Examining the differential longitudinal performance of directive versus empowering leadership in teams

Natalia M. Lorinkova, Matthew J. Pearsall, Henry P. Sims

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Scopus citations


This study integrates theories from the leadership and team development literatures to resolve ambiguity regarding the relative benefits of empowering and directive leadership in teams by focusing on their influence on team development processes over time. Empirical results based on longitudinal performance data from 60 teams suggest that teams led by a directive leader initially outperform those led by an empowering leader. However, despite lower early performance, teams led by an empowering leader experience higher performance improvement over time because of higher levels of team learning, coordination, empowerment, and mental model development. Implications for current and future team leadership research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-596
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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