Bringing the cognitive revolution forward: What can team cognition contribute to our understanding of leadership?

Andra Toader, Robin Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cognition is a central element of organizational behavior and leaders are seen as key shapers of organizational cognition. Leaders’ influence over organizations often occurs through their influence on the collectives or teams they are leading. Hence, leaders influence organizational outcomes by modeling team cognition. Despite the importance of this relationship for organizational outcomes, there is little integration currently between the leadership and team cognition literatures. To address this gap, we conduct an integrative review. First, we develop a model for leader and team influence based on organizational emergence and leadership complexity theories. Our model makes a distinction between the source of influence over cognition (leader → team, team → leader, reciprocal) and form of cognition emergence (variance reduction, variance enhancement); constraints that shape cognitions that vary in levels (within and between‐level, contextual) and focus (individual, interindividual, collective); and leader behaviors (administrative, adaptive, enabling). We apply this model to review and analyze ninety‐nine studies in the current literature and then discuss the limitations and future directions drawing on our findings and theoretical model. We contribute a unifying framework of leadership and team emergence that can be expanded and applied to other settings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101619
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022


  • Complexity theory
  • Constraints
  • Emergence
  • Leadership
  • Multilevel
  • Review
  • Team cognition
  • Teams


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