Shared Leadership: Research and Implications for Nonprofit Leadership, Capacity Building, and Education


  • Max Freund



shared leadership, nonprofit management, capacity building


As organizational management becomes more complex, shared leadership represents a promising practice for enabling greater adaptability, leadership development, and stakeholder engagement. This emerging view of leadership provides a counterpoint to traditional “heroic” models of leadership by recognizing team members’ exercise of mutual influence toward achieving group and organizational goals. This article seeks to clarify some definitional confusion and provides a brief summary of findings from empirical research literature regarding antecedents, mediating processes, and contingency factors. To integrate the research and make it more actionable, a number of key enabling conditions for shared leadership are proposed including supportive environmental factors (mindsets and cultures, practices and processes, and roles and structure) that can promote an enabling climate of psychological empowerment, trust and safety, and common purpose. Strategies are recommended for nonprofit leaders and capacity builders to build shared leadership and for nonprofit management educators to incorporate these themes into their teaching. 





Proceedings of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2015 National Conference