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Distributed leadership and performance-related employee outcomes in public sector organizations

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Distributed leadership is the sharing of leadership tasks between managers and employees. This article demonstrates how a distributed leadership perspective adds to the public administration literature by including an important sensitivity to planned and nonplanned leadership. We propose a theoretical model that explains the impact of distributed leadership on employee outcomes which have a direct or indirect impact on organizational performance in public organizations contingent on alignment with individual leadership capacity and organizational goals. Our empirical analysis in the Danish hospital sector shows initial support for the expected relationships between distributed leadership and performance-related employee outcomes such as job satisfaction and innovative behavior. This indicates that the distributed leadership perspective holds the potential to strengthen service delivery in complex public service organizations while there is weaker support for the notion that the positive impact of distributed leadership depends on individual leadership capacity and their support for organizational goals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration
Pages (from-to)500-521
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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