Organizations are experiencing increasing complexity due to global competition, technological advances, and dynamic political and environmental circumstances. Therefore, organizations are driven to find new ways to stay competitive, including the increased use of project teams and the formulation of new types of project team leadership structures to manage complex and innovative work. The aim of this study was to examine shared leadership and political skill in project teams within the context of project management complexity, and the influence of these factors on project team effectiveness. A quantitative cross-sectional survey design was used as the approach for data collection. A pilot study was conducted with a small sample of six project teams in one organization to evaluate and pre-test the design approach used in the main study. The main study was conducted with a sample of thirty project teams in seventeen organizations within six industries in the supply chain. Using multi-level techniques, regression-based path analysis was performed to test the hypotheses. Results showed that project management complexity was significant in predicting team effectiveness and that shared leadership was significant in partially mediating this relationship. Results also showed that the strength of the mediated relationship was stronger under high team political skill than under low team political skill. Findings from the study suggest practical implications for HRD professionals in leveraging shared leadership and political skill in organizations with complex management initiatives. Implications for theory and future research are discussed based upon the findings of the study.

Date of publication

Fall 12-3-2014

Document Type




Persistent identifier