Emergent Leadership Structures in Organizations



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A social network approach was used to investigate the structural features of various emergent leadership systems in a large financial organization (n = 137), including transactional and transformational-style leadership relations. Results indicate that macro-level patterns of leadership nominations may be explained by a small number of underlying structural features, some of which vary across types of leadership networks. Leadership nominations were shown to be less hierarchical, more reciprocal, and more triadic than traditionally thought. On top of effects associated with individual differences in sex, supervisor status, tenure, and physical location, leadership networks displayed tendencies towards reciprocity and loose core-periphery structures based on transitive hierarchies. There was also some evidence that transformational leadership networks tended to be slightly less centralized and more transitive than transactional leadership networks. Implications for bridging leadership theory across levels of analysis are discussed.