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An Empirical Research of Shared Leadership In A Product Development Project
Product development projects (PDP) are essential for firm’s competitive advantage and even for the survival of the organization. The growing complexity in PDPs and the resulting uncertainty and ambiguity are big challenges for the whole project team and especially for the project managers. Most leadership research focuses on a single dedicated project manager, but there is already evidence that shared leadership (more than one leader) in a project team brings a benefit especially in a complex project environment. It is already known and a more realistic view, that in a complex project is more than one leader. Anyhow, there is a gap in the empirical research for shared leadership in PDPs. This paper is distinguished into two parts. It starts with an identification of the criteria for a leader in a PDP and continues with a view of a currently running PDP in the automotive industry. The criteria of a leader are identified with a literature review focusing on the daily tasks of the leader. The data for the empirical research is gathered from individual documents like diaries or “to-do lists” and team documentation like “team to-dos list” or tickets with the concrete tasks with a clear assignment of the person’s task. The observation period is two weeks with a view on PDP teams and during the product development phase. The aim is to bring transparency in leadership and identify the formally dedicated leaders and the informal emergent leaders in a PDP.