Communicative leadership development – analyzing value creation in two business organizations

A three-year research project about the value of communicative leadership at Mid Sweden University, funded by the Swedish Knowledge Foundation, Sandvik Machining Solutions AB and AB Volvo.


Communicative leadership has a clear connection to employees’ performance several levels: individual, departments and organizational. A communicative leader perceives often as open and engaged. He/she motivates employees through dialog and actively gives and receives feedback, and involves employees in decision-making.

Companies that adopt and use of these methods often aim to create effective organizations, organizational changes and healthy working environment by involving and motivating employees. The value of communicative leadership needs to be examined more carefully to understand the processes that lead to increased benefits for the organization. In our research, we analyze the development of communicative leadership at Sandvik Machining Solutions and AB Volvo to better understand the value of the processes the two organizations are implementing.

In this project, wich will be implemented between 2017 and 2019, we seek answers to issues such as:

  • How are communicative leadership behaviors and principles adapted, implemented and trained in the participating business organizations?
  • What are the short and long term outcomes of communicative leadership development programs on individual and team/organizational levels in different contexts?
  • What characterizes an effective communicative leadership development program?
  • What values are created through communicative leadership development?

A model for the development of communicative leadership will be developed in the project based on current research and organizational needs, and can be adapted to different companies and their conditions.

The project is implemented by the research group CORE (Communication, Organization, Research, Education) and Quality Technology (Quality Management) at the research center DEMICOM at Mid Sweden University, in collaboration with senior communicators from Volvo and Sandvik, which is known for its work to define, analyze and develop communicative leadership. The group also includes Professor J. Kevin Barge, an expert on leadership and communication at Texas A & M University, USA.

The companies included in the project are investing significant resources to develop communicative leadership, to thereby achieve global success. The research collaboration will lead to scientific and applied knowledge of communicative leadership, its development and value creation.

Previous research project funded by the Swedish Research Foundation through HIGH-program (HÖG-programemet) in cooperation with the business community conducted by the research team:

- HIGH 2010/0226 Communicative Leadership: conceptualization, analysis and development of core competencies are co-produced with Norrmejerier, Saab, Sandvik, Spendrups, AB Volvo, Occurro and Nordic Communications

Project manager: Catrin Johansson