UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Gilad Chen, University of Maryland, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Multiple Team Membership and Empowerment Spillover Effects: Can Empowerment Processes Cross Team Boundaries?’
In today’s organizations, employees are often assigned as members of multiple teams simultaneously (i.e., multiple team membership), and yet we know little about important leadership and employee phenomena in such settings. Using a scenario-based experiment and two field studies of leaders and their employees in the People’s Republic of China and the United States, we examined how empowering leadership exhibited by two different team leaders toward single employee working on two different teams can spillover to affect that employee’s psychological empowerment and subsequent proactivity across teams. Consistent across all three studies, we found that each of the team leaders’ empowering leadership uniquely and positively influenced an employee’s psychological empowerment and subsequent proactive behaviors. In the field studies, we found further that empowering leadership exhibited by one team leader influenced the psychological empowerment and proactive behaviors of his/her team member not only in that leader’s team but also the other team outside of that leader’s stewardship. Finally, across studies, we found that empowering leadership exhibited in one team can substitute for lower levels of empowering leadership experienced in a different team led by a distinct leader. We discuss our contributions to the motivation, teams, and leadership literatures and provide practical guidance for leaders charged with managing employees that have multiple team memberships.