Shared leadership in healthcare action teams: A systematic review

Sarah Janssens, Robert Simon, Michael Beckmann, Stuart Duncan Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aims of this review were to consolidate the reported literature describing shared leadership in healthcare action teams (HCATs) and to review the reported outcomes related to leadership sharing in healthcare emergencies. Methods: A systematic search of the English language literature before November 2017 was performed using PsycINFO, MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE. Articles describing sharing of leadership functions in HCATs were included. Healthcare teams performing routine work were excluded. Studies were reviewed for type of leadership sharing and sharing-related outcomes. Results: Thirty-three articles met the inclusion criteria. A variety of shared leadership models were described across the following three categories: spontaneous collaboration, intuitive working relations, and institutionalized practices. While leadership sharing has the potential for both positive and negative influences on team performance, only six articles reported outcomes potentially attributable to shared leadership. Conclusions: Despite strong evidence for a positive relationship between shared leadership and team performance in other domains, there is limited literature describing shared leadership models in HCATs. The association between shared leadership and team performance in HCATs is a rich area for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1441-e1451
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Action team
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork

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