Organizational Response to Complexity: INTEGRATIVE LEADERSHIP. A Computer Simulation of Leadership of Inter-dependent Task-oriented Teams. Open Access
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In an increasingly complex environment, organizations attempt to enhance their results by using new forms of work organization in complex matrix structures, with implications on leadership in organizations, particular at the work team level. Complexity theory prompts to a new understanding of organizational phenomena regarding the organization and its members as complex adaptive systems in interaction with each-other and continuously co-evolving. The purpose of this study is to propose new theoretical premises, where team leadership is explained as a dynamic process shaped by the interactions between organizational members. In order to test these theoretical premises the study proposes a computer simulation model as a multi-level longitudinal research method, using an agent-based modeling approach where autonomous agents interact following a set of rules, similar to the way teams operate. The study shows that team leadership is a mix of three forms of leadership: formal, emergent (exercised by team members), and shared leadership (exercised by the team as a collective), continuously co-evolving in response to the tensions induced by the changes in the environment and team composition. The study makes advances towards a new theoretical framework for leadership based on the application of complexity theory, and a model-centered organization science research, with broad implications for theory, research, and practice.