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Leadership Approach Paper Essay Sample

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Leadership Approach Paper Essay Sample

The study of leadership has been a debated topic for centuries. The leader influences others, has followers, and leaders will come to the forefront during a crisis. “Leaders are people with a clear idea of what they want, why they want it and are able to think and act creatively in non-routine situations” (infed.org, 2012). The beginning studies of leadership can be traced back to before World War I. “Leadership studies have resulted in a multitude of perspectives and theories” (eNotes.com, 2012). There are three main generations of leadership theory; trait, behavioral, and contingency. Depending on the organization and the objectives of the organization the generation needed in the leadership should be in common with the organizational goals. Each generation has contributed to the understanding of leadership but none have provided the exact answer as to what make an effective leader. The development of leadership studies was introduced in the 1930s with the Trait theory. Between 1960 and 1970 the Contingency theory gained prominence.

The contingency theory proposes “that the organizational or work group context affects the extent to which given leader traits and behaviors will be effective” (eNotes.com, 2012). “Fiedler’s contingency theory, path-goal theory, the Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model of leadership and the situational leadership theory are all very well-known contingency theories” (eNotes.com, 2012). Fiedler’s contingency theory developed in 1967, specified how the factors of the situation interacted and influenced leadership behavior, traits, and effectiveness. The theory outlines that the effectiveness of the leadership is determined in the “favorability” of the situation. Favorability is determined by respect, trust, structure, performance measures, and control. The situation is deemed most favorable when the determining factors of favorability are in place. Fiedler’s research indicates that a leader can adapt their style to the situation.

However, Fiedler’s research proved that leaders with differing styles would be more effective if placed in situations that complimented their preferred leadership style. The path-goal theory, presented by Robert House in 1971, proposes that characteristics of the environment will determine the effectiveness of the leadership. “Control, work experience, ability, need for affiliation, and the nature of the task are all characteristics of leadership behaviors. “The path-goal theory outlines four different leadership behaviors; directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented leadership” (McGlone, 2005). The theory states that the leadership behaviors should reduce barriers and improve performance to attain organizational goals. Leadership behaviors will determine the level and value of the accomplishment that is placed on the task by subordinates. Victor Vroom and Phillip Yetton introduced the Vroom-Yetton model in 1973.

In 1988, the model was revised by Vroom and Jago and renamed Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model. “The theory focuses primarily on the degree of subordinate participation that is appropriate in different situations. Thus, it emphasizes the decision-making style of the leader” (infed.org, 2012). The theory outlines five types of decision-making styles. The styles are labeled from AI, AII, CI, CII, and G. AI represents a strongly autocratic styles and G represents a strongly democratic styles. The appropriate style is determined by the answers of diagnostic questions, the structure of the situation, available information, and the importance of the quality of the decision. Situational leadership was introduced in 1969. Hersey and Blanchard revised the theory in 1977 suggesting key contingency factors affecting the choice of style used is determined by the ability of the staff. The theory outlines behaviors into classes; task-oriented and relationship-oriented.

The theory proposes the choice of style used will determine the effectiveness of the staff completing the task. The Contingency theory states that the factors of the situation are unique to each situation and will determine the specific characteristics and behaviors needed for the leadership to be effective. The effectiveness of the leadership, in the Contingency theory, is dependent on many factors and the degree in which leadership gives control and influence. Leadership styles remain an unexplainable and changing concept. Numerous leadership studies have been published and leadership is probably the most “frequently studied topic in the organizational sciences” (eNotes.com, 2012). Despite these efforts, the criterion for variables, as they relate to leadership style choice, still remain uncertain.

References
McGlone, J. (2005, June 22). Major approaches to the study of leadership The Free Library. Retrieved from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Major approaches to the study of leadership eNotes.com. (2012, November 19). Leadership Theories and Studies. Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/leadership-theories-studies-reference infed.org. (2012). Classical Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.html

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