Exploring distributed leadership: Solving disagreements and negotiating consensus in a ‘leaderless’ team

Seongsook Choi, Stephanie Schnurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article explores how leadership is done in a ‘leaderless’ team. Drawing on a corpus of more than 120 hours of audio-recorded meetings of different interdisciplinary research groups and using a discourse analytic framework and tools, we examine how leadership is enacted in a team that does not have an assigned leader or chair. Our specific focus is the discursive processes through which team members conjointly solve disagreements and negotiate consensus – which are two activities associated with leadership. More specifically, we analyse how meaning is collaboratively constructed and how team members arrive at a solution in those instances where there is some kind of disagreement, or even conflict, among team members. This discourse analytic study thus contributes to leadership research in two ways: i) by exploring some of the discursive processes through which leadership is actually performed in a ‘leaderless team’; and ii) by looking at a largely under-researched leadership constellation, namely distributed leadership. We thereby illustrate some of the benefits that discourse analytical approaches offer to an understanding of the specific processes that are involved in the complexities of leadership performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages21
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Critical perspective
  • leadership performance
  • distributed leadership
  • discursive leadership
  • discourse analysis
  • disagreement


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