LEADERSHIP THEORIES

Overview

Leadership

Leadership plays a central part in understanding group behavior, for it is the leader who usually provides the direction toward goal attainment. Therefore, a more accurate predictive capability should be valuable in improving group performance.

The original search for a set of universal leadership traits failed. At best, we can say that individuals who are ambitious, have high energy, a desire to lead, self-confidence, intelligence, hold job-relevant knowledge, are perceived as honest and trustworthy, and are flexible are more likely to succeed as leaders than individuals without these traits. The behavioral approach’s major contribution was narrowing leadership into task-oriented and people-oriented styles, but no one style was found to be effective in all situations. A major breakthrough in our understanding of leadership came when we recognized the need to develop contingency theories that included situational factors. At present, the evidence indicates that relevant situational variables would include the task structure of the job; level of situational stress; level of group support; the leader’s intelligence and experience; and follower characteristics such as personality, experience, ability, and motivation.

“All Leaders are Managers…. But not all Managers are Leaders” Definition

1. John Kotter feels that management is about coping with complexity.

  • Good management brings about order and consistency by drawing up formal plans, designing rigid organization structures, and monitoring results against the plans.
  • Leadership is about coping with change.
  • Leaders establish direction by developing a vision of the future; then they align people by communicating this vision and inspiring them to overcome hurdles.

2. Robert House of Wharton basically concurs:

  • Managers use the authority inherent in their designated formal rank to obtain compliance.
  • Management consists of implementing vision and strategy, coordinating and staffing, and handling day-to-day problems.

3. We define leadership as “the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals.”

  • The source of this influence may be formal. A person may assume a leadership role simply because of his/her position.
  • Not all leaders are managers, nor, for that matter, are all managers leaders.
  • Non-sanctioned leadership—the ability to influence that arises outside the formal structure of the organization—is often as important as or more important than formal influence.
  • Leaders can emerge from within a group as well as by formal appointment to lead a group.

4. Organizations need strong leadership and strong management for optimum effectiveness. Leaders must challenge the status quo, create visions of the future, and inspire organizational members.

What Is Leadership?

  • No universally agreed-upon definition.
  • Involves influencing the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings of other people.
  • Most people agree that it is an important topic!

“Leadership is an interpersonal process in which influence is exercised in a social system for the achievement of organizational goals by others”.

Researchers agree on two characteristics of leadership. First, leadership involves exerting influence over other members of a group or organization. Second, leadership involves helping a group or organization achieve its goals.

Leaders of a group or organization are the individuals who exert such influence.

A Leader helps others achieve organizational goals and influences perceptions and behaviors, including attitudes, learning, motivation, stress, performance, decision-making quality, turnover, and absenteeism.

Leader effectiveness is the extent to which a leader helps a group or organization achieves its goals.

Why Study Leadership?

  • Understanding leadership helps organizations:
  • select the right people for leadership positions
  • train people in leadership positions to improve –
  • Who benefits?
  • leaders
  • followers – organizations

Distinctions between Managers and Leaders

Distinctions Between

Leadership & Followership

Managers and Leaders

Leaders Managers

Leadership - the process of guiding &

  • Innovate
  • Administer
  • directing the behavior of people in the
  • Develop
  • Maintain
  • work environment
  • Inspire
  • Control

Formal leadership – the officially – Take the long-term • Have a short-term sanctioned leader-ship based on the view view

  • Ask what and why
  • Ask how and when

authority of a formal position.

Formal

  • Originate
  • Accept the status

leaders are members of an organization

  • Challenge the status quo with authority to influence other quo.

members to achieve organizational goals.

  • Informal leadership - the unofficial leadership accorded to a person by other members of the organization. Informal leaders lack formal authority, but sometimes exert just as much influence as formal leaders—and sometimes more. Informal leaders influence others, based on special skills or talents that help achieve group goals..
  • Followers-hip – the process of being guided & directed by a leader in the work environment

Followers Can Make a Bigger Contribution By:

  • Power is the capacity of a leader to influence work actions or decisions.
  • Being more proactive in solving organizational problems.
  • Becoming better skilled at “influencing upward.”
  • Staying flexible and open to opportunities.

How Leaders Interact with Followers

  • Create environments where followers’ innovations and creative contributions are welcome.
  • Encourage growth and development in followers.
  • Interested in the big picture of followers’ work.
  • Motivate followers through more personal and intangible factors.
  • Redefine the parameters of tasks and responsibilities.
  • Change situations rather than just optimize their group’s adaptation to it.

Leaders and power

Sources of Leader Power

1.  Furniture and office arrangements

2.  Prominently displayed symbols

3.  Appearances of title and authority

4.  Choice of clothing

5.  Presence or absence of crisis

Theories of Leadership

Trait Theories of Leadership

Early studies identified during personal characteristics and traits that distinguish leaders from followers and effective from ineffective leaders. They were concerned with leaders’ traits, the particular tendencies a person has to feel, think, and act in certain ways. Results from nearly 300 studies suggested that the following traits have the strongest relationship to effective leadership:

  • Intelligence
  • Task-relevant knowledge
  • Dominance (the need to exert influence and control over others)
  • Self-confidence
  • Energy/activity levels
  • Tolerance for stress
  • integrity and honesty
  • Emotional maturity

organizational behavior  LEADERSHIP THEORIES

Although understanding leader characteristics is helpful, the trait approach is limited. Whether these traits are key for becoming a leader or result from being a leader is unclear. The trait approach provides little guidance as to how to train or help leaders. Because traits are stable, individuals cannot change traits associated with leadership.

The trait approach fails to explain why or how effective leadership occurs. Many individuals who possess these traits never become leaders, and many leaders who possess them are ineffective. Researchers then considered other factors affecting leadership, such as leader behaviors.

  • The media has long been a believer in trait theories of leadership. They identify leaders by focusing on personal qualities and characteristics such as charismatic, enthusiastic, and courageous.
  • The search for attributes that describe leaders and differentiate them goes back to the 1930s.
  • Research efforts at isolating leadership traits resulted in a number of dead ends. A review of 20 different studies identified nearly 80 leadership traits, but only five of these traits were common to four or more of the investigations.
  • A search to identify traits that were consistently associated with leadership has better results.
  • Theories that attempt to isolate characteristics that differentiate leaders from nonleaders
  • Attempts to identify traits that always differentiate leaders from followers and effective leaders from ineffective leaders have failed.
  • Attempts to identify traits consistently associated with leadership have been more successful.

Six traits on which leaders tend to differ from non-leaders are:

  • Ambition and energy
  • Desire to lead
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Self-confidence
  • Intelligence
  • Job-relevant knowledge.

Recent research provides strong evidence that people who are high self-monitors are much more likely to emerge as leaders in groups than low self-monitors.

The cumulative findings from a half of a century of research show that some traits increase the likelihood of success as a leader, but none guarantee success.

The trait approach has at least four limitations:

  • First, there are no universal traits that predict in all situations.
  • Second, traits predict behavior more in “weak” situations than in “strong” situations.
  • Strong situations are those in which there are strong behavioral norms, strong incentives for specific types of behaviors, and clear expectations.
  • Such strong situations create less opportunity for leaders to express their inherent dispositional tendencies.
  • Third, the evidence is unclear in separating cause from effect.
  • Finally, traits do a better job at predicting the appearance of leadership than in actually distinguishing between effective and ineffective leaders.

The Behavior Approach: Consideration and Initiating Structure

Researchers using the behavior approach identified specific behaviors that contribute to

Behavioral Theories

leaders’ effectiveness at helping individuals, groups, and or organizations achieve goals.

The Ohio State researchers developed scales to Ohio State measure over 1800 leader behaviors and asked

workers to indicate how much their leaders engaged in them. Researchers found that leader

Employee-Orientation

University of

behaviors involved either consideration or initiating structure. Consideration is a Michigan

Production-Orientation

behavior indicating that a leader trusts, respects, and values good relationships with followers. A considerate leader might be friendly, treat others as equals, give explanations, and show concern for workers’ well-being and their opinions.

Initiating structure refers to a leader’s behavior that assures that work is completed and subordinates perform their jobs. This structure includes assigning tasks, planning, setting goals, deciding how tasks are accomplished, and encouraging followers to accomplish them.

Consideration and initiating structures are complementary because leaders can engage in both. They are independent because describing a leader’s consideration does not describe the initiating structure.

Researchers using the behavior approach to leadership have identified behaviors similar to consideration and initiating structure. Researchers at the University of Michigan identified two behaviors corresponding to consideration and initiating structure: employee-oriented and job-centered behaviors. An approach to organizational change, called the Managerial Grid, makes managers effective leaders by focusing how much they show concern for people and production. The Hersey and Blanchard model focuses on consideration and initiating structure behaviors. Studies show no consistent relationship between consideration and high job satisfaction or between initiating structure and subordinates’ performance. Other factors in leader behaviors may have brought about these results.

The Behavior Approach: Leader Reward and Punishing Behavior

Leaders demonstrate other important behaviors.

Leader reward behavior occurs when a leader positively reinforces subordinates’ desirable behavior. A leader might acknowledge good performance with praise, compliments, a pay raise, or a promotion. Reward behavior keeps workers performing at a high level.

Leader punishing behavior occurs when a leader reprimands or responds negatively to subordinates who perform undesirably. Punishing is best used only to curtail undesirable behavior as it has unintended side effects such as resentment. Although reinforcement is more effective, leaders often engage in punishing behavior.

  • Researchers began to wonder if there was something unique in the way that effective leaders behave. The behavioral approach would have implications quite different from those of the trait approach.
  • Trait and behavioral theories differ in terms of their underlying assumptions.
  • Trait theories assumption: Leadership is basically inborn, therefore we could select the right leaders.
  • Behavioral approach assumption: suggests that we could train people to be leaders. We can design programs to implant behavioral patterns. If training worked, we could have an infinite supply of effective leaders.

The Ohio State Studies

  • The most comprehensive and replicated of the behavioral theories resulted from research that began at Ohio State University in the late 1940s. These researchers sought to identify independent dimensions of leader behavior.
  • They narrowed over a thousand dimensions into two dimensions—initiating structure and consideration.
  • Initiating structure refers to the extent to which a leader is likely to define and structure his/her role and those of employees in the search for goal attainment.
  • It includes attempts to organize work, work relationships, and goals.
  • The leader high in initiating structure could be described as someone who “assigns group members to particular tasks,” “expects workers to maintain definite standards of performance,” and “emphasizes the meeting of deadlines.”
  • Consideration is described as “the extent to which a person is likely to have job relationships that are characterized by mutual trust, respect for employees’ ideas, and regard for their feelings.”
  • The leader shows concern for followers’ comfort, well-being, status, and satisfaction.
  • A leader high in consideration could be described as one who helps employees with personal problems, is friendly and approachable, and treats all employees as equals.
  • Leaders high in initiating structure and consideration tended to achieve high employee performance and satisfaction.
  • The “high-high” style did not always result in positive consequences.
  • Leader behavior characterized as high on initiating structure led to greater rates of grievances, absenteeism, and turnover, and lower levels of job satisfaction for routine tasks.
  • High consideration was negatively related to performance ratings of the leader by his/her superior.

University of Michigan Studies

  • Leadership studies were undertaken at the same time as those being done at Ohio State, with similar research objectives. They discovered two dimensions of leadership behavior— employee-oriented and production-oriented.
  • Employee-oriented leaders emphasized interpersonal relations. They took a personal interest in the needs of their employees and accepted individual differences among members.
  • The production-oriented leaders tended to emphasize the technical or task aspects of the job— group members were a means to that end.
  • Michigan researchers’ conclusions strongly favored the leaders who were employee oriented. Employee-oriented leaders were associated with higher group productivity and higher job satisfaction.
  • Production-oriented leaders tended to be associated with low group productivity and lower job satisfaction.

Blake and Mouton proposed a managerial grid based on the styles of “concern for people” and “concern for production,” which essentially represent the Ohio State dimensions of consideration and initiating structure or the Michigan dimensions of employee-oriented and production-oriented.

  • The grid has nine possible positions along each axis, creating 81 different positions.
  • The grid shows the dominating factors in a leader’s thinking in regard to getting results.
  • Based on the findings of Blake and Mouton, managers were found to perform best under a 9, 9 style, as contrasted, for example, with a 9,1 (authority type) or 1,9 (lassiez-faire type) style. Unfortunately, the grid offers a better framework for conceptualizing leadership style than for presenting any tangible new information.

Leaders at all levels in an organization help individuals, groups, and the organization as a whole achieve their goals and can thus have profound effects in organizations. The approaches to leadership covered help explain how leaders influence their followers and why leaders are sometimes effective and sometimes ineffective.

The Managerial Grid

9

8 7

6

Concern

5

for

People 4 3 2

1

Concern for Production


organizational behavior  LEADERSHIP THEORIES

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