronn's concepts. The study indicates that distributed leadership does exist with three individuals being responsible for various leadership roles. The distributed leadership is seen as concertive action which is institutionalised in the organization. Distributed leadership succeeds, in this case, because of the interdependence of the roles of the leaders and because they work hard at coordination of their roles. The study concludes that while distributed leadership appears in this case, more research on the topic is needed.


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Department of Management

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