Defining Formalization And Mentioning Its Advantages And Disadvantages For Leaders And Followers

Category: Leader, Mentorship
Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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Formalization is the degree to which job duties may be structured in a firm and employees’ activities being governed through laws and procedures. Roles do not depend on particular personal attributes for the individuals who occupy those roles. Formalization standardizes or regulates behavior. Relationship structures are more visible or explicit. Diagrams and charts in organization are instances of formalized leadership. Rational models may refer to mechanistic models.

Organizational structure is a tool whose modification can improve performance. Delegation of authority by leaders follows certain known channels which must be adhered to. Reporting back style to the top authority is also known in advance and the predetermined routes must be followed. Effective communication is therefore achieved if the laid down flow of data is well explained to the participants in any leadership chain. Guidelines to be followed in any specific passage of message should be strictly adhered to. (Scott, 2009 p. 6-23)

Management by Objectives (MBO), Program Evaluation Review Techniques (PERT), and Planning Programming Budgeting Systems (PPBS) are instances of support systems for making decisions rationally. These leadership approaches ensure standardization of how performance enhancement and measurement is achieved. Such formalization techniques are part of the organizational culture and those who happen to be in leadership have to abide by the known standards of management. Formalization before duties reduces the labor of building relationships for participants.

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Every team player’s responsibility, accountability and duty or role to play is well defined before they get engaged in operations of any entity. Roles or relationships become more objective or external to the parties. Formalization is another course of action to the structure for information sociometric. It should therefore be noted that adherence to the laid down procedures keeps an entity focused on its mission and vision statement, while trying to realize its short term and long-term goals.


Formalization is another course of action to the structure of information sociometric. Leaders’ communication is made easy because their followers can refer to predetermined feedback system and do not need their leaders to standby all the time. Personal feelings are separated between leaders and work activities. Individual emotions do not affect the leadership efficiency because they are not part of the formal system. Succession becomes a routine. The mentoring process is made easy because the passage of knowledge to the less experienced if procedural.


Individual capabilities like charisma become less important to the performing of certain roles. Personal attributes do not contribute to the leadership role because leaders become more mechanical. Leaders carry out their roles as per the organizational culture. Success of organizations depends on human beings’ qualities and if these human qualities are separated from the leadership role, the guiding role of leaders may not be at its best. Formalization results in conflict of leadership strategies and professional values.

Employees’ activities are governed through laws and procedures and leaders may not be able to exercise their leadership qualities. (Dennis & Charles, 2009 p. 31-42)


Bureaucratic coordination makes it easy for followers to understand their responsibilities. This is basically due to separation of personal attributes for leaders from the leadership roles. Autonomy in the performing of duties is therefore ensured. Beuracratism may result in more professionalism because the code of ethics in any profession will be adhered to.

Alienation, which is the estate of a job being external to a person but not a component of his nature, is also a product of formalization and will yield positive attitude or work autonomy. Formalization also reduces role ambiguity which avoids social loafing to the advantage of the employer. Role conflicts are also avoided and followers identify more with the organization.


The one on one relationship with a follower’s leader is not possible and to some people this may be demotivating.

Fresh recruits may have been used to systems with a personal contact with the supervisor and may find formalization extremely strange. Mentoring of young followers may be a problem because every procedure has been routinized. Their building of relationships with leaders is a problem and this may be psychologically dissatisfying. (Gouldner, 2008 p. 24-32)


Dennis, W. & Charles, N. (2009). Advantages and Disadvantages of Formalization. London: Oxford University Press. Gouldner, D. (2008). Formalization in Management studies. New York: Harcout and Brace. Scott, W. (2009). Formalization in Leadership. New York: Nerd Press.

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Defining Formalization And Mentioning Its Advantages And Disadvantages For Leaders And Followers. (2018, Jan 06). Retrieved from

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