Review Of Leadership Theory
November 9, 2011 Tinggalkan komentar
A review of the leadership literature reveals an evolving series of ‘schools of thought’ from “Great Man” and “Trait” theories to “Transformational” leadership. Whilst early theories tend to focus upon the characteristics and behaviours of successful leaders, later theories begin to consider the role of followers and the contextual nature of leadership.
1) Great Man Theories
Based on the belief that leaders are exceptional people, born with innate qualities, destined to lead. The use of the term ‘man’ was intentional since until the latter part of the twentieth century leadership was thought of as a concept which is primarily male, military and Western. This led to the next school of Trait Theories.
2) Trait Theories
The lists of traits or qualities associated with leadership exist in abundance and continue to be produced. They draw on virtually all the adjectives in the dictionary which describe some positive or virtuous human attribute, from ambition to zest for life.
3) Behaviourist Theories
These concentrate on what leaders actually do rather than on their qualities. Different patterns of behaviour are observed and categorised as ‘styles of leadership’. This area has probably attracted most attention from practising managers
4) Situational Leadership
This approach sees leadership as specific to the situation in which it is being exercised. For example, whilst some situations may require an autocratic style, others may need a more participative approach. It also proposes that there may be differences in required leadership styles at different levels in the same organisation
5) Contingency Theory
This is a refinement of the situational viewpoint and focuses on identifying the situational variables which best predict the most appropriate or effective leadership style to fit the particular circumstances
6) Transactional Theory
This approach emphasises the importance of the relationship between leader and followers, focusing on the mutual benefits derived from a form of ‘contract’ through which the leader delivers such things as rewards or recognition in return for the commitment or loyalty of the followers
7) Transformational Theory
The central concept here is change and the role of leadership in envisioning and implementing the transformation of organisational performance.
Leadership Theory in this article takes a rather individualistic perspective of the leader, leadership as a view process that is diffuse throughout an organisation rather than lying solely with the formally designated ‘leader’.