Explore BrainMass

Explore BrainMass


    This content was COPIED from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

    You are the supervisor of the clerical support assistant for the department. You have never had formal leadership responsibilities before, and you wish to maximize the possibility that you will be successful with this new responsibility. On your own (not at the direction of your supervisor), you investigate major leadership theories and models. Develop a Pro and Con list involving these theories/models.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 5:18 pm ad1c9bdddf

    Solution Preview


    Interesting and complex theories, indeed. I hope this helps and take care.

    Please see the attached file for best formatting (alos below).


    Leadership Theories; Overview

    The following are some of the most popular theories on leadership. Some of these leadership theories are classic; others are emerging. In addition, there is a framework for leadership theories proposed by Arthur Jago.

    What is a leader? Industrial/Organizational psychologists do not seem to be able to agree on a definition. One way to understand leadership, however, is through the differences between a leader and an authority. Authorities are those who hold formal positions that give them the power to direct the behavior of their subordinates. Managers, supervisors, and bosses are authorities. They may or may not also be leaders, depending on whether they rely solely on their official positions when applying influence on others. A true leader does not use force and coercion to direct his or her followers toward a common goal.

    There are many leadership theories. Arthur G. Jago (1982) proposed a framework that organizes leadership theories based on each theory's focus and approach.

    "Focus" refers to whether leadership is viewed as a set of traits or as a set of actions.
    ? Focus on Traits: Theories with such a focus see leaders as having certain innate or inherent personality traits that distinguish them from non-leaders. These personality traits are supposed to be relatively stable and enduring.
    ? Focus on Behavior: Theories with this type of focus see leadership as observable actions of the leader instead of personality traits.
    "Approach" is concerned with whether a particular theory or model of leadership takes a universal or a contingent perspective.
    ? Universal Approach: This approach believes that there is a universal formula of the traits or behavior for an effective leader. In other words, the universal approach assumes that there is "one best way" to lead in all situations.

    Contingent Approach: Contrary to the universal approach, the contingent approach does not believe the "one best way" formula. It believes that effective leadership depends on the specific situation.

    Let's look at the following theories:

    1. Early Trait Approach
    2. Behavioral Approach
    3. Fiedler's Contingency Theory
    4. Path-Goal Theory
    5. Vertical-dyad Linkage Model
    6. Charismatic Leadership

    1. Early Trait Approach

    Early leadership researchers actually analyzed numerous famous leaders in the history of America and worldwide, hoping to find certain special personality traits (e.g., intelligence and dominance) these leaders had in common. Nowadays, however, the field has pretty much given up on this approach, because (1) it is nearly impossible to develop an inclusive list of leader traits, and (2) no conclusion can be made regarding the connection between a particular trait and leadership effectiveness.

    2. Behavioral Approach

    As discussed earlier, the behavioral approach focuses on the observable behavior that makes a leader effective. For example, the "Managerial Grid" was developed to examine different types of leadership behavior on two dimensions:

    Dimension 1. Concern for Production: A manager who has high concern for production is task-oriented and focuses on getting results or accomplishing the mission.

    Dimension 2. Concern for People: A manager who has a high concern for people avoids conflicts and strives for friendly relations with subordinates.

    The "Managerial Grid" has its advantages and disadvantages.

    It focuses on observable actions of the leader in order to determine if the leader's main concern is for production or for people. This provides a more reliable method for studying leadership than the trait approach. The Managerial Grid, however, adopted the universal approach. It aims at identifying the most effective leadership style for all situations, which is not supported by evidence in real organizations. The two dimensions used in this model -- concern for production and concern for people -- are two important dimensions used to examine leadership behavior and characteristics. We will see them again, often with different names, in many other leadership theories.

    3. Fiedler's Contingency Theory

    Basic Assumptions

    Fred Fiedler believes that leadership effectiveness depends on both the leader's personality and the situation. Certain leaders are effective in one situation but not in others.
    Devices Fiedler uses to determine leader personality and the situation:

    ? Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) Scale

    The LPC is used to measure a leader's motivation: "Task motivation" vs. "relationship motivation" (Notice here, these are the trait versions of the "concern of production" vs. "concern of people" categories in the Managerial Grid).

    Fiedler assumes that everybody's least preferred coworker in fact is on average about equally unpleasant. But people who are relationship motivated tend to describe their least preferred coworkers in a more positive manner, e.g., more pleasant and more efficient. Therefore, they receive higher LPC scores. People who are task motivated, on the other hand, tend to rate their least preferred coworkers in a more negative manner. Therefore, they receive lower LPC scores. So, the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale is actually not about the least preferred worker.

    Instead, it is about the person who takes the test; it is about that person's motivation type.
    ? Situational Favorableness

    There are three factors that determine the favorableness of a situation:
    (1) Leader-Member Relations, referring to the degree of mutual trust, respect and confidence between the leader and the subordinates.
    (2) Task Structure, referring to the degree to which the task at hand is low in multiplicity and high in verifiability, specificity, and clarity.
    (3) Leader Position Power, referring to the power inherent in the leader's position itself.
    When there is a good leader-member relation, a highly structured task, and high leader position power, the situation is considered a "favorable situation".
    ? Leader-Situation Match and Mismatch
    A match exists between a task-motivated leader and an either very favorable or very unfavorable situation. A relationship-motivated leader, on the other hand, matches an intermediate favorable situation. Leaders can lead most effectively when there is a match between his or her motivation type and the situation.
    When the leader and the situation do not match, some things have to be changed. Since personally traits are relatively permanent, a better solution is for the leader to move to a better matched situation. This is called "job engineering".
    Evaluation: Pros and Cons
    Researchers often find that Fiedler's contingency theory falls short on flexibility. They also noticed that LPC scores can fail to reflect the personality traits it is supposed to reflect. However, Fiedler's contingency theory is an important theory because it established a brand new perspective for the study of leadership. Many approaches after Fiedler's theory have adopted the contingency perspective.
    4. Path-Goal Theory
    The Path-Goal Theory has a contingency perspective. But it is different from Fiedler's Contingent Theory in its focus. The Path-Goal Theory focuses on the situation and leader behavior rather than leader personality traits.

    1. Basic Assumptions
    It is closely related to the Expectancy Theory of Motivation, according to which the effort a person is willing to put forth is influenced by two factors: expectancy and valence. Expectancy is the degree to which a person expects that his or her behavior will lead to certain outcomes. Valence is how attractive these outcomes are to that person.

    The Path-Goal Theory believes that a leader can change a subordinate's expectancy by clarifying the paths between the subordinate's action and the outcome, which is the goal the employee wants to achieve. Whether leader behavior can do so effectively also depends on situational factors.

    2. Leader Behavior

    A leader may display four different types of leadership styles depending on the situation.

    (1). Directive Leadership: The leader gives specific guidance of performance to subordinates.
    (2). Supportive Leadership: The leader is friendly and shows concern for the subordinates.
    (3). Participative Leadership: The leader consults with subordinates and considers their suggestions.
    (4). Achievement-oriented Leadership: The leader sets high goals and expects subordinates to have high-level performance.

    3. Situational Factors

    a. Subordinates' Personality
    (1) Locus of Control
    - A participative leader is suitable for subordinates with internal locus of control.
    - A directive leader is suitable for subordinates with external locus of control.

    (2) Self-perceived ability
    - subordinates who perceive themselves as having high ability do not like directive leadership

    b. Characteristics of the environment
    - When working on a task that has a high structure, directive leadership is redundant and less effective.
    - When a highly formal authority system is in place, directive leadership can again reduce workers' satisfaction.
    - When subordinates are in a team environment that offers great social support, the supportive leadership style becomes less necessary.

    4. Evaluation: Pros and Cons

    Like Fiedler's contingency model, the path-goal theory has provided lots of ideas for further research. Studies have been done to test many specific factors in this model, e.g., the role of subordinates' locus of control and social support in work groups.

    5. Vertical-dyad Linkage Model

    A vertical dyad is a pair of superior and subordinate. The theory suggests that leadership style of one-leader changes when dealing with different subordinates. In other words, leadership style varies from one dyad to another.

    A leader usually has a few subordinates as the in-group. That is, the leader treats these subordinates in a special way, such as paying them more attention, giving them more responsibilities and privileges. Subordinates in the out-group, on the other hand, do not receive these special treatments from the leader. Thus, the vertical-dyad linkage model believes in studying a leader and a subordinate as a pair and studying the special in-group.

    6. Charismatic Leadership

    Charismatic Leadership is one of the more recent theories on leadership. Although not many studies have been done so far to test them, these theories suggest certain different and interesting ways of ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution investigates major leadership theories and models, developing a pro and con list involving these theories/models.