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Leadership Approaches

Compare the underlying assumptions of the 3 approaches to leadership. How well are these approaches supported in research?

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1. Compare the underlying assumptions of the 3 approaches to leadership. How well are these approaches supported in research?

Leadership is the process by which certain group members motivate and guide the group. http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072413875/student_view0/glossary.html

A. Contingency theories (LPC, cognitive resource, strategic contingencies theory) refine the situational viewpoint by focusing on identifying the situational variables that determine the most appropriate style of leadership to fit the particular circumstances. Assumptions: The leader's ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors, including the leader's preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of followers and also various other situational factors. http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~leading/leaderpages/leadtheories.html

B. Situational leadership theories suggest that leadership is specific to the situation in which it is being exercised. These theories (normative model, action-centered leadership model, leadership continuum, Hersey and Blanchard's situational leadership model, path-goal theory, etc.) suggest that there may be different styles of leadership required at different levels in the same organization. Assumptions: The best action of the leader depends on a range of situational factors. http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~leading/leaderpages/leadtheories.html

C. Great Man or trait theories of leadership The Great man theory is a theory held by some that aims to explain history by the impact of "Great men", or heroes: highly influential individuals, either from personal charisma, genius intellects, or great political impact. It address the specific question "What is a leader?" These theories answer the question by specifying or identifying traits, characteristics, abilities, behavioral patterns, or skills that leaders have or demonstrate. If a definition is offered by a trait theorist, it normally begins "a leader..." and follows with a list of traits (is a servant, is charismatic, is ethical, takes initiative, shows excellence, is goal-oriented, is inspiring, is good at communicating, has positive self-regard, is empowering, etc.). The problem with these theories has always been identifying characteristics that differentiate leaders from people with the same traits who are not leaders, which is the main criticism, as well as feminist theorists argue that it is biased. Assumptions: Leaders are born and not made. Great leaders will arise when there is a great need. http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~leading/leaderpages/leadtheories.html

In sum, the assumptions of the contingency approach is similar to the situational approach, as the leader's ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors, including the leader's preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of followers and also various other situational factors. This contrasts with the assumptions of the 'Great Man' or Trait theory approach which argues that that leaders are born and ...

Solution Summary

Compares the underlying assumptions of three approaches to leadership and how well these approaches are supported in research.

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