The Power of Empowerment: Predictors and Benefits of Shared Leadership in Organizations

CM Edelmann*, F Boen, K Fransen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Leadership plays an essential part in creating competitive advantage and well-being
among employees. One way in which formal leaders can deal with the variety of
responsibilities that comes with their role is to share their responsibilities with team
members (i.e., shared leadership). Although there is abundant literature on how highquality peer leadership benefits team effectiveness (TE) and well-being, there is only limited
evidence about the underpinning mechanisms of these relationships and how the formal
leader can support this process. To address this lacuna, we conducted an online survey
study with 146 employees from various organizations. The results suggest that an
empowering leadership style of the formal leader is associated with higher perceived peer
leadership quality (PLQ) on four different leadership roles (i.e., task, motivational, social,
and external leader). In addition, formal leaders who empower their team members are
also perceived as better leaders themselves. Moreover, the improved PLQ was in turn
positively related to TE and work satisfaction, while being negatively related to burnout.
In line with the social identity approach, we found that team identification mediated these
relationships. Thus, high-quality peer leaders succeeded in creating a shared sense of
“us” in the team, and this team identification in turn generated all the positive outcomes.
To conclude, by sharing their lead and empowering the peer leaders in their team, formal
leaders are key drivers of the team’s effectiveness, while also enhancing team members’
health and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Article number582894
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020

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