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Leadership-Followership: Moving Beyond Traditional Leadership to Build Highly Functioning Autonomous Teams (NNX14AK54G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The long-duration of space exploration missions and relative isolation makes it imperative that teams have the leadership capacity to address the temporal dynamics of diversity and the rifts that can occur. Leadership has been shown to be a critical component of team effectiveness and adaptation. However, leadership may be even more important within autonomous teams as it serves to create the shared behavior, affect, and cognition that allows teams to adapt and be effective within complex environments. The investigators argue that a particular form of leadership (i.e., shared or distributed leadership) is needed to produce highly functioning teams that are capable operating under varying degrees of autonomy. Shared leadership has been defined as a form of distributed leadership where the transference of leadership functions across team members occurs such that member strengths, knowledge, skills, attitudes, perspectives, and contacts are capitalized on as dictated by either internal or external demands. This study was designed to investigate the dynamic relationship between leaders and followers through the theoretical lens of shared or distributed leadership.

The aim of this research was to determine how shared leadership behaviors impact team processes and performance under long-duration and isolated contexts. Investigators were also interested in identifying the antecedents of shared leadership emergence, how shared leadership enables team autonomy, and the dynamic nature of shared leadership behaviors over the course of a team’s lifespan. Investigators used NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) facility and their laboratory to study these behaviors.

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Burke CS, Shuffler ML, Wiese CW. Examining the behavioral and structural characteristics of team leadership in extreme environments. Journal of Organizational Behavior. May 04, 2018. [DOI]

Burke CS, Georganta E, Hernandez C. The importance of time in team leadership research. in "Team dynamics over time." Ed. E. Salas, W.B. Vessey, L.B. Landon. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2017. p. 95-122. [DOI]

Task performance and analysis

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Collective orientation
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress
HERA Campaign 2 01/30/2015 08/27/2015 Four 14-day missions
HERA Campaign 3 01/26/2016 10/19/2016 Four 30-day missions

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health OMNIBUS