Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Ramthun, A., & Matkin, G. (2014). Leading dangerously: A case study of military teams and shared leadership in dangerous environments. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. 21(3), 244-256. DOI: 10.1177/1548051814529827.


Copyright © 2014 Alex J. Ramthun and Gina S. Matkin; published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


In a qualitative case study, we described and explained shared leadership in dangerous contexts for military teams. We conducted eight semistructured interviews with shared, team, and military leadership subject matter experts in order to gain an improved understanding of the relationship between shared leadership and team performance in the presence of danger. We found the themes of mutual influence, leadership emergence, dangerous dynamism, and distributed knowledge, skills, and abilities provided rich description of the phenomenon. Specifically, our findings suggest military teams in dangerous situations use mutual influence and leadership emergence to share leadership and achieve high performance. Additionally, we found dangerous dynamism and distributed knowledge, skills, and abilities may moderate the relationship between shared leadership and performance for teams in dangerous contexts. Implication, limits, and recommendations are discussed.