Informal leadership redundancy: Balancing structure and flexibility in subsea operations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJohannessen, I. A., McArthur, P. W., & Jonassen, J. R.Informal leadership redundancy: Balancing structure and flexibility in subsea operations. Scandinavian Journal of Management, (0) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2015.01.001
This article identifies how a reliability-seeking organization can respond flexibly to disruptive events. We study complex subsea operations that inspect, maintain and repair oil and gas installations on the Norwegian continental shelf. A superordinate leader is put in charge of a tightly coupled ‘multiteam system’ in the crucial execution phase of the operation, and his primary leadership function is task coordination. When unexpected disruptive events occur, which the formal leader cannot address, other individuals contain the event by performing leadership functions in his place, without explicit delegation. We call this mechanism informal leadership redundancy. We provide verification of it through an extended case study, making use of both field observations and interviews. We explore the conditions under which this form of redundancy can be effective.