Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Holly Handley

Committee Member

Pilar Pazos

Committee Member

Rafael Landaeta

Committee Member

Ray Luechtefeld


The main goal of the research was to identify the relationships that the internal research team environment and external coaching variables had with the degree of shared leadership in the context of Six Sigma teams from the North Shore LIJ Health System. Furthermore, the research ascertained the relationships that these variables had with two performance metrics: a team's ability to complete project deliverables and satisfy customer's requirements. This research also sought to understand additional factors that affected the five variables.

The research found that while shared leadership did not positively change as a team progressed through the phases of the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) process, shared leadership had unique relationships with the four variables. The study identified that all of these relationships are impacted by several factors in the team environment. A team's degree of shared leadership and the development of these relationships were most influenced by the complexity of the deliverables and change management that were associated with the phases. A direct relationship was also found between shared leadership and decision-making. This relationship was found to impact shared leadership and the relationships that shared leadership had with the four variables. The presence of the three dimensions of the internal team environment condition was also instrumental to the development of these relationships. The research also concluded that the degree and style of external coaching had a critical role in the development of these relationships. The study also identified general organizational issues that affected both the development of the five variables and the Six Sigma model.

The results of this research have contributed to building the body of knowledge in several areas, including leadership development, team dynamics, the Six Sigma and improvement science methodologies, and social network theory. This study also builds practical knowledge by outlining implications to factors such as change management and leadership development. The research builds knowledge by proposing a model that outlines a continuum for how shared decisions can be made in a team. The research also outlines a series of improvement strategies that future teams and coaches can improve the effectiveness of Six Sigma teams.