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Leadership Theories and Summary
The following material is a high level summary of twelve
approaches/theories in leadership. Each section covers a
theory/approach to leadership. The sections cover the basic
assumptions, references, diagrams, leadership instruments,
strengths and weaknesses. This summary is based on the
Leadership Theory and Practice, Peter G. Northouse,
Management of Organizational Behavior, Paul Hersey,
In perusing these materials, I did not find a simple answer
or recipe for leadership. As suspected, leadership is a part
of all us at home, in our business, and our community. What
was extremely beneficial to me was that reading through the
various theories, and case studies, I was able to identify
with many of these examples and situations. It had enriched
me with an insight about myself and those I interact with.
Frequently, after reading a paragraph, I would relate a
particular situation or method to a behavior that I or
someone I know was engaged in.
It is that very awareness of both my personal and other
people's behaviors that makes leadership possible. I am the
first to admit that learning about all these approaches to
leadership does not automatically make one a good leader,
but they give a tremendous insight and the possibility to
become a better one.
My own view is that "Leadership
is a process to change or create something from what
otherwise would be chaos.
It must be highly flexible and demands awareness, skills,
and sensitivity. It is highly dependent on situations.
Leadership is being human." In my view, the
combination of the majority of these approaches and theories
is the true leadership theory. They are all equally eye
opening for everyone in the organization.
There are of course distinctions between the concepts of
Management and Leadership. This is however another in depth
discussion. For the sake of this summary, they will both be
synonymous in the upcoming sections with the exception of
the snippet below.
The classical description of management work comes
from Drucker (1973). He has defined five
basic functions of a management job. They are
planning, organizing, controlling, motivating and
coordinating. This is the basis for many later role
Leaders have different roles to accomplish. Maybe the best
known definition comes from Bennis
between a leader and a manager. In his classic “On becoming
a leader” (1989, 44-45) he has written
about the differences of leaders and managers as follows:
- The manager administers; the leader innovates.
- The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
- The manager maintains; the leader develops.
- The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader
focuses on people.
- The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
- The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a
- The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and
- The manager has eye always on the bottom line; the leader
has his eye on the horizon.
- The manager imitates; the leader originates.
- The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges
- The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is
his own person.
- The manager does things right; the leader does the right
It should be clear that leadership can be defined in many
different ways. As you read about theories and research on
leadership in later sections, you will recognize that the
theorists and researchers each had his/her own definitions
of leadership, and that they focus on somewhat different
aspects of the job requirements of a leader. An example of a
theory that is not covered in the upcoming sections, but is
worth noting is the decision tree approach.
decision tree approach
presented by Victor Vroom is focused entirely on whether
leader chooses to make a decision on his/her own or if the
group should be involved in the decision. In this approach,
you ask a series of yes/no questions and based on the
response to each to each branch, the decision tree takes you
to the next question or to a final decision.
The questions of the decision tree involve whether the
leader has the information necessary to make the decision,
whether the decision has quality requirements, whether the
followers have the information necessary, whether they are
likely to accept the decision if the leader makes it alone,
and so forth. The process is designed to help the leader
make or delegate the decision.
This approach clearly focuses on one aspect of leadership
(decision making) This is an example of a contingency theory
One distinction to keep in mind while reading the material
is the difference between
assigned leadership. Many of the approaches and
theories set forth deal with emergent leadership and few of
them talk about the assigned leadership roles.
The self-monitoring scale
The self-monitoring scale was designed to measure the extent
to which a person is sensitive to the expectations of others
in a social situation. It also measures the extent to which
the person is able to shape his or her behavior to match
those expectations. Both the males and females received
varying scores on the self-monitoring scale, but only the
females' scores were related to the number of leadership
nominations they received. The explanation that Gary Odous
came up with goes as follows: The female students were a
distinct minority in the class. Each study group had one or
two females among the seven or eight students making up the
group. The class is offered in the college of business,
where the majority of the students are male. As a result, we
might assume that the subject matter of the class--and
indeed the class itself--might be considered a
masculine-oriented activity. For a female member of the
study group to emerge as a leader, she had to recognize the
masculine demands of the situation and conform her behavior
to those demands. The women who had high self-monitoring
scores were better able to do this than those with low
The Trait Approach
First systematic ways to study leadership in the 20th
century. Focused on what made people "great leaders".
Identified innate characteristics for the "Great Man"
theories such as Lincoln, Gandhi, etc. Research focused on
determining the traits that people are born with (Bass,1990;
During the Mid 20th century, the theory was challenged
(Stogdill,1948) that "no consistent set of traits
differentiated leaders from non-leaders." An individual who
was a leader in one situation might not have been a leader
in another situation. It was re-conceptualized as a
relationship between people as opposed to a set of traits
trait approach emphasizes the personality of the leader.
recent years, there has been a renewed interest. Bryman,
1992; Lord DeVader and Alliger 1986 found that
personality traits were strongly associated with
individuals perceptions of leadership.
Locke and Kirkpatrick 1991, claimed that effective
leaders are actually distinct types of people in several
started with a focus on the traits, shifted to focus on
situations, then shifted back to traits.
good overview was found in
Stogdill, 1948 survey:
Analyzed 124 traits. An individual does NOT become a
leader solely based on possessing these traits. The
traits must be relevant to the situation in which
the leader is functioning. The survey argued that
leadership was determined by the situational factor.
The following differentiated a leader from other
Stogdill, 1974 survey:
Analyzed 163 traits. This survey was more balanced
and argued that that both Personality and
Situational factors were equal determinants of
The following differentiated a leader from other
Drive for responsibility and task
Vigor and persistent pursuit of goals.
Venturesomeness and originality in problem
Drive to exercise initiative in social
Self confidence and sense of personal
Willingness to accept consequences of
decision and action.
Readiness to absorb interpersonal stress.
Willingness to tolerate frustration and
Ability to influence other persons' behavior
Capacity to structure social interactions
systems to the purpose oat hand.
Mann, 1959 conducted similar study which examined 1400
traits. He identified leaders as having strength in the
following: Intelligence, Masculinity, Adjustment,
Dominance, Extroversion, and conservatism.
et al, 1986 reassessed Mann findings and used the
Locke and Kirkpatrick, 1991 contended that "Leaders are
not like other people". They postulated that leaders
differ from non-leaders in 6 traits including: Drive,
desire to lead, honesty, integrity, self-confidence,
cognitive ability, and knowledge of the business.
trait approach and a century of research gives the
would-be leaders a set of traits that they can develop.
Lord, DeVader and
traits that are central to this list are:
Strong verbal ability, perceptual ability, and
reasoning. Research indicates that a leader's
intellectual ability should not vary too much
from the that of his subordinates. In cases
where there is a significant difference, it can
be counter productive.
Ability to be certain about one's competencies
and skills. It includes self esteem, self
assurance and belief that one can make a
difference. This is very important for ability
to influence others.
Desire to get the job done. It includes
initiative, persistence, dominance, and drive.
Leaders exhibiting this are proactive, and have
the capacity to persevere against obstacles.
Honesty and trustworthiness. Adhere to a strong
set of principles and take responsibility for
their actions. Leaders with integrity inspire
confidence in others. They do what they say
there are going to do. They are dependable,
loyal, and not deceptive.
This is leader's inclination to seek out
pleasant social relationships. Friendly,
outgoing, courteous, tactful, and diplomatic.
They are sensitive to others' needs, show
concern, and well being.
How does the trait approach work?
The trait approach focuses exclusively on the leader and not
the followers. It suggests that organizations will work
better if people in managerial positions have designated
leadership profiles. Selecting the "right" people will
increase organizational effectiveness. It is used for
personal awareness and development. When manager analyze
their traits, they gain insight into their strengths and
weaknesses. It allows leaders to get an understanding and
take corrective actions.
is intuitively appealing
has a century of research to back it up
focusing exclusively on leader it has been able to
provide some deeper understanding on how Leader’s
personality is related to leadership process
has given some benchmarks for what we need to look for,
if we want to be leaders.
failure to delimit a definitive list of leadership
has failed to take situations into account
approach has resulted in highly subjective
determinations of the "most important" leadership traits
can also be criticized for failing to look at traits in
relationship to leadership outcomes
is not a useful approach for training and development of
leadership. (The reasoning here is that traits are
relatively fixed psychological structures that limits
the value of training. On the contrary, we could
challenge this assumption concerning at least some
There are many instruments that are used by organizations.
Common personality tests include Minnesota Multiphase
Personality Inventory or the Myers-Briggs Type indicator.
The leadership Trait Questionnaire (LTQ) assesses the
personal leadership characteristics.
The Skills Approach
skills approach emphasizes the capabilities of the
advantage of this approach is anyone can become an
Similar to the trait approach, the skills approach takes
a leader-centered approach except that it focuses on the
skills and abilities instead of the "Personality" traits
which are usually innate.
original research came from the "Skills of an effective
administrator" Harvard Business Review published in 1955
by Robert Katz.
multitude of researched was done in the 1990's by
Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, Jacobs & Fleishman.
identified 3 basic skills based on his observation of
executives in the workplace. Katz emphasized that the
skills tell "What leaders can accomplish" as opposed to
trait which emphasized "Who leaders are". The skills
approach theorizes that leaders can be developed and
Having knowledge and being proficient in a
specific type of work or activity.
Technical skills is not important at lower
levels of management and less important at
Ability to work with things.
Ability to work with people.
Being aware of one's own perspective on issues
and at the same time being aware of others
Leaders adapt their own ideas with those of
Create an atmosphere of trust where employees
can feel comfortable, secure, encouraged to be
involved in planning the things that affect
Ability to work with ideas and concepts.
Works easily with abstractions and hypothetical
Creating visions, strategic plans.
Is most important at top management levels.
Northouse presents the concept of the schema, but he does
not explain it very completely. Cognitive theorists have
constructed the concept of a schema to help explain how we
think, learn, remember, and experience the world. A schema
is essentially a network of ideas surrounding a specific
concept. Such concepts could include mothers, fathers,
bosses, African Americans, Hispanics, and even yourself.
Schemata (the plural of schema) function in a way that
organizes our experiences and allows our information
processing to be efficient. Their affect can be good or bad,
depending on the circumstances.
For example, suppose you meet a new person at work. The
person is African American. Because of your schema about
African American persons you probably assume that you
already know some things about this person. You might,
depending on the nature of your schema, assume that he or
she has rhythm, or basketball-playing skills, or other
characteristics you associate with the concept African
American. You may learn some things about this person that
are not congruent with your existing schema. You may ignore
them, forget them or classify this person as a special
exception to the concept. All of these will contribute to
maintaining the existing schema.
People have a natural tendency to resist changing our
schemata on the basis of new information. For example,
people who are highly prejudiced against African Americans
are likely to be very resistant to change in that schema.
Although a good leader will have a large number of schemata
about different people, his or her schemata are more likely
to be flexible and receptive to new information.
Skills Model -
Mumford and colleges identified a new skills based model
of organizational leadership.
Started in the early 199s with funding from the
DOD. Focused on 1800 army officers representing 6
They attempted to explain "Effective Performance".
They used a "Capability Model" to explain the
relationship between a leader's skills and
The skills model does NOT focus on "what leaders
do", but on the capabilities.
It is composed of 5 different components
Problem solving skills
Ability to solve new, unusual, and ill defined
problems. It includes gathering problem
information, formulate new understandings, and
generating prototypes plans for solutions. These
skills do not work in a vacuum, but in the
organizational context. Leaders must understand
their capacities within the organization.
An example is being the director of Human
Resources for a medium sized company trying to
develop a plan to reduce the costs of healthcare
First - identify full ramifications for
employees changing benefits.
Second - gather information about how
benefits can be scaled back.
Third - Find a way to teach and inform
employees about he change.
Fourth - Create scenarios for how the
changes can be instituted.
Fifth - Look closely at the solution itself.
How will this change affect company's
Last - Are there issues in the organization
that infringe on the implementation of these
Social Judgment skills
Capacity to understand people and social
Working with others to solve problems and
marshal support to implement changes. Similar to
Katz' views, but delineated into the following:
Understand the attitudes others have
towards a particular problem.
This is empathy applied to the problem
solving. Being sensitive to other people
perspective and goals.
Another tem for this is "Social
Having insight into how others within
the organization function.
What is important to others? What
A leader with this skills has a keen
sense of how employees will respond to
any proposed change.
Reacting to others with flexibility.
This is the ability to change one's
behavior in light of an understanding of
others perspectives in the organization.
Being open and non dogmatic
Includes a wide set of skills.
Leaders should effectively be able to
communicate their own vision to others.
Skills of persuasion are essential.
Function as mediators.
Refers to the accumulation of knowledge and the
mental structures used to organize information.
This is called
(summary, diagrammatic representation or
Organized information (schemata) become more
meaningful than the bits that comprises it.
Knowledgeable people are called "experts" and
can process complex information of the
intricacies of a particular field.
General cognitive ability
Simply said, this is a person's intelligence
(fluid intelligence) which includes perceptual
processing, information processing, general
reasoning, creative and divergent thinking
capabilities, and memory skills.
This is linked to Biology and not to experience.
Crystallized cognitive ability
Learned and acquired intellectual ability
Grows continuously and does not fall off win
Model suggests three types of motivation.
Leaders must be willing and motivated to
tackle complex organizational problems. A
person must be willing to lead.
Leaders must be willing to express
Leaders must be committed to the social good
of the organization.
A wide range of traits that can influence
leadership such as Openness, tolerance for
ambiguity, and curiosity.
Skills model theorizes that a leaders'
personality characteristics helps people cope
with complex organizational situations.
These outcomes are strongly influenced by leader's
competencies. When leaders exhibit these competencies, they
increase the chance of problem solving and overall
Effective Problem Solving
This is the keystone in the skills approach.
In voles creating solutions that are logical,
effective, and unique.
This refers to how well a leader did their job.
Standards external criteria are used to measure good
performance such as merit increases, recognitions,
Career experience have an effect on a leader's
ability to solve problems.
Research conducted by Mumford, Harding et al. in
2000 suggests that leaders can be helped by
Challenging job assignments.
Career experiences can also positively affect an
individual characteristics (enhance intellectual
capabilities or motivation)
Leaders learn and develop higher levels of
conceptual capacity if the kinds of problems they
confront are progressively more complex.
According to this theory, leaders can develop and
are not "born leaders"
Represent factors outside the leaders' competencies,
characteristics, and experiences.
Examples include lacking technology, aging factory,
subordinates skills, etc.
How does the skills approach work?
The skills approach is descriptive, describing leadership
from a skills perspective. It provides structure for
The 3 skills approach suggests the importance of certain
leadership skills depending on where the leader are in the
Mumford and colleagues provide a similar but more complex
picture of skills needed for effective leadership. The model
contends that leadership outcomes are the direct results of
a leader's competencies in problem solving, social judgment,
and knowledge. Each contain a large repertoire of abilities.
Environmental influences and career experiences play a
direct or indirect role in leadership performance.
The skills approach provides a map for how to reach
effective leadership in organizations.
is a leader centric model that stresses on the
development of some skills. It conceptualize and creates
a structure of the process.
is intuitively appealing. It makes leadership available
incorporates an expansive view of leadership that
incorporates a wide variety of components such as
problem solving, knowledge, social skills, etc.
capture the intricacies involved in leadership because
it has many variables.
Provides a structure that is consistent with the
curricula of most leadership education programs.
breadths of the approach extend beyond the boundaries of
the leadership (such as motivation, personality,
critical thinking, etc.) This makes it more general and
has a weak predictive value. It does not explain how
variations can affect performance.
claims NOT to be a trait model, but major components of
the model include trait-like attributes like personality
may not be suitably or appropriately applied to other
contexts. The model was constructed by using a large
sample from the military. Can it be generalized?
The approach is relatively new and has not been widely used
in applied leadership settings. Despite the lack of training
on the skills approach, the scores allow individuals to lean
about areas they can seek training in.
There are many questionnaires to assess individual's skills.
They provide a useful self-help, but they are not used in
research because they have not been tested for reliability
and validity. A typical questionnaire is the "Skills
Style approach emphasizes the behavior of the leader. It
focuses on what leaders do and how they act. Researchers
determined that there are two types of behaviors. The
central purpose is to explain how the leaders combine
these two kinds of behavior to influence the
subordinates to reach a goal.
Facilitates goal accomplishment.
Help subordinates feel comfortable with themselves,
with other and with the situation.
There are many studies that have been conducted to
investigate the style approach.
studies were conducted at Ohio State University in the
1940s based on Stogdill's findings.
studies were conducted at University of Michigan in the
1940s to understand how leadership function in small
Other research was conducted by Mouton and Blake in the
early 1960s to understand how managers used
Task/Relationship in organizational settings.
The Ohio State University studies
The analytics were conducted by having a number of
subordinates complete questionnaires about their
leaders and how many times they engaged in a certain
type of behavior.
The original questionnaire (LBDQ) that was used had
1800 describing different behaviors.
A simplified form of 150 questions was given to
hundreds of individuals in Military, educational and
industrial settings. It showed that certain
behaviors were typical of leaders.
Stogdill published a shorthand version in 1963
Researchers found that that there are 2 types of
behaviors for leaders:
This is essentially task behavior such as
organizing work, giving structure, defining
roles, scheduling, etc.
This is essentially relationship behaviors such
as building camaraderie, respect, trust, etc.
The studies showed that these 2 behaviors were
distinct, independent, and on a
A Leader can be high or low on either and the degree
with which a leader exhibited a certain behavior was
not related to the other.
Other studies were conducted to determine which one
makes a more effective form of leadership. In some
contexts, high consideration was found effective, in
other contexts, initiating structure was more
effective. Other research showed that high on both
The University of Michigan studies
Focused on impact of leaders for small groups.
Identified 2 types of leadership behaviors:
Describes leaders behavior who emphasizes the
human side, take an interest in individuals as
human beings, individuality, and personal needs.
This is similar to "consideration behavior"
Refers to the technical aspect of the job.
Similar to "Initiating Structure". Workers are
means to get the job done.
Unlike the Ohio State research, this study
conceptualized that the two behaviors were opposite
ends of the same continuum. This suggested that
leaders who were oriented towards one end were less
oriented towards the other.
After additional studies, it was reconceptualized
that the two behaviors were independent of each
other similar to the Ohio State studies. (Kahn,
Additional studies were made during the 1950s and
60s trying to find a universal theory. The results
were contradictory and unclear (Yulk, 1994).
Some of this research pointed out that leaders who
are high task and high relationship was most
effective. However, it was inconclusive.
Blake and Mouton Managerial/Leadership Grid
Appeared in 1960s and was revised many times in
1964, 78, 85, 91.
Used in consulting for organizational development
throughout the world.
It has been used extensively in organizational
training and development.
The Grid is trying to explain how managers/leaders
in organizations are trying to reach their purposes
through concern for people and concern for
Concern for production:
Achievements and tasks.
Concern for people:
how a leader attends to people, HR, trust,
Made up of 2 axis. Horizontal is leader's concern
for results and vertical is leader's concern for
people. It has a 9 point scale. 1 represents the
minimum. It portrays 5 major leadership styles and
two additional styles.
Heavy emphasis on task and job requirements.
Less emphasis on people except that people
are tools to get the job done.
Subordinate communication is not emphasized
except for the purpose of giving
instructions. Results driven.
The leader in this category is seen as
controlling, demanding, hard-driving, and
County Club Management (1,9)
Low concern for task accomplishment coupled
with high concern for interpersonal
The leaders try to create positive climate
by being agreeable, eager to help,
confronting, and uncontroversial. They make
sure people needs are met.
Impoverished Management (1,1)
Unconcerned with both task and
Acts uninvolved and withdrawn. Little
contact with followers.
The leader maybe viewed as indifferent,
noncommittal, resigned, and apathetic.
Middle of the road management (5,5)
Describes leaders who are compromisers.
Intermediate concern for both task and
A leader may be described as expedient,
middle ground preference, soft pedals
disagreement, and swallows convictions in
the interest of progress.
Team Management (9,9)
Strong emphasis on both task and
Promotes high degree of participation and
A leader in this category can be viewed as
stimulating participation, acting determined
gets issues into the open, makes priorities
clear, follows through, behaves open
mindedly, and enjoys working.
Leaders who use (9,1) and (1,9), but does
NOT integrate the two. This is the
They act gracious for the purpose of goal
They treat people as though they were
disassociated with the task.
A leader who uses any combination of the
basic five styles for the purpose of
This leader usually has a dominant grid
style and a backup style that they refer to
when under stress. Blake & Mouton (1985)
How does the style approach work?
It is not a refined theory that has organized set of
prescriptions for effective leadership. It provides a
framework for assessing effective leadership. It work by
describing to leaders the major components of their
behavior and NOT by telling them how to behave.
It reminds leaders that their actions towards others
are both at the task and relationship levels.
In some situations task behavior is more
appropriate, in others relationship is more
Similarly, some subordinates need leaders who
provide a lot of direction. Others need a lot of
support and nurturance.
The style approach can be easily applied in
organizations. It provides a mirror for managers
helps them understand, how they are performing as a
manager. Leadership (Managerial) Grid has
been widely used in practice in the past. Today it is
commonly seen as an old-fashioned approach
by management development professionals.
It broadened the scope of leadership research to
include the behaviors of leaders and what they
do in various situations
A wide range of studies on leadership style
validates and gives credibility to the basic tenets
The style approach has ascertained that a leader’s
style is composed of primarily two major types
of behavior: task and relationship
The style approach is heuristic: it provides us a
broad conceptual map that is worth using in our
attempts to understand the complexity of leadership.
The research on styles has not adequately
shown, how leaders´ styles are associated with
performance outcomes (Bryman 1992; Yukl 1994)
It has failed to find a universal style of
leadership that could be effective in almost
It implies that the most effective leadership
style is the high task and high relationship
(Blake and McCanse 1991) when the research
findings provide only limited support for a
universal high-high style (Yukl 1994).
Many instruments are available to assess the leader's
style, but the two most commonly used ones are LBDQ
(Stogdill, 1963) and leadership Grid (Blake & McCanse,
1991). This is designed to be completed by the
observers. The leaders themselves complete the LOQ
(Leader Opinion Questionnaire).
Initially, as researchers analyzed the results of both
surveys, they found that the initiating structure scores
and consideration scores were relatively independent of
one another. However, when they tested the
questionnaires in further research, they discovered that
only the LBDQ results seemed to be predictive of work
group outcomes. Apparently, leaders expressed opinions
on the LOQ that their subordinates did not observe or
report on the LBDQ. As a result, only the LBDQ continued
on as a tool for leadership style research.
The Situational Approach
is one of the most widely recognized and used
was developed by Blanchard and Hersey in 1969
Based on Reddin's 3-D management style theory.
was revised a number of times since inception, 1993,
1985, 1977, and 1988
has been used extensively in organizations for training
basic premise is that different situations demand
different kinds of leadership. A leader needs to adapt
his or her style to the situation.
is composed of two dimensions:
assess what type of leadership is needed, a leader must
evaluate the employees and assess how competent and how
committed they are to perform a given task.
Because employees skills and motivation vary over time,
the theory suggests that leaders should change the
degree to which they are directive or supportive to meet
leader must match their style to the competence and
commitment of the subordinates.
Directive Style: Assist group members accomplish a goal
through giving directions, establishing goals, setting
timelines, schedules, defining roles. It is a one way
Supportive style: Help group members feel comfortable
about themselves, their co-workers, and the situation.
It involves two-way communication. Examples include
asking for input, problem solving, praising, and sharing
There are four distinct categories:
S1 -Directing - High Directive, Low Supportive
Leader focuses on goal achievement communication and
less focus on support. Leader gives instructions on how
goals are to be achieved and supervises them carefully
S2 - Coaching - High Directive, High Supportive
Leader focuses on both goal achievement and supportive
communication. Leader gives instructions on how goals
are to be achieved and supervises them carefully. Leader
still owns the final decisions.
Supporting - High supportive, Low Directive
Leader does not focus exclusively on goals, but uses
supportive behavior that brings out the employees skills
around the task. The style includes listening, praising,
asking for input, and giving feedback. It gives the
subordinate the decisions making on a day to day basis.
S4 - Delegating - Low supportive, Low Directive
leader offers less task input and less social support.
They facilitate employees confidence and motivation.
They lessen their involvement in planning, control of
details, and goal clarification. Subordinates take
responsibility for getting the job done as they see fit.
This is concerned with the development levels of
subordinates. This is their degree of competence and
commitment to accomplishing a task. Employees are at the
high development level if they possess the skills and the
confidence to get a task done. Alternatively, they are at a
low development level if they lack the skills, but possess
the confidence to do a particular task.
On a particular task, an employee can be classified into 4
Employees are new to a task or do not know how to do
it, but they are excited about the challenge in it.
Employees have some competence, but low commitment.
Employees who have moderate to high competence, but
Employees who have both a high competence and a high
degree of commitment.
How does the situational approach work?
The approach is centered around the idea that employees move
forward and backward along a development continuum. For
leaders to be effective, they need to diagnose where
subordinates are on the continuum and adapt their style to
it. Leaders can begin by asking questions:
is the task that needs to be accomplished?
complicated is the task?
subordinates sufficiently skilled to do the task?
they have the desire to get the task done?
There is a 1-1 relationship between the Leader styles and
the development levels. Because subordinates move back and
forth, it is imperative that leaders adjust their style.
Subordinates may move between levels either quickly or
The bell curve superimposed upon the larger box is the key
to implementing the situational leadership model. In this
model, it is the situation, or the readiness and development
level of the followers that determines the appropriate
leader style. By erecting a perpendicular line from any
point on the development or readiness scale, we can
determine the appropriate amount of directive and supportive
behavior at the point where the line intersects the bell
curve. If, for example, we were to draw a perpendicular line
directly up from the D1 label in the development box to the
bell curve, it would intersect the curve right about where
the "C" in directing is located. From this position on the
grid, we see that the amount of directive behavior necessary
is at about 80 percent of the maximum, while supportive
behavior is at about 35 percent of the maximum. If we follow
the same procedure for the D2 point on the development
scale, we will intersect the curve at a point just to the
left of the initial C in coaching. In this case, directive
behavior needed is at about 60 percent of the maximum and
the supportive behavior needed is near the maximum at about
90 percent. At the D3 level, directive behavior is still
substantial at about 40 percent, while supportive behavior
is at 90 percent. Finally, the highest level of development,
D4, requires only 25 percent supportive behavior and 25
percent directive behavior. The curve demonstrates that as
followers move from the lowest level of development toward
higher levels, the amount of supportive behavior that
leaders should exhibit first increases at a fairly dramatic
rate and then begins to decrease at about the same rate.
Directive behavior, on the other hand should constantly
decrease at a steady rate.
One of the strengths of the situational leadership model is
that it makes the leader responsible for helping followers
move to higher developmental levels. But leaders must also
be aware that their work situation changes as followers move
to higher developmental levels. In order to continue to be
effective, leaders must learn to modify their own behavior
as the situation changes
The situational leadership model is widely used in training
and development of leaders, because it is
easy to conceptualize and also easy to apply. The
straightforward nature of situational leadership
makes it practical for managers to use. It is applicable in
virtually any type of organization, at any
level, for almost all types of tasks, so there are a wide
range of applications for it. From a practical
point of view it is perhaps the best leadership model so
far. But it is also a product of its own time,
1960´and 1970´s, in which leadership is perceived as being a
is well known and frequently used; it has stood the test
in the marketplace 400/500 fortune 500 companies
is very practical, but still based on sound theories
is prescriptive: it tells you what to do and not to do
in various contexts
emphasizes the concept of leader flexibility
reminds us to treat each subordinate differently
based on the task at hand and to seek
opportunities to develop subordinates.
There have been only a few research studies conductedd
to justify the basic assumptions behind
this approach. Does it really improve performance?
concept of the subordinates´ readiness or
development level is rather ambiguous (Graeff 1997;
how the commitment is conceptualized is criticized
match of the leader style and the followers´ readiness
level is also questioned. Two studies conducted (300
high school teachers, University employees). Performance
of mature teachers was unrelated to the style exhibited
not address demographic variations.
Education, Experience, age, and gender.
Studies conducted by Vecchio & Boatwright in 2002
showed that levels of education were inversely
related to the directive style and not related to
the supportive style.
Age was positively related to the desire for
Female employees expressed desire for more
does not fully address the issue of one-to-one
versus group leadership in an organizational
setting. Example: Would a 20 employees match their style
to each individual or to the overall development level
of the group?
leadership questionnaires that accompany the model have
also been criticized. They are bias because the answers
have been predetermined.
Many similar instruments are available. They provide 12-20
situations where the respo0ndants select the preferred
In their work with leaders, Hersey and Blanchard have
determined that most leaders have some flexibility in the
style of leadership they employ. To measure leadership
style, Hersey and Blanchard developed a tool they called
LEAD. This tool has
two parts. The first is called the
LEAD self, in which
the leader himself responds to a variety of hypothetical
situations. The second part, the
LEAD other, asks co-workers to describe the behavior
of one of their colleagues. The two parts of the LEAD tool
help to paint a clear picture of a manager's leadership
style. A leader may use different styles with different
followers, or he or she may have a main style and a backup
style that comes into play when the main style doesn't seem
to be working. Still, other leaders seem only to have one
main style. Hersey and Blanchard's research focused on
leaders who used two styles. By creating a style profile for
a leader, trainers using the situational leadership approach
are able to pinpoint situations in which a leader may have
some difficulty and can prepare them to deal with those
For example, a leader with an S1, S3 profile works with a
high directive, low supportive style or a high supportive,
low directive style. Such a leader would have difficulty in
working with a group of followers where many are changing
developmental levels by moving from D1 to D2. This leader
might either continue to use the now inappropriate S1 style,
or move directly to the also inappropriate S3 style.
A leader with an S1, S4 profile seems to judge everything on
competence. If workers don't have it and S1, S4 leader will
"ride" the followers and closely supervise their activities.
Once a follower shows job competence, the S1, S4 leader
pulls back showing neither directive nor supportive
behavior. An S2, S3 leader is able to vary the amount of
directive behavior, but maintains a high level of supportive
behavior. An S1, S2 leader is able to vary the amount of
supportive behavior shown, but maintains a high level of
directive behavior. An S2, S4 profile leader shows behavior
which is either high in both directive and supportive
behavior or is low in both. Finally, an S3, S4 leader is
characterized by never showing a high level of directive
behavior but varying his supportive behavior from high to
The Contingency Theory
The theory is concerned with styles and situations.
Many approaches can be called contingency, but the
most widely recognized is Fiedler's in 1964, 1967.
Fred Fiedler from University of Illinois developed
This is a leader-match theory which tries to match
the right leader for the situation.
The approach was developed by studying the styles of
many different leaders who worked in different
contexts, primarily military.
Hundreds of leaders were analyzed who were good and
The LPC (Least Preferred coworker) was developed to
measure the leaders styles. Leaders who score high
or Low are task motivated. The LPC is closely
related to the "Semantic differential scales" (The
measurement of meaning, book).
The LPC scale.
Fiedler thought that how a leader feels about people
he or she works with might be a good indicator of
whether he or she would be effective in dealing with
them. In his earliest work Fiedler actually used two
scales. He asked his respondents to describe both
his or her least preferred coworker and his or her
most preferred coworker. Fiedler then calculated the
difference between the evaluation of the most
preferred coworker and that of the least preferred
coworker. He chose to call the resulting score the
Assumed Similarity of Opposites (ASO) score. Fiedler
later discovered that there was very little
variation in the way the most preferred coworker was
described by most people. On the other hand, the
evaluations of least preferred coworkers varied
quite widely. As a result, the only thing that was
contributing to the results was the least preferred
Task motivated: concerned with reaching a goal
Relationship motivated: concerned with developing close
Leader member relations
Group atmosphere and degree of confidence,
loyalty and attraction that followers feel about
The degree to which the requirements of a task
is clear and well defined.
Well structured tasks give more control to the
Vague and unclear tasks give less control and
A task is considered structured when
The requirements of the task are clearly
stated and structured.
The path to accomplishing the task has few
The completion of the task can be clearly
Limited number of correct solutions to the
An example of a structure task is "Cleaning the
milk machine at McDonald's"
An example of an unstructured tasks is to run a
fund raiser for an organization.
The amount of authority a leader has to reward
or punish employees.
The 3 situational factors determine the
favorableness of the situations.
The most favorable situations are defined by having
a good leader-follower relation, defined tasks, and
strong leader position power.
The least favorable situations are defined by having
a poor leader-follower relation, unstructured tasks,
and weak leader position power.
The theory posits that certain styles be more
effective in certain situations.
Task motivated individuals are more effective in
Very favorable & very unfavorable situations.
Relationship motivated individuals are more
effective in moderately favorable situations.
How does the Contingency Theory work?
By measuring the LPC score and the three variables, one
can predict whether a leader will be effective in a
particular situation. Once the nature of situation is
determined, the fit between the leader and the situation
can be evaluated. leaders will not be effective in all
Contingency theory represents a major shift
in leadership research from focusing only on the
leader to considering the situational context. It’s
lesson has been to emphasize the importance of
matching a leader’s style with the demands of a
situation and wider context. In everyday life we
have noticed that some executives, who may be extremely
successful in one organization, can fail in
another organization with a different culture, values
and way of operation.
The contingency theory has many applications in the real
world. It can explain for example why an individual is
effective or ineffective in a certain situation based
on the various variables. It can also predict whether an
individual was effective in a certain position can be
effective in another.
It is supported by a great deal of empirical
It has forced us to consider the impact of
situations on leaders
It is predictive and provides useful information
regarding the type of leadership that will most
likely be effective in certain contexts
It is realistic in saying that leaders
should not expect to be able to lead
effectively in every situation
It provides data on leaders´ styles that could be
useful to organizations in developing leadership
It fails to explain fully, why individuals with
certain leadership styles are more effective in some
situations than in others. Fiedler calls this a "Black
Box". The theory explains that the low LPCs are
effective in extreme situations is that they feel more
certain where they have control.
The leadership scale, which the model uses, is often
criticized. It does not seem valid on the surface.
It is difficult to apply in practice. It requires
analyzing the leader style and three relatively
complex situational variables.
It fails to explain adequately what organizations
should do when there is a mismatch between
the leader and the situation in the workplace.
The LPC scale is used in the contingency theory. It
measures your style by having you describe a coworker
with whom you have difficulty completing a job. The
scores are indicated by three categories (Low LPC,
Middle LPC, and High LPC). Low LPCs are task motivated.
High LPCs are relationship motivated, and Middle LPCs
Historical overview of the leadership theory
Basketball teams and surveying teams. Based on his study
of the literature on leadership, Fiedler predicted that
people who describe their least preferred coworker in
positive terms would make better leaders. Such people,
he theorized would be able to get along with a wider
variety of people. To test this idea he decided to
measure the LPC of some leaders and correlate their
scores with the success of the group. For this purpose
he needed groups for which a clear indication of success
was possible. He chose boys' high school basketball
teams in the state of Illinois. At the beginning of the
season he went to a number of teams and had each team
member complete the LPC scale. He also asked each boy to
nominate those on the team they liked, those they looked
up to, those they hung out with, etc. These are called
sociometric questions. Using his results, Fiedler was
able to determine who the informal leader of the team
was. At the end of the season he correlated the informal
leader's LPC score with the team's winning percentage
and found a result that surprised him. There was a quite
substantial and statistically significant negative
correlation. The leaders with low LPC scores tended to
be on winning teams. Since he had made the opposite
prediction, he felt it was necessary to replicate those
results before publishing the results. With another set
of high school basketball teams he found the same
results. He replicated the research with three-person
surveying teams from engineering classes, using the
instructor's grade on their practice surveys as his
measure of success. Again he found that low LPC informal
leaders had more successful teams.
Bomber crews are not basketball teams. Convinced that he
had found an important factor involved in leadership,
Fiedler expanded his horizons. He obtained a research
grant to study leadership effectiveness in Air Force
bomber crews. Using very similar techniques to those he
had used with the basketball teams he obtained LPC
scores and bombing run scores for a substantial number
of bomber crews. He tested all crew members, but
correlated the plane captain's LPC score with the crew's
bombing run scores. To his shock and dismay, the
correlation was not significant. Determined to
understand what had happened he tried to determine what
differences existed between the bomber crews and the
basketball teams. He though that one important
difference might be that in the basketball teams the
leaders were emergent, nominated by the team members,
while the plane captains were assigned. Going back to
his data he determined that most plane captains would
qualify as informal leaders using the same criteria he
used with the basketball teams. He then dropped the
captains who did not qualify as informal leaders and
recalculated the correlation. With this selected sub
sample the correlation was now significantly negative,
that is the low LPC captains tended to have crews with
higher bombing run scores. The correlation, however, was
substantially lower than those he had found in his
previous studies. So he began searching for another
difference between bomber crews and basketball teams and
found one. While all the players on a basketball team
must work hard and play together to win games, the same
was not true of bomber crews, at least not on practice
bombing runs. He determined that on a bombing run there
is one key member of the team whose actions determine
how high the score will be. On daylight bombing runs
this was the bombardier, on nighttime runs it was the
The first contingency. Armed with this information
Fiedler began to look at how the dynamics of the
relationship between the captain and his key man might
be involved in the failure to find strong support for
the relationship of low LPC with effective leadership.
Since Fiedler had obtained sociometric nominations from
the bomber crews, he was able to determine how each
captain felt about his key man. Some plane captains had
named a key man as someone they liked to work with and
some plan captains had not named a key man as someone
they liked to work with. Fiedler then divided the sample
up into those captains who felt positively toward a key
man and those who did not. He then correlated the
captains' LPC scores with the bombing run scores within
each of those two groups. The results were striking. In
the group of crews where the captain felt positively
about the key man, the correlation was substantial,
significant and negative. As with the basketball teams,
plane captains in that subsample with low LPC scores had
high bombing run scores and those with high LPC scores
had low bombing run scores. Surprisingly, in the
subsample of crews where the plane captain had not
voiced positive feelings for the key man, the
correlation was significant, substantial and positive.
In that subsample, plane captains with high LPC scores
had high bombing run scores and captains with low LPC
scores had low bombing run scores. In the bomber crews
the relationship between leader's LPC score and team
success was contingent on the kind of relationship
between the captain and the key man on the team.
Fiedler interpreted these results to mean that there was
an optimum distance that needed to be maintained between
a leader and his/her followers. He felt that low LPC
leaders tend to be somewhat distant because of their
basic leadership style. He also proposed that when a
leader nominated a key man as someone he liked to work
with, that leader tended to have a more close
relationship with that man. On the other hand, when the
leader did not feel that the key man was someone he
liked to work with, that leader tended to have a more
distant relationship with that man. The explanation went
as follows. A low LPC leader tends to be somewhat
distant by nature. When this low LPC leader chooses the
key man as someone he likes to work with, the distance
is not increased and they work productively together.
When the low LPC leader does not like to work with the
key man, the distance is further increased to a level
too great for a productive working relationship.
A high LPC leader, on the other hand, tends to maintain
quite close relationships with people because of his
basic nature. When the high LPC leader chooses the key
man as someone he likes to work with, the naturally
close relationship becomes perhaps even closer, too
close for a good leader-follower interaction. In these
conditions the leader may fail to be as critical and
demanding as a leader needs to be in order to get the
best productivity from a follower. When a high LPC
leader does not meet a key man with whom he likes to
work, he creates enough distance to maintain a
productive working relationship. This conclusion
suggests an interesting application. If you are a high
LPC person (that is you describe your least preferred
coworker in very positive terms) then you should try to
work with people you don't particularly like if you want
to be productive. On the other hand if you are a low LPC
person (you describe your least preferred coworker in
quite negative terms) then you should try to work with
people you like and respect. Fiedler abandoned this
social distance interpretation when he developed the
full contingency theory.
The contingency theory. Fiedler and his associates
conducted many research studies on LPC and leader
effectiveness over the next several years. In that
period he discovered two other contingencies that had a
moderating effect on the relationship between LPC and
leader effectiveness. Eventually he arranged the three
contingencies he had found in the manner shown in figure
6.1 on page 111 of the textbook. By dichotomizing each
of the contingencies, he produced eight combinations
arranged in the order shown. As the textbook author
points out, the contingency combinations going from left
to right are considered also to be from most favorable
to least favorable for the leader. Thus we can see that
the most important contingency is leader-member
relations, because a situation with good leader-member
relations is always considered better than a situation
with poor leader-member relations regardless of the
nature of the other contingencies. We can also see that
task structure is more important than leader position
power, since a high structure situation is always better
than a low structure situation regardless of the amount
of position power.
Fiedler then surveyed the research that had been done to
that time using LPC and placed each study into a
category based on leader-member relations, task
structure, and position power of the leader. In seven of
the eight categories there were at least a few studies
relating leader LPC to performance of the group. In the
three most favorable categories on the left (octants 1,
2 and 3) the average relationship was quite
substantially negative and almost all the studies
produced a negative relationship between leader LPC
scores and performance. Surprisingly, in octant 4 (good
leader-member relations, low structure and weak position
power) the relationship shifted in the opposite
direction. In octant 4 the average relationship between
LPC and performance was substantially positive, meaning
that in these conditions high LPC leaders tended to have
groups with high performance and low LPC leaders tended
to have groups with low performance. Nearly all the
studies that fell into octant four produced positive
relationships between LPC and group performance. The
studies in octant five produced results similar to those
in octant four. Fiedler actually had no studies where
the conditions fell into octant six when he first
proposed the contingency theory in 1964. In octant seven
the average relationship between LPC and performance was
positive but low. In octant eight the average swung
quite sharply again. In the conditions of octant eight,
where none of the contingencies were favorable for the
leader, the average relationship was substantially
negative and almost all of the studies produced a
negative relationship. In these worst conditions for a
leader, low LPC leaders were again clearly more
effective in producing results. Subsequent research
predicts which kind of leader is likely to be more
effective for each octant. There is still some doubt,
however, whether a clear prediction can be made for
Fiedler's interpretation of the theory. In his many
publications on the model, Fiedler proposes that the low
LPC leader who is effective in promoting productivity in
both the three most favorable contingency situations
(octants 1, 2 and 3) and the most unfavorable situation
(octant 8) does not behave the same in the favorable and
unfavorable circumstances. He has suggested that all
leaders prioritize what they try to accomplish. For a
low LPC leader, the main focus is goal achievement and
task accomplishment and the secondary focus is building
good relationships and developing followers. The reverse
is true of the high LPC leader. His or her main goal is
building good relationships with the secondary goal of
task accomplishment. In situations which are moderately
to very difficult for the leader, most of his or her
efforts go into promoting the main goal--task
accomplishment for the low LPC leader, and relationship
building for the high LPC leader. According to
contingency theory, in the worst conditions for a leader
(octant 8), working for task accomplishment at all costs
is apparently the best thing to do. In this unfavorable
situation, the low LPC leader shines. In moderately
difficult situations (octants 4, 5 and 6), it appears
that a strong, driving task orientation on the part of
the leader does not work very well. In those moderately
difficult situations, the high LPC leader is more
In the three most favorable contingency situations
(octants 1, 2 and 3), the leader has the luxury of
taking it easy on his/her main goal and putting effort
into the secondary goal. The high LPC leader may press
harder for task accomplishment in these situations
feeling that the goal of relationship development does
not require so much attention. The low LPC leader on the
other hand, backs off from so much pressure on task
accomplishment and puts more effort into relationship
building. Fiedler has indicated that he has evidence
that low LPC leaders engage in more relationship
behaviors than high LPC leaders in these situations that
are favorable for the leader.
The effects of training and experience on leader
effectiveness. Some of the most interesting and
provocative aspects of contingency theory involve ideas
about the effect of training and experience on leader
effectiveness. According to contingency theory, training
and experience allows the leader to give more structure
to his or her work situation. In other words, if a
leader is working in a situation where the task has low
structure, such as octants 3 and 4 and octants 7 and 8,
as he or she gains experience or is given good training
the task becomes more structured. Thus a leader in a
situation like octant 4, with good leader-follower
relations, low structure and weak power, would with
training and experience change to a situation like
octant 2, with good leader-follower relations, high
structure and weak power. At first glance, this should
be a good thing, transforming a moderately difficult
situation into one that is much more favorable for the
leader. But wait. If the leader in question is high LPC,
he or she was likely quite effective working in the
octant 4 situation. Shifting this leader to octant 2,
according to contingency theory, would result in lowered
effectiveness. However, if the leader were low LPC the
shift from octant 4 to octant 2 should increase
In another example, if the leader starts in octant 8,
with poor leader-follower relations, low structure and
weak power, and is able through training and experience
to bring structure to the task, he or she would end up
in octant 6. In this case we would expect improved
performance from high LPC leaders and reduced
performance from low LPC leaders. In other words the
effectiveness of training and experience in improving
leader performance depends on the LPC scores of the
leaders you train and the contingency situation in which
they are now working. This conclusion suggests that in
some situations a little (or a lot) of training can be a
dangerous thing. Fiedler has even suggested that some
leaders be rotated back into more unfavorable
circumstances when their experience has allowed them to
improve the situation by imposing greater structure.
Martin Chemers, at the University of Utah, conducted a
fascinating study that demonstrated the differential
effect of training based on the LPC of the leader and
the contingencies of the situation. The study was
conducted at the height of the Viet Nam war. At that
time students at most universities, including the
University of Utah, felt quite negatively about the
government, the military, and the war. Chemers used Army
ROTC cadets from the university as his leaders. The
study was conducted on days when they would be wearing
their uniforms. The other students in the groups were
not ROTC cadets, creating conditions where the leader
follower relations would likely not be very good. The
task the groups were given was to decode messages. The
groups were not given any training or instruction in how
to go about breaking these codes, guaranteeing that the
task was quite unstructured. Since these groups met in a
lab as volunteers for a psychology experiment and were
given credit for just showing up, the leaders had no
position power over the other group members. The
situation was set up to be an octant 8 combination of
contingencies. Half of the ROTC student leaders were
high LPC based on an earlier test, and half were low
LPC. Finally, half of the ROTC student leaders were
given a short training session prior to the group
meeting on how to go about breaking codes, and half were
given no training at all.
Ordinarily, we would expect all groups whose leaders had
been given training in how to break codes to do better
than all groups whose leaders had not been given any
training. On the other hand, contingency theory says
that in the worst situation for a leader, octant 8, low
LPC leaders should have groups that perform better than
those of low LPC leaders. If the training changed the
situation to octant 6, we would expect the trained high
LPC leaders to do better than the trained low LPC
leaders. This was exactly what happened. The groups with
trained, low LPC leaders solved fewer codes than the
groups with untrained, low LPC leaders. The groups with
trained, high LPC leaders performed better than the
groups with untrained, high LPC leaders. In other words,
the training helped the leader be more effective if he
was high LPC, but made his performance worse if he was
Where does contingency
The situational leadership has passed the test of the
market. It is very popular with organizations but has
very little research validation. Contingency theory has
passed the test of research. It literally grew out of
research relating leadership style with follower
productivity. The contingency model is reproduced in
every organizational and industrial psychology textbook,
but has made very little impact on the leadership
training of business organizations. Fiedler, Chemers,
and others have attempted to apply the theory through
their Leader Match training programs, but these have not
been very popular. The problem seems to be with the
basic idea of how much leaders can change their
behavior. Situational leadership seems to make the
assumption that an intelligent person can easily change
his or her behavior to match the demands of the
situation. All they have to learn is how to diagnose the
development level of their followers. Contingency theory
seems to argue that leaders can't really change. They
are effective or ineffective depending on the situation
they are in and whether it matches their own nature. The
truth of the matter is likely somewhere in between.
Leaders may be able to make some changes in their
behavior, but these changes will be difficult, and
require considerable training and effort. It is also
likely that organizations could benefit substantially
from devoting more attention to matching the styles of
their leaders to the demands of the situation and moving
leaders around to enhance the match.
This is not a leadership theory, but I covered it here
because the path-goal theory was based on it. The Expectancy
theory was designed to explain why there is not a very high
relationship between the offer of incentives in a workplace
and an increase in the effort put forth by the workers
there. Expectancy theory explains the many places where the
connection may be broken.
nature of the incentive. What is offered must be valued
by the person for whom it is supposed to have incentive
value. For example, workers may be told that if they
work hard and perform well they will be promoted to a
supervisory position. Some individuals in the work group
may place high personal value on such a promotion.
Others however, may not want the added responsibilities.
So, the first principle of expectancy theory is that the
incentive or reward must be valued by the individual or
it will not result in greater work effort.
Self-confidence. The worker must believe that if he or
she puts forth increased effort, this will result in the
level of performance specified as necessary to earn the
incentive. Many workers are not sure that if they work
even harder, they can perform at the specified level.
Level of uncertainty about the reward. Many incentives
are offered on a vague or uncertain basis. Workers may
be told that if their performance is up to certain
standards they will become eligible for promotion, for
raises in pay or bonuses. There are usually not enough
promotions so that everyone who is performing well can
be promoted. Often workers do not have faith that effort
and performance level is the primary determinant of who
gets promoted. Raises and bonuses are dependent to some
degree on how well the company is doing economically,
and not just on how well employees are performing. As a
result, the uncertainty about actually receiving the
reward may cause some workers to feel that purring forth
extra effort is not justified by the probability of
receiving the reward.
The bottom line is that a person is likely to put forth
extra effort as the result of an offered incentive only if
that person values the reward highly and has a high degree
of expectation that such increased effort will result in
actually result in receiving the reward. Path-goal theory is
designed to help leaders understand the various things that
may prevent a worker from believing the goal can be reached.
The leader's behavior is designed to help workers believe
they can perform well and that performance will yield many
This theory is about how leaders motivate
subordinates to accomplish goals.
It focuses on enhancing employees performance by
focusing on employees motivation.
It first appeared in the 1970s heavily drawing from
research on motivation based on the works of (Evans,
1970), (House,1971), (House & Dessler, 1974).
The path-goal theory emphasis the relationship
between the leader's style and the characteristics
of the subordinates and work setting.
Based on the expectancy theory, the Path-Goal
theory, assumes that subordinates will be motivated
if they think they are capable of performing
if they believe their efforts will result in a
if they believe that the payoffs for their work
Effective leadership will select the style that
meets the subordinates needs
Choose behavior that supplement or complement
what is missing in the work setting.
Leaders information or rewards to subordinates
to enhance goal attainment (Indvik, 1986)
Leadership motivates when it makes the path to the
goal clear, easy to reach, provide coaching, removes
obstacles, make the work itself personally
satisfying. (House & Mitchell, 1974)
When leaders select the proper style, they increase
the subordinates chance for success and
Path-Goal theory is complex.
The basic principle behind Path-Goal theory
components of the Path-Goal theory
There are four behaviors, but the theory is left
open for inclusion of additional behaviors.
The following 4 behaviors were examined
Similar to "Initiating Structure" or
"Telling" style in situational leadership
A leader who gives instructions about a
task, how is it done, expectations, and the
Resembles "Consideration Behavior".
Being friendly and approachable as a leader,
attending to the well being and human needs
Supportive leaders go out of their way to
make work pleasant for employees, treat them
Refers to leaders who invite subordinates to
share in decision making.
Characterized by a leader who challenges
subordinates to perform work at the highest
This establishes a higher standard of
excellence and seeks continuous improvement.
These leaders show a high degree of
confidence that subordinates are capable of
accomplishing the work.
House & Mitchel suggested that leaders may exhibit
any or all of these behaviors with various
subordinates and in different situations. The leader
is NOT locked into a specific style.
There maybe instances where a leader may use a blend
of different behaviors.
Leader should adapt their behavior to the situation
and the motivation of the subordinates.
The leader behavior itself is contingent on the
other two components of the Path-Goal theory
(Characteristics of the subordinate and
characteristics of the task)
Determines how the leader behavior will be
interpreted by subordinates in a given work context.
Research has focused on subordinate needs for
affiliation, preferences for structure, desire for
control, and self perceived levels of task ability.
The theory predicts that subordinates who have a
style. Friendly and concerned leadership is a
source of satisfaction.
The theory predicts that subordinates who are "Dogmatic
style. This provides psychological structure and
task clarity. These subordinates feel more
comfortable when a leader provide a sense of
certainty in the work setting.
Desire for control
Subordinates with internal locus of control
believe they are in charge of the things that
occur in their life.
Participative style is most satisfying. It
allows subordinates to feel in charge and be
a part of the decision making.
Subordinates with external locus of control
believe that chance, fate and outside forces are
the determinants of life events.
Directive leadership is best because it
parallels the subordinate feelings that
outside forces are in control.
As subordinates confidence of their own
abilities go up, the need for directive
leadership goes down.
Task characteristics have a major impact on the way
a leader's behavior influences subordinates.
The characteristics include
Design of the subordinate task
Formal authority system of the organization
primary work group of subordinates
These characteristics can collectively provide
motivating for the subordinates.
An example is when a situation provides a structured
task, strong group norms, and an established
authority system, the employees will feel as if they
can accomplish the task on their own. Leadership in
these contexts can be seen as unnecessary,
un-empathetic, and excessively controlling.
Other examples that need leadership include tasks
that are repetitive, so leadership can keep the
employees motivated, or ambiguous tasks that may
need leadership to clarify them.
A special focus of the path-goal theory is for
leaders to help remove obstacles. This increases the
odds of the successfully completing the tasks and
increases the employees confidence.
in 1996, House published an additional 8 classes of
behaviors for the Path-Goal theory
Group oriented decision process
Work Group representation and networking
Valuer based leader behavior
The revised theory asserts that effective leadership
need to help subordinates by giving them what is
missing in their environment and by helping them
compensate for deficiencies in their abilities.
Provides guidance and psychological
Need human touch
Mundane and Mechanical
Need for control
Need for clarity
Need to excel
How does the Path-Goal theory work?
The Path-Goal theory is complex, but pragmatic.
It provides a set of assumptions about how
leadership styles will interact with characteristics
of subordinates and tasks and how it affects
The theory provides direction about how leaders can
help subordinates to accomplish tasks.
For tasks that are structured, unsatisfying, and
frustrating, the theory suggests the supportive
The theory suggests that the directive style is best
for the tasks that are ambiguous, unclear
organizational rules, dogmatic, and authoritarian
Participative leadership is also suggested for
ambiguous tasks because it brings clarity.
Achievement oriented leadership is most effective in
settings where subordinates are required to perform
Although the path-goal theory is not applied
in many management training programs, it
brings many interesting perspectives to leadership
thinking. It was one of the first theories to
specify four conceptually distinct varieties of
leadership; not only task-oriented and relationship
oriented leadership. It was also one of the
first theories to explain how task and
subordinate characteristics affect the impact of
leadership on subordinate performance.
It can be applied at all levels within an
It provides a useful theoretical framework for
understanding how various leadership behaviors
affect the satisfaction of the subordinates and
It attempts to integrate the motivation principles
of the expectancy theory into a theory of
leadership. It is the only theory that deals with
It provides a model that in a certain way is very
It reminds leaders of their purpose which is to
guide and coach employees as they move along the
path to achieve a goal.
It is quite complex and tries to incorporate many
different aspects of leadership that make it a
It has received only partial support from the many
It fails to explain adequately the relationship
between leadership behavior and worker motivation
The approach treats leadership as a one-way event
w1here the leader affects the subordinate. It places
a great deal of responsibility on the leader and
less on the subordinates which can make them too
dependent on the leader.
The path-goal questionnaire is the preferred instrument.
The scores represent the four types of behavior and
tells the leader which style they use more dominantly.
Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory
While most theories have emphasized the point of
view of the leader, the LMX theory conceptualize
leadership as a process that is centered on the
between leaders and followers.
LMX theory makes a
between leaders and followers as the focal point of
It was first described in 1975 by Dansereau, Graen,
and Haga. It had undergone several revisions since.
Prior to LMX, researchers treated leadership as
something leaders did towards followers and assumed
leaders treated followers in a collective way as a
group using an average leadership style.
This is based on the vertical dyad linkage (VDL
theory). The focus was on each of the VDLs that are
formed between the leader and each of the followers.
It was determined there are two dyads:
in-groups (extra roles)
out-groups (defined roles)
Subordinates become either part of the in-group or
the out-group based on how well they work with the
leader and how the leader works with them.
Personality and other characteristics are related to
Becoming part of the in-groups involves
subordinates negotiating with the leader about what
they are willing to do to become part of the group.
The activities involve going beyond their formal job
descriptions and the leader in turn does more for
Subordinates that are not interested in taking
different job responsibilities become part of the
Subordinates in the in-group receives more
information, influence, confidence, and concern from
the leaders. They are also more dependable, highly
involved, and more communicative.
Subordinates in the out-group are less involved and
receive less attention and perks from the leader.
They just come to work, do their job and go home.
A shift in focus took place. Early studies focus on
in-groups and out-groups. Later studies focused on
how the LMX theory is related to the organizational
Research determined that high-quality Leader-Member
Less employee turn over
More positive performance evaluations
Higher frequency of promotions
Greater organizational commitment
More desirable work assignments
Better job attitudes
More attention and support from leaders
Faster career progress over 25 years
Organizations prosper from high quality L-M
This is a prescriptive approach to leadership. It
emphasizes that a leader should develop high-quality
exchanges with all of their subordinates rather than
just a few. It attempts to make every employee part
of the in-group.
Leadership making suggests that leader create
partnerships throughout the organization which
benefits the organization at larger as well as their
Graen and Uhl-Bien (1991) suggests that leadership
making develops over time in 3 phases
The stranger phase
Interactions are rule bound.
Relies heavily on contractual relationships
Leader-Member relay to each other within the
described organization roles
Lower quality exchanges similar to the
Subordinate complies with the formal leader
who has hierarchical status for the purpose
of achieving economic rewards.
The motives are directed towards self
interest rather than the good of the group.
The acquaintance phase
Begins by an offer from the leader or the
subordinate for improved career oriented
It involves sharing more resources and
It is a testing period for both leader and
Dyads shift from away from the prescribed
job description and the defined roles.
Leader-Member exchange is improved.
They tend to focus less on self interest and
more on the goals of the group.
The mature partnership phase
This is a partnership.
High quality leader-member exchanges.
High degree of mutual trust.
Respect and obligation toward each other.
Leaders and subordinates are tied together
in a productive way that goes beyond
Schriesheim, Castro, Zhou, and Yammarino
(2001) found that good leader-member
relations were more egalitarian and
influence and control were equally balanced.
How does the Leader-Member
Exchange theory work?
As a whole, it is a very interesting approach to the
leadership process, and it offers us a lot of ideas
to understand better the relationship between a
leader and a follower.
Although, this theory has not been packaged to be
used in training and development, it offer much
insight that managers can use to improve their
The ideas set forth by the LMX theory can be used at
all levels of the organization.
The ideas also apply to creating networks within an
organization and calling upon this network to help
solve problems or advance career goals.
The theory tells us to be fair to all employees, and
to be sensitive.
It works in 2 ways:
It describes leadership
- Highlights the importance of recognizing the
existence of in-groups and out-groups.
The differences on how goals are
accomplished using the in-groups or
out-groups are substantial.
in-group members do more that job
description requires and look for innovative
ways to advance the group. In response,
leaders give them more responsibilities and
more opportunities. Leaders also give them
more time and support.
out-group members operate strictly within
their prescribed organizational roles. They
do what is required of them, but nothing
more. Leaders treat them fairly and
according to the formal contract, but do not
give them special attention. They get
It prescribes leadership -
The authors advocate that leaders should try
to create special relationships with all
Leaders should offer each subordinate the
opportunity to take new roles and
Leaders should nurture high-quality
exchanges with their subordinates.
It is a strong descriptive theory that makes
We may not like it because it is unfair, but it is a
reality that the theory describes.
It is the only leadership theory that makes the
concept of the dyadic relationship the centerpiece
of the leadership process.
It directs our attention to the importance of
communication in leadership.
There is also a large body of research that
substantiates how the practice of the LMX theory is
related to positive organizational outcomes. It is
related to performance, organizational commitment,
job climate, innovation, organizational citizenship
behavior, empowerment, procedural, distributive
justice, and career progress.
On the surface it runs counter to the basic human
value of fairness.
The existence of in-groups and out-groups may have
undesirable effects on the group as a whole. Our
culture repels the discrimination of age, gender,
etc and this theory awakens the discrimination
Questions have been raised regarding the measurement
of leader-member exchanges in this theory. The
measurement scale lacks content validity.
The basic ideas of the theory have not been fully
developed. It does not explain how the high-quality
leader-member exchanges are created. It mentioned
that personality compatibilities are key to these
high-quality exchanges, but never went in depth
about the details.
The LMX-7 provides a reliable and valid measure of the
quality of leader-member exchanges. It is designed to
measure respect, trust, and obligation.
The Team Leadership theory
This approach has become one of the most popular and
rapidly growing areas of leadership today.
Teams are organizational groups who are
interdependent, share common goals, and must
coordinate activities to reach their goals.
The study of groups began in the 1920s and 1930
(Porter and Beyerlein, 2000) with focus on human
relations. The focus shifted to "group dynamics" in
the 1940s. The focus shifted again in the 1950s
moved to sensitivity training and T-Groups. In the
1960s/70s, the focus shifted to developing team and
leadership effectiveness through intervention. Due
to competition from Japan in the 1980s, the focus
shifted to quality teams, benchmarking and
improvement. In the 1990s, while still focused on
quality, shifted to global perspective.
The organizational team structure is one way
organizations today can respond to adapt to the
rapidly changing workplace conditions (new
technology, global economy, economic competition,
and increasing diversity).
Current research I focused on practical problems and
how to make teams more effective.
Effective team leadership is the primary ingredient
of team success (Zaccaro, Ritman, & Marks, 2001).
Ineffective leadership is the primary reasons why
teams fail to develop, yield improvement, and
The organizational structure of excellent
companies has changed from a functional and
matrix organization into a process and team
organization. Teams are important performance and
learning units in organizations today. Team
work should enable the company to offer
better customer service, improve the efficiency
of internal processes and improve the motivation
of personnel. It should be remembered that a
team is a means of operation, not a goal
itself; it should always be evaluated, if team
work is the best way to achieve the objective.
Moving over to team work is a lengthy
development process itself, which needs a lot of
training. A working group needs time to develop
through different phases of being a pseudo-team,
potential team and real team (Katzenbach & Smith
1994, 84). Nevertheless, the use of organizational
teams has been found to lead to greater
productivity, more effective use of resources,
better decisions and problem solving, better
quality product and services and increased
innovation and creativity (Parker 1990).
Organizing and leading teams, rather than groups
engaged in working together to manufacture or sell a
product, has proved challenging. Organizations that
are able to make teams work have a significant
advantage in the world market.
The team leadership and the team leadership model do
not compose a theory that makes predictions and is
tested by research. This discussion is more of an
attempt to highlight the special problems and
difficulties that exist in the leadership of teams.
It identifies places to look when problems arise in
working with a team and gives a new team leader some
guidelines as to how she or he could analyze and
approach the task at hand.
Leader roles in the various team structures.
The "Functional Model" of the team Leadership
Early scholars identified two critical functions of
Help the group accomplish its task. (Team
Include solving problems, adapting to
changes, making plans, achieving goals.
Keep the group maintained and functional. (Team
Include developing positive climate, solving
interpersonal problems, satisfying members'
needs, and developing cohesion.
The current focus of research is on "teams" as
opposed to "groups". It also focuses on the effect
of the environment on the teams.
Effective leadership helps the team balance the
internal and external demands.
developed a model for team leadership that looks at
Monitoring versus taking actions
Focus on internal group issues versus external
The functions within this model of leadership does
not require that the leader alone carries the
responsibility of execution, but experienced members
within the team itself can also share these
leadership behaviors as well.
The key assertion of the functional model is that a
leader needs to do whatever in order to take care of
any unmet needs of the team. If the team members are
taking care of most of the needs then the leader has
to do very little.
The functional model is a practical approach that is
designed primarily to answer "What functions does
the leader perform to help the group be more
The leader is the one who processes information
(Barge, 1996). They essentially help the team
develop an organizing framework or set of
procedures. This structure help both the leader and
teams members interprets information, make
judgments, and take action for the good of the
Effective team performance begins with the leader's
of the situation. The mental model reflects not only
the components of the problem confronting the team,
but also the environmental and organizational
contingencies that define the larger context. Here
the leader develops a mental model of the what the
team problems are within the current context. The
leader needs to be behaviorally flexible.
To develop an accurate mental model, a leader needs
to monitor both internal and external environments,
continually gather information, reduce equivocality,
provide structure, and overcome barriers.
There are two phases to monitoring (defined by
Fleishman et al., 1991)
Information search: seek out information
Information structuring: Analyze, organize, and
All members of the group can be engaged in
monitoring (information search and structure)
In addition to information gathering, there is also
taking the 'right' action.
Action mediation is at the heart of leadership
because it involves selecting from among competing
courses of actions and helping the group create a
system of organizing that allows the team to make
quality decisions. (Barge, 1996)
There are two skills for actions mediation
Ability to facilitate decision making and task
accomplishment. (Task/Team Performance)
Ability to manage interpersonal relations (Team
Team leaders must learn to be open and objective
about diagnosing the team problems and skillful at
selecting the most appropriate actions to help
achieve the team goal.
Characteristics of effective teams
Teams are judged on their performance outcomes and
Researchers began to study organizational work teams
t better understand what makes them effective or
ineffective (Hackman, 1990; Hughes, Ginnett &
Curphey, 1993; LaFasto & Larson, 2001; Zaccaro,
The following criteria were suggested by Hackman and
Walton in 1986 as necessary for effectiveness of
Clear, engaging direction.
An enabling Performance situation.
A group structure that foster competent task
An organizational context that supports and
Available, expert coaching and process
Adequate material recourses.
Larson and LaFasto (1989) conducted research that
included 6000 team members and 600 leaders from
various industries. They found that regardless of
the type of team, there were 8 characteristics that
were associated with team excellence.
Clear, elevating goals
Team goals need to be very clear to easily tell
if objectives have been realized.
Team can fail due to vague goals or if other
things replace or shadow the goals such as
personal agendas, or power issues, etc.
Leaders need to keep the team focused on the
Teams need to have the best possible structure
in order to accomplish their goals.
Top management for example deal with power and
influence, task forces deal with ideas, customer
service teams deal with clients, production
teams deal with technology, etc.
Problem solving team such as task force need
to have a structure that emphasizes 'trust'
so that everyone contributes
Creative teams need to have a structure that
emphasizes autonomy to that everyone can
Tactical teams such as an emergency room
team need to have a structure that
Competent team members
Groups should be composed of the right number
and mix of members to accomplish the tasks.
Members need to be provided with sufficient
information, training and education.
Team members need to not only be able to do the
job, but to be able to collaboratively work
Team need to develop a sense of unity and
This can be developed by involving team members
in all aspects of the process (Larson & LaFasto,
Trust based on honesty, openness, consistency,
and respect seems to be essential for building a
Members should feel free to compensate for one
another, take risks, listen to each other, be
focused on the problems, and listen to each
The cause of team failures may reside not only
in member inability, but also in their
collaborative failure to coordinate and
synchronize their individual contributions
Standards of excellence
It is important to setup standards of excellence
within a team for their processes. This will
pressure the members to perform at their highest
levels. The standards need to be clear and
The team leader can facilitate this process by:
Requiring results - making expectations
Reviewing results - providing feedback to
resolve performance issues.
Rewarding results - Acknowledge superior
Leadership is central to the team effectiveness
(Zaccaro, 2001). It affects the team through
four sets of processes:
Cognitive - Helps the team understand the
problems facing the team.
Motivational - The leader helps the team
become cohesive and capable of setting high
performance standards and accomplishing
Affective - Helps the team handle stress
circumstances by providing career goals,
assignments and strategies.
Coordination - Leader coordinate team
activities by matching skills with roles.
A common mistake is to give organizational teams
challenging assignments, but no organizational
support to accomplish these assignments
The best goals do not mean much if you don't
have money, equipment, or supplies to accomplish
Leaders can reduce the effectiveness of their team when
they are unwilling to confront inadequate performance,
when they dilute the team's ability to perform by having
too many priorities, and by overwhelming the positive
aspects of team performance. Effective leaders perform
the following behaviors:
Keeps the team focused on the goal
Maintains a collaborative climate
Builds confidence among members
Demonstrates technical competence
Team Leadership Model
Hill (2001) has also developed a model for team
leadership. The model attempts to integrate what
we know about teams, leadership and effectiveness and to
provide specific actions (Mental roadmap) that leaders
can perform to improve team work. Effective team
leaders need a wide repertoire of competencies,
which can be different than traditional leaders
need. Team leaders and members could use the model
to support decision-making about the current state of
the team and to consider what specific actions they
need to take to improve the team´s functioning. The
model should offer a cognitive map to analyze the team
The model demonstrates the mediation decisions that a
leader must make?
- Whether monitoring or action taking is the most
appropriate for the issue at hand.
- If an action course is needed, then the leaders
asks what level of team process needs leadership
attention? Is it internal, external, team issues,
- Determine the most appropriate function or skill
to be performed in the intervention. Actions must
be carefully selected based on the situation.
There are three sets of skills that a leader need to
Internal task leadership functions (this is to
improve Task Performance)
Goal focusing (clarifying, gaining agreement)
Structuring for results (Planning, organizing,
clarifying roles, delegating)
Facilitating decision making (informing,
controlling, coordinating, mediating,
synthesizing, issue focusing)
Training team members in task skills (Educating,
Maintaining standards of excellence (Assuming
team and individual performance, confronting
Internal relationship leadership functions (this is
to improve Team Relationship)
Coaching team members in interpersonal skills.
Collaborating (including, involving).
Managing conflicts and power issues (Avoiding
confrontation, questioning ideas).
Building commitment and esprit de corps (being
optimistic, innovating, envisioning,
socializing, rewarding, and recognizing).
Satisfying individual member needs (trusting,
Modeling ethical and principled practices (fair,
External environmental Leadership functions (This is
to improve environmental interface with the team) -
Teams do not exist in a vacuum.
Networking and forming alliances in environment
(gather information, increase influence).
Advocating and representing team to environment.
Negotiating upward to secure necessary
resources, support, and recognition for the
Buffering the team member from environmental
Assessing environmental indicators of team's
effectiveness (surveys, evaluations, performance
Sharing relevant environmental information with
How does the Team
Leadership theory work?
Leaders can use this model to help them make
decisions about the current state of their teams and
realize what actions they need to take to improve
the team's functioning in order to achieve
The model provides the leader with a cognitive map
to identify group needs.
The model helps the leader make sense of the
complexity of groups and offer practical
The model helps the leader understand whether they
need to monitor or take actions.
Helps the leader distinguish between internal and
The model helps point the way to constant team
Research suggests that team leaders overestimate
their effectiveness on the dimensions of leadership.
They score themselves much higher than group
members. By comparing scores by the leader and
members, the leaders can determine which dimensions
of team or leadership are in need or improvement.
It focuses on real life organizational work teams
and the leadership needed therein. This has not been
the focus of other approaches.
It provides a practical model that helps leaders to
design and maintain effective teams especially when
performance is below standards.
It takes into account the changing role of leaders
and followers in organizations.
It can help selecting team leaders by clarifying the
competencies which an effective team leader
will need. It can help in the process of selecting team
It is a new approach, and it is not completely
supported or tested by research. Would the model
hold true in the new technology connected virtual
Although the theory takes into account the
complexity of teas, it is complex in and of itself.
It does not offer on the spot answers for specific
It is still more like a framework, but
doesn’t offer clear answers to specific
situations for the team leader.
It doesn’t either offer clear instructions how to
focus team leadership training.
Several instruments are available, but Larson & LaFasto,
1989 have developed a survey after studying many
excellent organizations teams. Their research has
demonstrated 8 criteria or factors that are consistently
associated with high performing teams. The team
excellence survey contains more than 40 questions across
the 8 factors to diagnose the team performance. The team
members are given the survey, their results are averaged
and compared against the leader's answers.
Ernest L. Stech brings together several different
attempts to apply psychoanalytic theories to social
relationships, including leadership.
This approach consists of bits and pieces borrowed
from a number of scholars and practitioners.
The psychodynamic approach to leadership
developed from the methods dealing with
emotionally disturbed individuals and from
psychological theories of personality
development. The psychodynamic approach to
leadership has its roots in Sigmund
Freud´s (1938) development of
psychoanalysis. Carl Jung, one of Freud´s
well-known disciples, developed his own
body of psychology, which is well accepted
even today, whereas classical
psychoanalysis has found less acceptance in
recent years (Bennet 1983). Maslow (1962, 1971)
and Rogers (1961) could maybe be mentioned
here as humanistic psychologists to represent
the psychological theory of personality
development. A leading proponent to
psychodynamic approach has been Abraham
Zalenick (1977). At the moment the most
well-known expert in this area is certainly
Manfred Kets de Vries (2001). One branch of
psychodynamic theory is called psychohistory,
which attempts to explain the behavior of famous
historical figures (see eg. Kets de Vries 1999).
The psychodynamic approach places emphasis
on leaders obtaining insight into their
personality characteristics and understanding
the responses of subordinates, based on
their personalities. Leaders should also
encourage work group members to gain insight
into their own personalities so that they
could understand their reactions to the
leader and each other. Important concepts
in psychodynamic approach to leadership include
e.g. the family of origin, individuation,
dependence and independence, regression and the
shadow self. These concepts come from
psychoanalysis and psychiatry and can sometimes
be abstruse and not easily understood. That is
the reason that there has been attempts to make
psychodynamic theory more accessible.
There are several fundamental propositions
underlying this approach.
Leaders are more effective when they have an
insight into their own psychological makeup.
Leaders are more effective when they understand
the psychological makeup of their subordinates.
This approach makes no assumptions about
personality characteristics or styles. It
emphasizes that a leader should have an insight
into his or her emotional responses and habitual
patters of behavior. An authoritarian leader, as
an example, can be effective if she understands
that her own behaviors arise from influences in
the past. It is also better if the leader also
has an understanding how their behaviors result
in different responses.
An important assumption is that the personality
characteristics of individuals are deeply
ingrained and virtually impossible to change.
The key is acceptance of one's own personality
feature and quirks and the understanding and
acceptance of features and quirks of others.
The emergence of this approach has its roots in the
works of Sigmund Freud, 1938. He was followed by
Carl Jung who developed the Jungian psychology.
The roots are in the individual and family.
Our first experience of leadership was when we were
born. Mom and dad were our leaders.
Based on the childhood experiences, some people
respond and respect authority figures, others rebel.
Abraham Zaleznik (1977), a management professor at
Harvard is a leading proponent of this approach. He
is also behind much of the work on the charismatic
Important Concepts in the Psychodynamic approach
Family of Origin
Underlies any understanding of the behavior of
Each of us begins our life into a family of two
parents and one or more children (Today, there
are many more single parent homes)
The child begins life as a very self centered
being, more animal than human.
The parents role in the early infancy is to meet
the child's needs.
In one sense the parent has control over the
child, but the child also has an equal degree of
Such total dependency can take place in
leadership situations. The leader takes total
responsibility for the subordinates
Maturation or individualization
The child becomes more independent of the
parents with time. Though the child drifts away
from the parental home, they still carry a
parent inside "Parent Within" or conscience
that is constantly supervising, Analyzing, or
The individualization is the process of a child
as they step into adolescence, they become
unique and different from each parent. A child o
the other hand is attached to their parent with
a psychological umbilical cord.
Two key issues in the individualization process.
The relationship to authority figures.
Highly authoritarian parent can induce
either a very submissive or very
resistant attitude in a child.
A Laissez-Faire can create a confused
child who has trouble defining
boundaries and limits.
Responses to authority figures just
happen. They are not rational.
Intimacy and openness
Parents range along a continuum of
kindness, tenderness, and nurturance.
As an adult, one may continue the style
of the parent or rebel and choose the
A nurturing leader can produce feelings
of warmth and even love in a
Dependence and Independence
A leader's style results from the models of
leadership exhibited by parents, teachers,
coaches, and other adults during the maturation
Followers are more likely to react to an
authoritarian leaders. Psychodynamic ally, an
individual may react in a
Dependent - Self explanatory.
Counter dependent - rebelliousness,
Independent manner - The subordinate
assesses leadership attempts and looking at
the situation objectively. The team member
decides if the directive is ethical,
reasonable, practical, etc.
Repression and shadow self
This approach relies on the "Depth Psychology"
or subconscious. Most other leadership theories
are based on the behavior or conscious
Repression: The concept of repression is putting
in deep recesses of the mid those thoughts and
feelings that are not deemed acceptable by
Shallow: Introduced by Jungian psychology. The
shadow self is part of the personality that is
unacceptable and consciously denied existence or
expression. The shadow self is often evident to
others although denied by the self. The only was
in which we can be aware of our shadow self is
to solicit perceptions of ourselves from others.
This is a strong pattern in the human psyche
that persists over time. It is a template of
human behavior and belief.
Pearson (1989, 1991) setup 6 archetypes. Pearson
asserts that the archetypes are not encountered
in a straight line or by everyone. People can
get stuck in one of the archetypes. Most people
cycle back and forth.
Exists before the journey
Moves out of the home/comfortable
territory into the world.
Devotes time and energy to the welfare
Goes out into battle such as the
professional on the road to success in
This is not always attained by
Seeks success for self
Seeks success for the team
Want to be seen as strong and aggressive
Wants to be seen as solid and centered
Destroys and conquers competitors
Motivated by competition. Adapts ideas from
Worries about and denies failure
Learns from failure; moves on.
Celebrates successes; Grieves failures.
Works for status and Money
Work is it own reward
Accumulates money and resources
Believes there is enough for everyone; make
do with the minimum.
The warrior and the magician archetypes are
concerned with leadership.
is the stereotype embodying the goals of
strength and effectiveness. Hen faced with
danger, the warrior attacks. The wanderer flees,
and the martyr sacrifice self for others. The
warrior is competitive and goal oriented. The
warrior imposes his/her will on others. The
warrior is controlled (poker face) and repress
most feelings and works for material reward. The
warrior want to be seen as confident and
is the stereotype. It represents the notion of
changing the lesser into the better. It is about
transformational. Someone in the magician mode
has gone beyond the aggressive and competitive
mode of the warrior. They establish mutuality in
the relationship with subordinates. The magician
accepts and understands emotional responses.
They strive to achieve the team goals through
the rule, regulations and norms of an
organization. Monetary or status gains are
secondary. This archetype was divided into two
types by Maslow
(Deficit): A person who does not have the
money, status, resources, or power and is
motivated to get them.
(Being): This person as all of the above and
is freed to be concerned about others, the
team, and the organization.
A popular psychodynamic model created by Eric Berne
(1961). There are 3 ego states:
Critical - Judgmental, faultfinding, and
Nurturing - Kind, gentle, and loving.
Playful: Adaptive and dependent.
Rebellious: Counter dependence subordinate.
: As people mature, they operate out of this
adult ego state. This is the ability to do
reality testing. People operating out of the
adult state, make tentative decisions, and use
trial and error to find out hat to do. It also
incorporates both the
ego states when needed.
psychodynamic technical term. This means that each
person cathects or pulls out the other person
matching response pattern. A leader who behaves in a
parent ego, will cause a subordinate to behave in
child ego and vice versa.
A good leader will make every effort to operate out
the adult ego state. The leader's responsibility in
this approach is to bring issues out into the open
so that they can be discussed.
How does the
Transformational theory work?
It is a life long endeavor.
There are many books, seminars, workshops on the
A self assessment by Pearson helps the individual
determine which archetype predominates their life at
The basic principle is that a leader who understand
their style is more effective. Even more important
however, if the leader understands where their style
came from (their origins).
The psychodynamic approach brings an important
aspect to leadership by emphasizing our past
experiences, unconsciousness, feelings,
self-understanding and personality types. Also the
transactions and the Cathecting process are important to
The approach works because people become aware of each
other types and thus the differences are brought into
the open where people can discus them.
It emphasizes the relationship between the leader
and the follower, a transaction between these two
persons. It results in an analysis of the
relationship between them.
The universality of this approach. Presumably are
applicable across cultures.
It emphasizes also the need for personal insight on
the part of the leader and also the follower.
It discourages manipulative techniques of
leadership. Effective leadership is based on self
understanding and empathy.
It encourages the leader to pursue a course for
personal growth and development.
This approach is based on clinical observations and
treatment of persons with serious difficulties.
The subjective nature of the findings of clinical
psychologists (also the cultural biases).
Psychiatrists and their patients for the most part
have been white, at least middle class, with a
Early work in psychodynamics was based on the
traditional two-parent family origin. Divorce and
remarriage create a set of complex relationships.
It does not take into account organizational
It does not lend itself to training in any
There are a lot of psychological tests which you can use
as a tool to improve your self-knowledge.
One of the most used ones is the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator based on Jung´s psychological types
(Kroeger and Thuesen 1992). There are four dimensions
of personality types, which are
extrovert vs. introvert, sensor vs. intuitor,
feeler vs. thinker and perceiver vs judger. As a
result of these dimensions there are altogether 16
potential personality types. It can be very useful to
know your own personality type. Sharing the
leader’s personality type and those of the team
members is assumed to improve understanding among the
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, (http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm)
is the most widely used instrument for helping members
of organizations gain insights into their inner selves.
There are some problems with this and other similar
measures. The first is the idea of types. In the early
history of psychology, researchers and theorists spent a
great deal of effort in attempting to measure
personality types. A type means that there are
categories into which people can be successfully
grouped, without a great deal of overlapping between
groups. In fact, virtually every psychological scale
that has been developed results in a bell-shaped curve
of scores. Most scores are bunched near the mean or the
median and there are fewer and fewer scores as you go up
the scale to higher scores or down the scale to lower
scores. This bell-shaped curve means that when you try
to use the scores to make up non-overlapping groups you
run into trouble. A second problem with types is the
assumption that once you have placed an individual into
a group, that individual has all of the characteristics
you tend to attribute to the group and none of the
characteristics that apply to members of other groups.
We will see in the next lesson the problems this has
created associated with the concepts of sex and gender.
We need much more research showing that applying a
Myers-Briggs type to an individual and to those he or
she works with really results in their being better able
to work successfully together.
Another assumption made with the Myers-Briggs test (http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm)
is that since the person taking the test is responding
from their conscious mind, a low score in a certain area
indicates that this area is a strong dynamic in the
shadow self. This essentially means that an individual
is really the opposite of what he or she thinks. Again,
we need a lot more research before we can accept this
principle at face value.
Women and Leadership
Gender refers to way in which meaning and evaluations
are associated with sex by members of a culture.
degree with which Males and Females are expected to
behave differently, treated differently, and are valued
differently has little to do with sex (biology) and
everything to do with gender (learned beliefs)
Learned beliefs can easily be misleading when there are
only two categories in a set (female/male or
masculine/feminine). There are three cognitive
distortions with bi-polar categories.
People's thinking become simplified because of the
belief that everyone must fit into a specific
The categories also seem to imply that everyone
within a category is identical.
Many people erroneously tend to value one category
as more superior than the other.
Although many executives and managers refer to believe
that organizations are objective about merit and gender
neutral, the data from research shows that most work
places use gender as the basis for many decisions (Hale,
Ongoing research has indicated continued dilemmas for
women leaders who seek to balance work demands with
personal life (Ensher, Murphy, Sullivan, 2002)
application of this section has three benefits
Can help organizations that have experienced
difficulties in retaining women.
It can inform women of what they need to do to
develop as leaders.
It can inform men of the subtle patterns enacted
everyday in the work place that impedes progress.
study found that males did well under cooperative
conditions while females did well under competitive
conditions. The female participants were more concerned
with the feelings of other participants than the males
were. The females spent more time and effort to get to
know the others in their groups and perhaps felt that
those interpersonal relationships were more important
than the game and its outcomes. But why, you might ask,
did this make them less able to cooperate with each
other. The answer lies in the nature of the game.
Winning may be more important to males than to females,
whether it is as a group over other groups or as an
individual over others in the group. In order for the
group to effectively cooperate it was necessary that
uncooperative behavior be stopped quickly. When working
together to solve a problem under time pressure, males
are pretty good at suspending concern for feelings and
focusing on the task. Females on the average are less
willing or able to do that. There is a general belief
that women are more likely than men to adopt a
participative or democratic style of leadership. Women
seem to prefer working in cooperative situations rather
than competitive ones.
Overview of research trends
Researchers over the past 20 years, have focused on three
Can women be leaders?
The answer of course is, Yes. Some interesting
135 Million people employed in the US. 46.6% are
Women earned .76 cents for every dollar earned
by men in 2001.
Women filled `5.7% of corporate officer
including 7.1% of CFO, 16.1 of general counsels.
5.2% of top-earning corporate officers were
filled by women.
12.4% of seats held in Fortune 500 corporate
6 Female CEO for Fortune 500 companies and 11
female CEOs of Fortune 500 & 1000.
44% of small businesses in US (20.4 million) are
owned by women.
5% of venture capitalist and 3% of government
contracts are awarded to women owned businesses.
12% of state governorship. 13% in US Senate. 14%
of US House of representatives.
In 1998, Fortune profiled 50 women leaders.
African American women currently represent the
largest group of color in management positions
and are surpassing African American Men in
Women inclusion in leadership has increased over
the last few decades, but does not reflect their
overall proportion of labor force.
Enhanced Productivity, competitive advantage,
and financial performance, are three of the
reasons why developing and promoting women
leaders are in the best interest of employers.
(Barney, 1997) - Capacity to optimize the use of
the internal resources.
Underutilized women and people of color are
major sources of untapped value that can enhance
organization's creativity, change efforts, team
work, and financial performance (Appold,
Siengthai & Kasarda, 1998)
Do male and females differ in their behavior and
effectiveness in organizations?
The purpose of this question shifted many times.
Sometimes to research equality, other times is to
understand impact of gender on leadership.
Recent research has used meta-analysis (set of
statistical procedures that for analyzing all
studies to determine the overall trends)
Meta-Analyses in the last 15 years indicate that
assuming differences in behavior, cognition could
lead to erroneous conclusions. A Meta-Analyses of
160 studies concluded that there is only one
difference (Women used a more participative or
democratic style and less autocratic or directive
style than men did.)
Both Men and Women emphasized task accomplishment
when the setting was numerically dominated by
leaders of their own sex.
82 studies did not found that females and males did
not differ in effectiveness. (Dobbins & Platz, 1986;
Donnell & Hall, 1980; Powel, 1993)
Another meta-analysis found that female and make
leaders are evaluated differently (Eagly, Makhijani,
& Klonsky, 1992) which affect the impact of
Both Female and Male leaders were evaluated
equally favorably when they used a
stereotypically feminine style (democratic )
Only female leaders were evaluated unfavorably
when they used a masculine leadership style
(Autocratic or directive)
Women were particularly devalued when they
worked in a male dominated setting.
Another study found that females and males leaders
The length of time they need to go to get
The need to adapt their behavior at work
Amount of support they tend to receive at work
The impact of family variables on career
A theory based on sex differences in social behavior
(Eagly, 1987) proposes that people are generally
expected to engage in activities and actions
congruent with their culturally defined gender
Comparison of leader roles favored men over women
when three conditions were true:
When the setting was male dominated (especially
When a high percentage of subordinates were
When the role was seen as more congenial to men
in terms of self assessed competence, interest,
low requirement for cooperation, high
requirement for control.
Comparison of leader roles favored women over men
when these three conditions were reversed. In
addition, women leaders were favored in middle
management in business, education, and government or
social services. Men were favored in entry level or
supervisory positions especially in the military.
Eagly (1992) concluded that leadership roles maybe
defined in a more masculine or feminine fashion
depending on the organizational context of
management. Across most sectors of the economy other
than the military, women's effectiveness increased
as they moved up the hierarchy and as cooperation
rather than control was required.
Three recent studies by Advanced Teamware, inc.
conducted a study where 6000 people completed a
questionnaire about 915 middle-upper managers. Of
the 31 areas examines, women outperformed men in 28
including conflict resolution, work quality,
adaptation to change, productivity, idea generation,
and motivation of others. Men handled pressure and
coped with frustration better than women did. Both
groups scored equally on delegating authority.
Another study by (Saville & Holdsworth in New
Zealand) conducted a study of 3000 managers. They
found no differences on 30 attributes analyzed.
However, they found that women emphasized planning
and organizing work and an empathic approach. They
placed less emphasis on the need to win at all
Generally speaking, women leaders tend to be more
participative and less autocratic, more effective in
middle management, and in situations requiring
Why do so few women leaders reach the top?
There are three common explanations.
"Women absence from executive positions is a function of
not having been in managerial positions long enough for
natural career progression to occur.". There is data to
"Women lack general management or line experience"
(Ragins et al, 1998). There is data to support this
explanation. However, there are other studies that shows
that top executives were not distinguished from middle
management by their line experience, but by the breadth
of positions and departments they worked in. The study
also found that the longer managers served in line
positions, the less likely they move into top
"Women leaders are themselves the problem. They are
either less suited for executive demands rather than
men, unavailable because so few are sufficiently
qualified, or lacking in self confidence. (Morris,
1998). This has been refuted by a large number of
Recent studies have found that women's slow progress to the
top have been the focus of a "Glass Ceiling". (Federal
Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). There are three broad
Higher standards of Performance and efforts for
have been reported in many studies (Mainiero, 1994;
Inhospitable corporate culture
(Ragins et al, 1998). The culture,
Discourages balancing high career aspirations
wit non work obligations
Communicate that women don't belong in executive
Require that women accomplish major tasks
without sufficient resources.
A study found that a males only organizational hierarchy
hindered women's promotions into lower and middle management
while having female leaders fostered women's promotions.
- The tendency to prefer to work and interact with
people who are similar demographically and
attitudinally. Homophily can ease the initial
interactions in a group, but can restrict creative
thinking and balanced decision making (Cox, 1993). Since
women of color differ in two demographic from European
American men, they are more likely to experience
marginalization at work (Bell et al, 1993).
Organizations have limited the challenge of assignments
given to women . In a study of 507 managers, both men
and women were given opportunities to start new ventures
and turn around businesses n trouble, but men were given
higher levels of responsibilities. This reduced the
potential of promotions for women.
Another study of 2431 white collar employees, showed
that both men and women promotions to middle management
were fostered by enhancing human capital variables
(education, training, and challenging work). Women's
promotions were fostered by the presence of a woman in
the hierarchy and hindered by the lack of one. Their
promotions to upper management were fostered by career
encouragement. Men's promotions were unaffected by these
Refer to the obstacles that occur primarily in the
context of a working relationship. Supportive
relationships are especially important in women's
Gender prejudice can take many forms and usually not
conscious. The most basic preconceptions is that a
good manager is inherently masculine.
Preconceptions that women are less competent means
that women have to prove themselves repeatedly in
each new situations.
Women must identify ad explicitly ask for
challenging assignments rather than simply having
such assignments offered to them.
Women perceived that a need to adapt their
behavioral style so that men could avoid feeling
intimidated. (Ragin et al, 1998)
Male leaders were positively evaluated when they
behaved either cooperatively or autocratically.
Women leaders were evaluated positively only when
they behaved cooperatively. (Eagly et al. 1992).
Several studies documented that women experienced
lower support in their careers than similarly
Informal networks are very important and yet studies
shown that women leaders have either tended to be
excluded or had to work harder to be included.
A critical relationship is mentoring. Studies in
mentoring had pointed out that there is dramatic
impact on salaries of employees and that European
American men were most likely to be the protégé.
Women and men were likely to be mentors, but women
were more likely to have same sex protégés.
Bad mentoring can be worse than none at all (Ragins,
Cotton, & Miller, 2000)
Women leaders themselves have reported naïveté and
lower political savvy as a barrier.
To mature organizationally, black women have adopted
perseverance, willingness to change employers, and
self generated developmental opportunities.
The most serious challenge for women leaders are the
non-work obligations that they remain primarily
responsible for in a household. Some studies found
that the multiple roles that women play in work and
non-work actually enhances their leadership skills.
The ability to balance the "have it all" need has
been a frequent theme in women leaders. Some women
have coped by purchasing domestic services,
supportive or non-employed husband, or scaling back
Research on gender dynamics have made a roader impact on
leadership. Improvements in the work places and in
society occur only when unconscious patterns and beliefs
are uncovered and recognized.
Considering the sex of leaders and employees can yield
insights within the major theoretical traditions. There
are many examples of this discussed in the various
theories about situations and acceptable/non-acceptable
Research in this area has contributed to the broader
conversation in the US society about values and
questions like this:
Do we prefer a work place that rewards talents or
Does profit matter more than people's well being?
Does work matter more than personal relationships?
Is merit consistently applied if one sex have to
consistently work harder and received less pay and
disadvantage of focusing on the individual's sex can
become the only or the primary attribute identifying
them rather than one of the many attributes.
serious issue in the research on sex and gender is the
assumption that members of each category are identical
in race, sexual orientation, age, etc. In fact most of
the respondents to the surveys were European American
The BSRI developed by Bem in 1974 has often been used to
measure the self perceptions of gender role. Another
instrument that was developed by Yost & Herbert in 1985
measures the attitudes toward women as managers (ATWAM)
Very little research has been published on the
theoretical foundations of leadership ethics.
There has been many studies on leadership, but
little has been related to leadership.
One of the first leadership ethics writings appeared
in 1996 by W.K. Kellogg
Development of ethics theory dates back to Plato and
It is concerned with the kinds of values and morals
an individual or society finds desirable.
These are rules and principles that provide the
basis for understanding what it means to be a
morally decent human being.
The choices that leaders make and how they respond
to a given circumstance are informed and directed by
Ethical leadership theories fall into two categories
Leader's conduct (Their actions)
Consequences (Theological theories) - Focus on
what is right and what is wrong.
- An individual should act to create the
greatest good for themselves. A leaders
should take a career that they would
selfishly enjoy (Avolio & Locke, 2002). This
is closely related to transactional
leadership theories. For example, a
middle-level manager who wants their team to
be the best in the company is acting out of
- We should act to create he greatest good
for the greatest number. Maximize the social
benefits while minimizing the social costs
(Shumann, 2001). Example: when the US
government allocates a large portion of the
federal budget to the health care instead of
catastrophic illness, it is acting out of
the utilitarian ethics.
- This is the opposite of Ethical Egoism
and is concerned with showing the best
interest for others even when it runs
contrary to self-interest. Authentic
transformational leadership is based on
altruistic behavior (Bass, Steidlmeier,
Duty (Deontological Theories)
This is telling the truth, keeping promises,
being fair, independent of the consequences.
Actions should not infringe on others'
rights and should not further the moral
rights of others.
Leader's character (Who they are)
Virtue-based theories -
These are not innate, but can be acquired.
They are rooted in heart of the individual
and in their disposition.
It focuses on telling people "what to be"
as opposed of "what to do"
Examples include courage, temperance,
generosity, self-control, honesty,
sociability, modesty, fairness, and justice.
This theory is about being and becoming a
worthy human being.
Centrality of ethics to leadership
The influence dimension of a leader requires that
they have an impact on the lives of those they lead.
To make a change in other people carries with it an
enormous amount of ethical burden and
Leaders have an ethical responsibility to treat
followers with dignity, respect, as a human being
with unique identities.
The "respect for people" demands that a leader be
sensitive to follower's own interests, needs, and
Leaders play an important role in establishing the
ethical climate of the their organizations.
Heifetz's Perspective on Ethical leadership
A psychiatrist who observed world leaders.
His approach emphasizes how leaders help followers
confront conflict and effect changes from conflict.
It is about helping followers deal with conflicting
values that emerge in rapidly changing work
environments and social cultures.
His approach deals with values.
Leaders must utilize authority to immobilize people
to face tough issues.
The leader provides the holding environment in which
there is trust, nurturance, and empathy.
The leader's duty is to assist followers in
struggling with change and personal growth.
Burns's Perspective on Ethical leadership
Transformational leadership places a strong emphasis
on followers' needs, values, and morals.
It involves attempts by leaders to move followers to
higher standards of responsibility.
It is the responsibility of the leader to help
followers assess their own values and needs in order
to raise them to a higher level of functioning, to a
level that will stress values such a liberty,
justice, and equality.
Greenleaf's Perspective on Ethical leadership
He developed a paradoxical approach to leadership
called "Servant leadership" in 1970s
It gained increased popularity in recent years.
It has a strong altruistic ethical overtone and
emphasizes that leaders should be attentive to
concerns or their followers.
He argued that leadership was bestowed on a person
who is by nature a servant. The way an individual
becomes a leader is by first being a servant.
A servant leader focuses on the needs of the
followers and helps them become more knowledgeable,
more free, more autonomous and more like servants
Servant leader has a social responsibility to be
concerned with the have-nots and to recognize them
as equal stakeholders in the organization.
Greenleaf places a great deal of emphasis on
listening, empathy, and unconditional acceptance of
Many of these ethical theories emphasis that the
relationship between leader-follower is an "ethical"
one and it s related to the "caring
Principles of ethical leadership
Northouse has listed five principles of ethical
leadership. Actually the origins of these
can be traced back to Aristotle. These
principles provide a foundation for the
sound ethical leadership. According to these principles
ethical leaders respect others, serve others,
are just, are honest and build community. To be an
ethical leader, we must be sensitive to the
needs of others, treat others in ways that are just and
care for others.
Ethical leaders respect others
Ethical leaders serve others
Immanuel Kant argues that it is our duty to treat
others with respect. One should treat others as ends
in itself and never as means to an end.
Beauchamp and Bowie (1988) pointed out that "Persons
must be treated as having their autonomously
established goals and must never be treated purely
as the means to another person's goals."
Leaders who respect also allow others to be
themselves. They approach others with a sense of
unconditional worth and value individual differences
Respect means giving credence to others' ideas and
confirming them as human beings.
A leader should nurture followers in becoming aware
of their own needs, values, and purposes.
Respect means that a leader listens closely to their
subordinates, is empathetic, and tolerant to
When a leader exhibits respect, subordinates feel
competent about their work.
Ethical leaders are Just
This is based on the concern for others (Ethical
This is an example of altruism.
An example of this is observed in mentoring,
empowerment, behaviors, and team building.
Very similar concept to the "Beneficence" that is
taught to health professionals.
Senge contended that one of the important tasks of
leaders in learning organizations is to be a steward
(servant) of the vision within the organization and
highlights the importance of not being
self-centered, but integrating one's self or vision
with the vision of the organization.
Ethical leaders are honest
Justice demands that leaders place the issue of just
at the center of their decision making.
No one should be treated differently unless their
particular situation demands it and if that is the
case, then the rules for differential treatment
should be made clear.
Good coaches are those who never have favorites and
those who make a point of playing everyone in the
The golden rule (Rawls, 1971) is to "Do unto others
as you would have them do unto you."
The principles of distributive justice includes:
To each person, and equal share.
According to individual needs
According to that person's rights
According to individual efforts
According to societal contribution
According to merit.
Ethical leaders build community
Being honest is not just about telling the truth. It
has to do with being open with others, representing
reality as fully and a completely as possible.
There are times of course where telling the complete
truth can be destructive and counter productive. The
challenge is to strike a balance.
It is important for leaders to be authentic, but
sensitive to the attitudes And feelings of others.
Dala Costa (1998) made a point in the Ethical
Imperative book. "Do not promise what you can't
deliver, do not misrepresent, do not hide behind
spin-doctored evasions, do not suppress obligations,
do not evade accountability, do not accept the
'survival of the fittest' pressures"
Leadership is often defined as the "process of
influencing others to reach a common or communal
goal." This definition has a clear ethical
dimension. The common goal implies that leaders and
followers agree on the directions of the group.
Authentic transformation means that a leader cannot
impose their will on other. They need to search for
goals that are compatible with everyone.
Ethical leadership demands attention to civic virtue
(Rost, 1991). This means that both leaders and
followers need to attend to community goals and not
just their mutually determined goals.
Maybe the most important thing is to realize that
leadership involves values; one cannot be a leader
without being aware of and concerned about one’s own
values. We can say also that rather than
telling people what to do, we should tell them what to
be and help them to become more virtuous.
When practiced over time good values become habitual and
a part of the persons themselves.
It provides some direction in how to think about
ethical leadership and how to practice it.
It reminds us that leadership is a moral process.
Other than the transformational theory of Burns, no
other theory considered or highlighted ethics.
It describes some basic principles that we can use
in developing real-world ethical leadership. These
ethics have bee present for over 2000 years.
It is still in an early stage of development. It
lacks a strong body of traditional research.
This area of research relies on the writing of a few
individuals, whose work has been primarily
descriptive and anecdotal.
Craig and Gustafson (1998) developed the Perceived
Leader Integrity Scale (PLIS). It is based on the
Utilitarian ethical theory. It evaluates leaders' ethics
by measuring the degree to which subordinates see them
as acting in ways that produce the greatest good for the
greatest number of people.
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