Organizational Leadership Leadership behavior has been a constant subject in social and behavioral sciences.Bligh and Meindl agreed that leadership is without any doubt one of the most discussed, studied, and written about topics in our society. They made as short statistic which revealed that a keyword search in the Expanded Academic Index for occurrences of the word “leadership” in a title or abstract puts forth over 1,200 citations in the year 2000 alone.
Moreover, a subject search of “leadership” on Amazon.com returns more than 6,300 books on the subject, and over 1,400 hardcover books with leadership in the title are offered (Krohe, 2000, cited in Bligh and Meindl 2005).
Moreover, leadership has been a perennial subject that traces its beginnings to the Old Testament, ancient China, and sixteenth-century Italy (Safferstone, 2007). The research interest for leadership has become manifest in time in the field of social and behavioral sciences and contemporary researchers value the need and positive impact of effective leadership in organizations, focusing on topics concerning leadership models and frameworks, and leadership development strategies.
More specifically, several authors are concerned with the relationships among organizational leadership, employee retention, and workforce commitment; the need for leadership development; and the impact of the changing business and organizational landscape on leaders’ roles and requisite skills. (Safferstone, 2007).An overwhelming number of books have been written on the topic, especially within the past twenty years. However, scholars and practitioners usually have linked the concept with organizational theory, organizational behavior, organizational change or other functional aspects of business.
Historical perspective and the development of theories on leadershipA survey undertaken by Safferstone (2007) on the origins of leadership reveals the fact that in Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American organizations used leadership principles taken from such works as: The Old Testament, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (c. 510 BCE), focusing on drawing analogies between Chinese philosophy and military strategy, Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (sixteenth century), focused on efficiency praise, and from Carl von Clausewitz’s treatise on military strategy On War (nineteenth-century).The principles that could be drawn from such works could only serve as vague and intuitive principles for leading organizations. The concepts, principles, and practices associated with leadership were undefined until the beginning of the twentieth century.
Moreover, the term leadership was used interchangeably with concepts like supervision, management, administration. A decisive factor that led to progress in the field of leadership theory was industrial and technological revolution that involved the need to assure the efficient and effective use of land, labor, and capital.One of the earliest works that delineated the field of management as an independent and major discipline was signed by Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer. His book, titled General and Industrial Management, promoted management as a distinct field of study and practice.
In the US Frederick Winslow Taylor, also an engineer, was concerned about the inefficiencies of industrial work and workers. He took into consideration the work processes and tried to determine more efficient ways of handling industrial labor. The outcome of his constant preoccupation is the work titled The Principles of Scientific Management. Another pioneer in the management field was Frank Gilbreth who was concerned with productivity of men in the assembly line.
The next factor that led to the formation of the leadership concept was the examination of the factors and conditions that motivated workers. The shift from the principles of scientific management to the factors related to workers’ morale and productivity enriched the field by attracting attention to the human factors in the workplace, such as people’s feelings, perceptions, attitudes, and relationships. An important event from this point of view was the Hawthorne experiments, conducted by Elton Mayo, an English biologist.After the World War II the efforts to improve organizational effectiveness by maximizing employee productivity continued and the the notion of leadership began to be examined by the academic community in conjunction with a number of psychological, sociological, and organizational variables.
Ohio State Leadership Studies was initiated in 1945 and hypothesized that leadership was “a complex social-psychological-behavioral construct that involved the leader, the follower, and situational factors” (Safferstone, 2007). Ralph M. Stogdill and Alvin E. Coons published Leader Behavior: Its Description and Measurement summarizing the outcomes of their pioneering research.
The main conclusion of their research was that leadership may be classified into two independent behavioral factors: consideration – related to establishing and developing relationships, and initiating structure -related to planning and organizing work tasks.Rensis Likert, Daniel Katz, and Robert Kahn were also concerned with the concept of leadership in relation to work effectiveness. Initially, they represented leadership on a continuum from employee-centered to production-centered. Furthermore, they observed that employee-centered or democratic supervisors tended to have higher-producing employee groups, while production-centered or authoritarian supervisors tended to have lower-producing employee groups.
They have a great merit for linking the concept of leadership with the management style.In 1961, Rensis Likert’s New Patterns of Management appeared as a result of almost fifteen years of research in which the complexities of leadership are recognized and organizational performance is taken into discussion as well. All in all, Likert suggests a four model management system or approach, two participative and two authoritative, and also takes into consideration their impact on seven organizational operating attributes.Another scholar attracted by the leadership theories was Frederick Herzberg.
Together with Bernard Mausner and Barbara Bloch Snyderman he published The Motivation to Work in which they stipulate that motivational factors, defined as elements that contribute to employee happiness and motivation, are substantively different from the hygiene factors, i.e., work-related factors that contribute to employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The results of Herzberg’s research was the motivation theory known as the Motivation-Hygiene Theory.
The author of Expectancy Theory Victor H. Vroom is also concerned with the psychological factors impacting motivation and performance. In ellaborating his theories he dwells on such concepts as supervision, the work group, job content, wages, promotional opportunities. He is of opinion that a single theory is not able to account for all work-related motivational elements and highlights the positive association among such factors as the relationship between the individual’s need for achievement, participation in the decision-making process, and effective job performance.
David McClelland reviews the existent literature on human motivation and performance and demonstrates that the need for achievement, affiliation, and power consistently predict behavior. He suggests a profile of the effective managers by inferring that they possess a moderate need for achievement, a low need for affiliation, and a high need for power or influence. He also reinforced the fact that managerial ability may be taught and learned. Further research by George H.
Litwin and Robert A. Stringer Jr based on McClelland’s experiments highlights the fact that managers’ motives and managerial styles impact organizational climate, which at its turn predictably affects organizational performance.Another important scholar that has made a contribution to the development and perpetuation on interest concerning leadership was Abraham Maslow. He imposed the humanistic perspective when examining organizational leadership.
He generally delineates a hierarchy of human needs – physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow’s hierarchy is characterized by a relative prepotency that postulates that human behavior is motivated only by unsatisfied needs. Maslow’s work, is taken as grounding for Douglas McGregor’s theory of human nature and behavior that have been extended to the managerial field. He articulates theory X and Y.
Theory X is based on the assumption that employees need direction and are motivated by lower-level needs. Theory Y suggests that the most important motivator is integration. Following the stream of ideas reflected in the two theories, the leader has the role to create conditions that motivate employees by satisfying their higher-level needs, in order for employees to support and fulfill the organization’s mission and objectives.As showed above, by the 1960s the studies focused on the significance of social and psychological constructs, such as human performance and motivation.
A certain body of research however, also considered the organization from a structural point of view and related it to managerial style. The most representative figures from this point of view are Max Weber and Chris Argyris. Nevertheless, after the 1960s several authors continued conducting research on leadership in order to understand especially the factors related to leadership effectiveness. Since then, the literature has become more accessible for the non-specialized public and for the practicing managers.
The short overview presented above suggested that some of the main questions which triggered scholars’ research were: What are the personal characteristics of leaders? What is the nature of the relation between leaders and followers? Why do we perceive some people to be better leaders than others? What are the circumstances that evoke leadership qualities in people? Can leadership be taught? (taken from Messick ; Kramer 2005).;Approaches to leadershipThe answers to such questions have been provided by researchers from different points of view, depending on the theory which they supported. The literature of leadership expanding for over the last 80 years recognized four main ‘generations’ of theory: Trait theories, Behavioural theories, Contingency theories, Transformational theories.In order to illustrate trait theories, Gardners model will be presented.
The qualities that make are distinctive for leaders include:? Physical vitality and stamina? Intelligence and action-oriented judgement? Eagerness to accept responsibility? Task competence? Understanding of followers and their needs? Skill in dealing with people? Need for achievement? Capacity to motivate people? Courage and resolution? Trustworthiness? Decisiveness? Self-confidence? Assertiveness? Adaptability/flexibility;Behavioral theories emphasize the particular behaviors that characterize leaders. Among them, the core distinctive behaviors are (Doyle ;. Smith, year unavailable, retrieved from site):Concern for task. Leaders emphasize the achievement of concrete objectives.
They are interested in high levels of productivity, and ways to organize people and activities in order to meet those objectives.Concern for people. In this style, leaders look upon their followers as people – their needs, interests, problems, development and so on. They are not simply units of production or means to an end.
Directive leadership. This style is characterized by leaders taking decisions for others – and expecting followers or subordinates to follow instructions.Participative leadership. Here leaders try to share decision-making with others.
(Wright 1996: 36-7)Contingency theories refer to the contexts in which leadership is exercised. Fiedler argued the importance of a multitude of factors. The most important, cited by Doyle ;. Smith are:The relationship between the leaders and followers.
The structure of the task. (clear with respect to goals, methods and standards of performance)Position power. (when an organization or group confers powers on the leader for the purpose of getting the job done, then this may well increase the influence of the leader). (Fiedler and Garcia 1987: 51 – 67.
See, also, Fiedler 1997)The transformational theories refer mainly to the distinction Burns made (1977) (cited in Doyle ;. Smith) between transactional and transforming leaders. The transactional leader recognizes what it is that we want to get from work and tries to ensure that we get it if our performance merits it, exchanges rewards and promises for our effort, is responsive to our immediate self interests if they can be met by getting the work done. The transformational leader raises our level of awareness, our level of consciousness about the significance and value of designated outcomes, and ways of reaching them, gets us transcend our own self-interest for the sake of the team, organization or larger polity, alters our need level (after Maslow) and expands our range of wants and needs.
(Based on Bass 1985 – Wright 1996: 213, cited in Doyle ;. Smith).;Contemporary perspectivesContemporary writings on leadership focus massively on the ethical business behavior and corporate accountability. Admired leaders according to these theories are honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent.
(Kouzes and Posner, 1993, cited in Safferstone). Moreover, Badaracco (2002) suggests that a great leader doesn’t have to be charismatic and with high-profile risk-taking results that lead to significant organizational achievement and personal rewards, but instead effective leadership and organizational success may be attributable to the day-to-day decisions and contributions made by numerous individuals, which may be leaders at their turn. He author introduces the concept of quiet leadership through examples of four fundamental guiding principles that reflect the complexity, uncertainty, and challenges of today’s business environment (taken from Safferstone).An interesting tendency in today’s theory is based on Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management and Whyte’s The Organization Man and suggests a new organizational paradigm—the individualized corporation, built on such capabilities: inspiring individual creativity and initiative, leveraging organizational learning, and continuous organizational renew.
The focus becomes more and more on the people perceived as a competitive advantage in changing business environment, on changes in the social, psychological, and moral employment contracts.All in all it is obvious in the recent research that the concept yet is to be nuanced and several points may be added and detailed. For instance Peterson and Jackson (2005) (cited in Chan S., Brief A.
P. 2005) try to offer an explanation – drawing upon the control theory – of why leadership matters in uncertain environments and why it may not matter so much. However, they discuss the leader’s role as a group regulator as well in relation to organizational performance.The overview on leadership presented above proves the existence of an almost a century of research in the matter without draining the subject out.
It is a classic topic of research in social and behavioral sciences but still remains a focus of interest for researchers and practitioners.;BIBLIOGRAPHY:;Safferstone M., 2007 Organizational Leadership: Classic Works and Contemporary Perspectives, Retrieved May 4th 2007 fromhttp://www.academicleadership.
org/emprical_research/Organizational_Leadership_Classic_Works_and_Contemporary_Perspectives_printer.shtmlGardner, J. (1989) On Leadership, New York: Free Press.Chan S.
, Brief A. P. (2005) When Leadership Matters and When It Does Not: A Commentary, in The Psychology of Leadership New Perspectives and Research, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Messick D. M ;.
Kramer R. M (Edts) p.321Messick D. M ;.
Kramer R. M (Edts) Introduction: New Approaches to the Psychology of Leadership, in The Psychology of Leadership New Perspectives and Research, Lawrence Erlbaum AssociatesDoyle M. E., Smith M.
K. Classical Leadership, Retrieved from site May 4th 2007 http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm
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Leadership Behavior. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/leadership-behavior/