Empowerment: The key to horizontal leadership in project teams
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionInternational Journal of Project Management. 2018, 36 (7), 992-1006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2018.04.003
Leadership in projects can shift between the project manager (a.k.a. vertical leadership) and one or more team members (a.k.a. horizontal leadership). Our study examines the processes, dimensions, and conditions for empowerment of project team members to temporarily assume leadership of project processes. Twenty interviews were conducted in 10 organizations in China. Results show that empowerment for horizontal leadership is a 3-stage process, wherein the project manager takes justification perception and demand factors as essential conditions for his/her empowerment orientation, which in turn frames the announcement, acceptance, control, autonomy and future of horizontal leaders. Four categories of horizontal leaders were revealed, namely Deputies, Future Stars, Bench Players and Oysters. Managerial and theoretical implications are discussed.