Leadership for long-duration space missions: A shift toward a collective approach

Tyler Mulhearn, Tristan McIntosh, Carter Gibson, Michael D. Mumford, Francis J. Yammarino, Shane Connelly, Eric Anthony Day, Brandon Vessey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

For many years, leadership operations within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have utilized a primarily hierarchical approach. In the present effort, we investigated the leadership needs and considerations given the increased interest in and potential for long-duration space exploration. Specifically, it is argued that a collective leadership approach in which leadership is shared and distributed based on expertise would be beneficial for these types of missions. Interviews were conducted with eleven subject matter experts with wide-ranging experience in NASA and its missions. A mixed-methods analytic approach applied to these interviews provided support for the viability of a collective leadership framework. Implications for NASA and other similar organizational contexts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-476
Number of pages11
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume129
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Collective leadership
  • Crises
  • Expertise
  • Mixed methods
  • Space missions
  • Unexpected events

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