Leadership in academic settings

Quantitative study

Relative contribution of peer leaders and formal leaders on outcomes

After the analyses we did for either formal leadership roles or peer leadership roles separately, we were also interested in investigating their relative contribution to the different outcomes. These subsequent analyses incorporate both types of leadership. Given that not all participants completed both sets of questions relating to the formal and peer leadership roles, we could only use a limited subset of participants that did opt to complete both. Specifically, we could include 397 participants in our analyses.

As most of these participants belonged to either an ATP-team or a research team, we will provide detailed analyses for each of these groups as well. The other groups (board teams and POC’s) were not analyses separately given that their sample size was too low to produce reliable results.

We tested linear regression models to examine to what extent the average perceived leadership quality of both formal and peer leaders (across all roles) predicted the different outcomes. 

The significance levels are set at * p < .05, ** p < .01, and *** p < .001.

Relative contribution on team identification

Relative contribution on job satisfaction

Relative contribution on work engagement

Relative contribution on team cohesion

Relative contribution on organizational citizenship behaviour

Relative contribution on team effectiveness

These linear regression models reveal that both formal leaders and peer leaders add unique contributions to each of the outcomes. Regarding team identification, team cohesion, and organizational citizenship behaviour, peer leaders have a larger impact, both in research teams and ATP-teams. For work engagement, peer leaders have a greater contribution in research teams, while formal leaders have a greater contribution in ATP-teams. The reverse is true for job satisfaction. In terms of team effectiveness, the contributions of both leaders are similar in research teams, but within ATP-teams, the contribution of peer leaders is noticeably greater.

    Controlling these effects for moderators

    In order to examine if the effects observed in the previous models were influenced by other factors, we investigated the moderating effects of the following variables:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Team size
    • Team tenure
    • The amount of face to face versus digital contact with the formal leader
    • The amount of face to face versus digital contact with individual team members
    • The amount of face to face versus digital contact with the entire team

    To ensure an adequate sample size, we tested the potential moderation effects separately for formal leadership roles and peer leadership roles. This allowed us to include all participants who completed the questionnaire for either formal or peer leaders, rather than only a subset who responded to both sections.

    Based on these analyses, we made the following conclusions:

    • Neither the formal leadership roles nor the peer leadership roles lost their significance as direct predictors for any of the outcomes in the models that included each of the moderators.
    • Gender, team tenure, team size, and the amount of face-to-face contact versus digital contact with either the formal leader or team members (both individuals or the entire team) did not significantly affect the impact of perceived leadership quality on any of the outcomes (i.e., team identification, job satisfaction, work engagement, team cohesion, organizational citizenship behaviour, or team effectiveness).
    • Age showed one small negative interaction effect, indicating that for work engagement, the impact of perceived leadership quality of peer leaders decreases slightly as one's age increases (β = -.09). No other significant interaction effects were found for age.

    Overall, we can conclude that the findings from the previously shown regression models were unaffected by the moderators mentioned above, with the exception that older individuals appeared to be a little less influenced by the leadership quality of their peers in terms of work engagement. However, no other age-related effects were found.