An Investigation of the Development of Shared Leadership on the Six Sigma Project Life Cycle

An Investigation of the Development of Shared Leadership on the Six Sigma Project Life Cycle

Brian J. Galli (Department of Engineering, Hofstra University, Hempstead, USA), Mohamad Amin Kaviani (University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus), Eleonora Bottani (Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parma, Italy) and Teresa Murino (Department of Chemicals, Materials and Production Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 64
DOI: 10.4018/IJITPM.2019100102


The purpose of this study is to map out the relationship between shared leadership (SL) and Six Sigma (6S) project lifecycle. More specifically, the impact of SL and team members' perceived challenges in each of the five phases of the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) 6S methodology is studied. Furthermore, general organizational issues that affect both SL development and the 6S model are identified. The results demonstrate that several factors, namely, change management, communication, phase deliverables, coaching style, and decision-making methods, affect usage performance of SL throughout the phases. This study helps managers to look at the 6S projects from an SL perspective and shows how to manage the 6S project lifecycle more efficiently.
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In today’s markets, organizations require project completion in team environments because it enables the organization to quickly adapt to various requirements and demands of an industry. For a team to work effectively, it is crucial to identify a leadership model that enables members to make rational, timely, and effective decisions. SL, a leadership style that broadly distributes leadership responsibility across team members, received significant attention recently because the traditional “top-down” leadership approach, is not as effective as it used to be (Mayo, Meidl, & Pastor, 2012; Zhu et al., 2018). In recent years, SL has been researched in academic and industrial circles. This model provides team members and organizations with numerous benefits, including increased efficiency and effectiveness, the ability to complete projects on time, and the ability to make effective and logical decisions (Carson, Tesluk, & Marrone, 2007).

Today’s projects are more complex and uncertain than ever. Traditional management techniques are often inadequate, so many organizations turned to 6S to adapt to change and to develop innovative solutions and skills in knowledge workers and project managers (Mayo et al., 2012; Galli et al., 2017). Indeed, 6S help organizations to distribute responsibility to teams, which aids teams in being proactive with changing demands (Mayo et al., 2012).

The relationship between SL and 6S methodologies is not explored in literature, especially in terms of the impact that internal and external team conditions have on SL in 6S environments (Sin et al., 2015). Moreover, research does not map the development of SL during each phase of the 6S “define, measure, analyze, improve, and control” (DMAIC) methodology (Koschzeck, 2009).

This work performed a longitudinal concurrent mixed-methods study with social network theory/analysis to map SL during each DMAIC phase in the healthcare context. More precisely, this study tries to evaluate if, in the context of healthcare 6S teams, there exists a relationship between SL and each DMAIC phase.

Healthcare has been selected as the context of analysis because healthcare systems often consist of numerous professional groups, departments, and specialties with numerous interactions, goals, and constraints between them. Such systems have been proved not to respond well to the traditional authoritarian leadership (Chen & Silverthorne, 2005; Garman et al., 2010). Conversely, SL is a preferable model within the healthcare setting, as it encourages shared governance, continuous workplace learning, and the development of effective working relationships (Henry & Gilkey, 1999).

The key metrics used in this study to measure SL in each step of the DMAIC process included:

  • level of centralization of interactions among team members

  • the perceived level of influence that each member has on each other

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