Leadership in Organizational BehaviorAbstract: The study of organizational behavior (OB) and its affiliated subjects helps us understand what people think, feel and do in organizational settings. And the Leadership in Organizational Behavior has a very important part to play in modern era. There are three determinants of behavior in order to make an organization more effective: individual, groups, and structure.
The people within the organization and their behaviors affect the performance of the organization. There are a number of behavioral disciplines that contribute to OB: psychology, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political science.
Organizational behavior is about people at work in all kinds of organizations and how they may be motivated to work together in more effective ways. By studying these behaviors you become more aware of your business ethics and are able to positively find ways to transfer your employee’s attitudes and behaviors into more positive experiences personally and for the company.
Most organizations realize that being ethical is good business practice and pays in the long run.
To be ethical requires treating others — customers and employees — properly and fairly. A company that is interested in growth and profits must establish relationships with customers and employees based on trust. Improvement of the employer-employee relationship is important to both parties for several reasons.
First, employee productivity increases when employers treat their employees with more respect. Second, employees may find that increased ethical behavior on their part actually results in higher compensation.Introduction:Leadership is one of the hottest debated topics in management studies, social psychology and organizational psychology (Pfeffer 1993). Despite the depth and breadth of debate concerning leadership effectiveness, it remains an elusive construct.
As a result, researchers and practitioners have not reached a consensus on a true and concise definition that represents an accurate depiction of effective leadership in all situations and possibilities. Bennis and Nanus (1985, p. 259) maintain that “neither in common parlance nor in the literature on thesubject, is there consensus about the essence of leadership, or the means by which it can beidentified, achieved or measured”. So how can these ambiguities be overcome, and how do weanswer the ever-elusive question, what distinguishes a manager from an exceptional leader?Research has covered a broad spectrum from trait models (based on the traits and othercharacteristics of leaders) to behavioural perspectives (notably the Ohio and Michigan studies), to contingency theories (e.
g. House 1971, path-goal; Vroom & Yetton 1973; and Vroom & Jago 1988). More recently, the transactional versus transformational leadership models have been at the forefront of leadership research (see Bass & Avolio 1995). Although no one perspective is entirely accurate, nor entirely irrelevant, the answer to exceptional leadership remains relatively unclear.
For example, does the early 21st century environment demand a different kind of leadership from earlier times? Certainly there has been a move away from ‘command and control’ models of leadership towards more flexible,collaborative and nurturing styles (Bennis 1999). The ability to cope with new and challenging imperatives such as increasing global competition demands the use of new leadership skills (Conger 1993). While the technical skills of leaders are not unimportant, there appears to be a case for emphasising general management expertise, entrepreneurship an ability to look into the future and the acceptance of responsibility (Savery et al. 1996).
In addition, others have identified a need for interpersonal competence (Cooper & Argyris 1998; Karpin 1995) as it is assists in learning new things about oneself and one’s company in order to leverage intellectual capital (discussed later in this paper). A prerequisite of interpersonal competence is self-awareness, as this influences effectiveness and what the individual is able to “see in theenvironment, how [one] evaluates it, and how [one] deals with it” (Cooper & Argyris 1998,p. 25).Leadership:The topic of leadership has been of interest for many hundreds of years, from the early Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates to the plethora of management and leadership gurus, whose books fill airport bookshops.
Seldom, however, has the need for effective leadership been voiced more strongly than now. It is argued that in this changing, global environment, leadership holds the answer not only to the success of individuals and organizations, but also to sectors,regions and nations.“Leadership appears to be, like power, an ‘essentially contested concept’”—(Gallie, 1955 cited in Grint, 2004, p1)“Leadership is like the Abominable Snowman, whose footprints are everywhere but who is nowhere to be seen.”—(Bennis and Nanus, 1985)The primary purpose of leadership is to facilitate change by moving people to action.
Without change there is no need for leadership. The way in which we approach a leadership role strongly depends on our personality, the situation, current and emerging issues and our responses to them, our values, the way in which we perceive others, how we perceive ourselves, and a myriad of other factors. Are people naturally good leaders, or can leadership be developed? This is the equivalent of the ‘nature or nurture’ argument in human development, and I believe the answer is yes to both sides of the question. There are some people who possess characteristics of leadership and have the ability to move people as a natural strength.
However it is also true that a person can grow and develop as a leader. I maintain that the journey of self-discovery and self-mastery is a key to unlocking personal power and developing a greater capability to lead others, regardless of any natural talent. If I can lead myself, I am better able to inspire others to follow me; if I cannot lead myself, why would anyone but a fool follow me?Leadership and Management:It has become fashionable over recent years to distinguish leadership from management however increasing evidence indicates that this distinction may be misleading. Zalenznik (1977) began the trend of contrasting leadership and management by presenting an image of the leader as an artist, who uses creativity and intuition to navigate his/her way through chaos, whilst the manager is seen as a problem solver dependent on rationality and control.
Since then the leadership literature has been littered with bold statements contrasting the two. Bennis and Nanus (1985, p21), for example, suggest that managers “do things right” whilst leaders do “the right thing” andBryman (1986, p6) argues that the leader is the catalyst focussed on strategy whilst the manager is the operator/technician concerned with the “here-and-now of operational goal attainment”. Central to most of these distinctions is an orientation towards change. This concept is well represented in the work of John Kotter (1990) who concluded that “management is about coping with complexity” whilst “leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change” (ibid, p104).
He proposed that good management brings about a degree of order and consistency to organizationalprocesses and goals, whilst leadership is required for dynamic change (see Figure 1 for a summary of his ideas). The distinction of leadership from management as represented by Kotter and his contemporaries clearly encourages a shift in emphasis from the relatively inflexible, bureaucratic processes typified as ‘management’ to the more dynamic and strategic processes classed as ‘leadership’, yet even he concludes that both are equally necessary for the effective running of an organization. Despite the popular appeal of a distinction between leadership andmanagement, however, there is some doubt as to whether they are really quite as separate as this in practice. Firstly there is increasing resistance to the way in which such analyses tend to denigrate management as something rather boring and uninspiring.
Joseph Rost (1991), for example, highlights the need for consistency and predictability in many aspects of management and leadership behaviour and concludes that “down with management and up with leadership is a bad idea”. Gosling and Murphy (2004) similarly propose that maintaining a sense of continuity during times of change is key to successful leadership. Thus the leader must ensure that systems and structures remain in place that offer workers a sense of security and balance, without which it would be hard to maintain levels of motivation, commitment, trust and psychological well-being. .
Leadership and organizational behavior:Despite being presented as a chronological sequence, many of the ideas presented remain popular today and there is no consistent agreement between academics or practitioners as to which is preferable or most effective. Northouse (2004) offers some useful comparisons as to how leadership is currently conceived In truth, there is no one theory that can explain all circumstances – each has its strengths and weaknesses and the choice as to which is accepted owes as much to personal beliefs and experience as to empirical evidence. The trait approach, for example, whilst problematic could prove useful when attempting to identify or recruit a leader .The style approach tells leaders what they should do, rather simply focusing upon which attributes they should possess.
The situational approach encourages the leader to consider the nature of the task and followers and to adapt his/her style accordingly. The transformational approach offers guidance as to the most appropriate leadership style in times of change. And servant, team and distributed leadership offer alternative ways of conceiving the leadership process, the manner in which it occurs and the associated values and ethics. Leadership is a complex phenomenon that touches on many other important organizational, social and personal issues.
It eludes simple definition or theoretical representation and yet is becoming increasingly significant in all aspects of our endeavors. The theories presented in this article have made substantial advances to our understanding of the nature of leadership, leading, leaders and the led but there is still much room for improvement and a considerable degree of discretion required in their application. The relationship between Leadership and organizational performance:It is essential to successful leadership that one learn the ways of the new organization. The “waysof the organization” include, but are not limited to:— Learning the governing laws and regulations of the organization.
— Learning the people and personalities, which have guided the organization to its present position.— Learning the reasons for the present laws and regulations and the present position of the organization.— Learning to be inventive in suggesting ways of improving the organization while living within the rules of the organization.If we cannot decide on what makes a great leader, how are we supposed to test for it?Especially if differences occur, not only in models and theories, but also across national andinternational cultures and organizations.
As can be seen from Stewart’s paper in this journal,what is believed to be a good leader in business does not align with those beliefs in the IT sector.Hunt’s paper and the GLOBE studies also highlight the differing perceptions of leadership acrossinternational boundaries, and national clusters. Each individual may have differing abilities orbehaviors, and each situation may call for differing styles and actions. The complexity ofleadership theory is apparent, and the resulting difficulty in testing is obvious.
With newapproaches in qualitative and quantitative designs leadership research has the potential todevelop further still. Parry’s paper highlights the value of grounded theory in exploring theindividual characteristics that may be the key to exceptional leadership. Nevertheless, thealignment between theory and the level of analysis used in leadership testing is problematic(Schriesheim, Castro & Yammarino 2000). In the pursuit of defining and building an accuratemodel of leadership it is important to do two things.
First, not be disheartened by the voids in theliterature and the seeming confusion created as a result of dubious theories and models. Thesecond strategy is to appreciate the complexity of leadership. While sometimes individuals agree on who or what makes effective leaders or leadership respectively, for others it means different things to different people. Yet again, some may not want or require any leadership at all (see substitutes for leadership in Kerr & Jermier 1978; Howell et al.
1986). The title of this introductory paper posed the question, ‘Leadership in the 21st century: where is it leading us?’ The papers in this volume cover a wide spectrum of possibilities — the International Journal of Organizational Behavior Volume 5, No. 2 challenge for leaders and researchers lies in interpreting those possibilities in the light of their own leadership styles, organizational settings or research directions. It is the intention of the editors of this special edition, that the papers presented within this volume will go some way towards assisting with those challenges.
The Changing face of Leadership:In this climate of change, leadership is viewed as the key to organizational success. Although the core qualities of leaders may remain constant, the manner and mix in which they are exhibited needs to become more fluid and matched to the context. The leader needs to become increasingly adaptable – making sense of uncertainty and managing complexity. The qualities of openness, empathy, integrity and selfawareness are coming to the fore and demand a more participative leadership style, whereby the leader not only involves colleagues, but listens, is responsive to feedback and delegates responsibility.
The leader will increasingly need to “win the right to lead”, “lead from the front”, “lead by example” and be prepared to “share in hardship”. Developing a culture of leadership in which people can excel is being seen as increasingly important, as is the need to create and communicate a shared long-term vision. As the need for good strategic leadership becomes critical, it is proposed that further steps need to be taken to identify, develop and support potential future leaders from an early stage. The emphasis should be on experiential and reflective learning that builds upon innate qualities and personal experiences, and enhances the ability to define and communicate a vision and to adapt to different contexts and situations.
Many groups discussed the moral ‘dilemmas’ facing leaders and the challenge of taking difficult decisions, often with incomplete information. Leadership can be a lonely task, and all groups made explicit reference to the importance of work/life balance in alleviating stress and isolation.Leadership In 21st Century:The findings from this research indicate an underlying shift in thinking about leadership, not just amongst academics but also practicing managers. We have moved a long way from the early trait and ‘great man’ theories, whereby leadership was considered the reserve of an exclusive few who were born destined to lead.
There is a clear awareness that a far wider range of factors are involved – some to do with holders of leadership positions, some to do with others in the organization, and some to do with the relationship between all these and wider society. Leadership can be conceived of as a social process of influence – there are things people can do to enhance specific skills and their ability to cope with situations but the processes and outcomes of leadership remain socially embedded – the result of a complex interaction between a multitude of factors. Thus, who becomes a leader, how they behave, and what they do are all determined as much by social and cultural factors as by any individual characteristics – Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Gandhi and King were all products of their time, place and culture! As we move further into the 21st Century emphasis is turning towards the moral, social and ethical responsibilities of leaders. As corporations become increasingly powerful, so do the leaders who inhabit them – not just on a positional power basis, but also for the potential repercussions within and between communities.
Consider the wider effects of leadership within a pensions company, health organization, manufacturing plant or football club – the potential for economic, environmental and social impact (whether good or bad) is far from contained by the boundaries of the organization. A series of high-profile corporate scandals, increasing disillusionment with business and political leaders, and the failure of many CEOs to deliver what is expected of them raises doubts about the capacity for individual leaders to achieve the continued change in performance sought within their organizations. To maximize the potential of all types of organization it is essential to tap into the creative and leadership qualities of all employees, not just the senior team. The challenges we face, however, won’t just be resolved by calls for “more leadership”.
As discussed in the article on the shadow side of leadership an overdependence on leaders can ultimately be detrimental to employees and organisations in a number of ways. In the article on leadership and performance the evidence implies that in order for leadership and leadership development to be effective they need to form a central part of an integrated strategic, management and human resource process. In the articles on leadership and management and leadership competencies we argue that promoting leadership without reference to management (or vice versa) is meaningless and bears little or no relation to the lived experience of managers within organizations. “Leadership is not a person or a position.
It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.” Ciulla (1998) In response to these challenges, many organizations are beginning to reevaluate their perception of leadership. There is a move away from the heroic notion of the leader “out in front”, to a more collective concept of the “leadership process” – where leadership is a shared responsibility to which everyone makes a contribution. This view, however, should not be considered as grounds for abandoning the notion of ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ (history has shown us that this is an important feature of human groups) but it should encourage us to reconsider the relative importance attributed to each (after all a leader is nothing without followers) and the manner in which such relationships can both benefit and hinder success.
Looking forwards, it is without doubt that the quality of leadership will remain of central importance to organizations in all sectors, much as it has previously. It is also true that much can be done to improve both the way in which leadership is conceived and applied within organizations and how it is developed and integrated with other organizational processes.To conclude I can only say that,“Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.
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