Leadership Theories Essay Sample
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Leadership Theories Essay Sample
Development of Leadership Theory
• Until approximately 1930, there was not much
academic interest in the area of leadership
• Fredrick Taylor –Scientific Management (time/motion studies of productivity) (late 1800’s)
• Max Weber –(writing on bureaucracy) a leader possessed power by virtue of his position (1922)
• Mary Parker Follett – participatory management in “power with” as opposed to “power over ” (1926)
Notes on Organization ‐‐ 1937
• Work of the Executive
Leadership – a new definition
• Chester Barnard – 1938 new definition of leadership
The ability of a superior to influence the behavior of subordinates and persuade them to follow a particular course of action. (Barnard 1938)
Power – French and Raven (1960)
• Legitimate power – comes solely from the position the superior holds in an organization
• Reward power – comes by means of promotion, salary increases and interesting assignments
• Expert power – comes from the leader possessing superior knowledge of the matter under discussion
• Referent power – comes from the fact that subordinates identify with the leader and respect him/her
• Coercive power – comes from forced actions and potential for punishment
Nature of Leadership
Effective leadership is a key factor in the life and success of an organization
Leadership transforms potential into reality.
Leadership is the ultimate act which brings to success all of the potent potential that is in an organization and its people.
Leaders propose new paradigms when old ones lose their effectiveness.
Leadership is a major way in which people change the minds of others and move organizations forward to accomplish identified goals.
Theories of Leadership
Over time, a number of theories of leadership have been proposed, including:
• Great Man Theory
• Trait Theory
• Behavioral Theories
– The Managerial Grid
– Theory X and Theory Y
• Participative Leadership
– Lewin’s leadership styles
Theories of Leadership (con’t)
• Situational Leadership
• Contingency Theory
• Transactional Leadership
• Transformational Leadership
Theories of Leadership: Trait
• Trait Theory/Great Man (Woman) – assumes the leader is different from the average person in terms of personality traits such as intelligence, perseverance, and ambition
– People are born with inherited traits.
– Some traits are particularly suited to leadership. – People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits.
• Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits.
• Attention was given to discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders.
• Underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.
Stodgill’s (1974) Traits and Skills
•Adaptable to situations
•Alert to social environment
•Ambitious and achievement‐orientated
•Dominant (desire to influence others)
•Energetic (high activity level)
•Tolerant of stress
•Willing to assume responsibility
•Diplomatic and tactful
•Fluent in speaking
•Knowledgeable about group task
•Organized (administrative ability)
– Leaders can be made, rather than are born
– Successful leadership is based in definable, learnable behavior
– Behavioral theories do not seek inborn traits – they look at what leaders actually do
– Success can be defined in terms of describable actions
Leadership capability can be learned
Two general types of behavior exhibited by
• Concern for People
• Concern for Production
Early Research on Leader’s Behavior
While a leader can exhibit both types of behavior, early research on the two dimensions indicate that generally:
• As a leader’s consideration increased, employee turnover and absenteeism declined
• As a leader’s task orientation increased, employee performance rose.
But, the findings were sometimes contradictory.
1.Employees inherently dislike work and, whenever possible, will attempt to avoid it.
Theory Y Leaders Assume:
1.Employees can view work as being as natural as rest or play
2.Because employees dislike work, they must be 2. Men and women will exercise self‐direction coerced, controlled, or threatened with and self‐control if they are committed to the punishment to achieve desired goals objectives
3. Employees will shirk responsibilities and seek 3. The average person can learn to accept, even formal direction whenever possible seek, responsibility
4. Most workers place security above all other 4. The ability to make good decisions is widely factors associated with work and will display little dispersed throughout the population and is not ambition necessarily the sole province of managers
• Involvement in decision‐making improves the understanding of the issues involved by those who must carry out the decisions.
• People are more committed to actions where they have involved in the relevant decision‐making.
• People are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals.
• When people make decisions together, the social commitment to one another is greater and thus increases their commitment to the decision.
• Several people deciding together make better decisions than one person alone.
• A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders.
• Most participative activity is within the immediate team.