The study of leadership has an extremely long history, and presently is one of the most popular areas of management study and publishing. Yet, despite this long history of interest in the subject of leadership much is still unknown and unresolved about the idea of leadership. Today, there are many different conceptions about what constitutes leadership and effective leaders. Notice that most people talk about leadership as if they clearly understand what constitutes leadership. They also assume that other people share that unspoken understanding.
Yet, both of these assumptions are probably false most of the time.
Leadership in General
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For example, try to clearly and concisely define what you mean by "leadership. " Then ask someone else for their definition of leadership. Can either of you define it well? Do your definitions agree? Are your definitions so broad that they could describe activities that you do not think constitute leadership? Conversely, are your definitions so narrow that they cannot describe leadership in a variety of different situations? Now define "management. Is your definition of "management" different than your definition of "leadership? " Should "management" and "leadership" be defined differently, or are they in reality the same concept? The questions could go on, but you get the point. Leadership is difficult to define and differentiate from other concepts. Now think about what constitutes “effective” leadership? Hundreds, if not thousands, of books on leadership have been published over the past two or three decades. Each book propounds a somewhat unique theory of what constitutes “effective” leadership; each supporting its claims with anecdotes and testimonials.
Similarly, magazine articles, television shows, and books constantly herald the newest effective leader. Often, a few years later, either the company fails or the leader acts in a manner that calls into question whether that person ever possessed the leadership qualities and behaviors attributed to him or her. Think about the rise and fall of some chief executive officers over the past few years. But, does defrauding people, ending up in jail, or bankrupting a company necessarily mean that the person was never an effective leader? Also you can read about History of the Culinary Arts.
Some might argue the final results determine the effectiveness of leadership; others might argue that it is the process of leading, not the outcome, that defines effective leadership. Despite all this uncertainty, people are so fascinated by the idea of “leaders” that they continue to believe that “leadership” exists and matters. This course cannot possibly reconcile all the competing leadership theories, nor can it do much to explain why some apparently effective leaders fail miserably later, or fail as leaders in some other aspect of their life. Moreover, few of us want to read about every leadership theory ever espoused by someone.
Rather, the primary objective of this course (and the textbook) is to introduce you to a variety of different leadership theories that have some research support and have stood the test of time (to varying degrees). When people make conflicting claims about leadership, the scientific model proposes that research should be conducted to determine which of the competing theories has more factual support. Without research, there would be no way to determine which plausible theory better reflects reality, or whether any theory actually reflects reality.
The Nature and Importance of Leadership
There are many different definitions of leadership, and the textbook outlines several definitions. However, most definitions have the common theme that leadership is about influencing people to achieve goals that are accepted by the group members, or followers. Notice that this theme doesn't limit leadership to formal leadership positions, nor does it say that there can only be one leader at a time, or that leadership only flows from the "top-down. " The other common theme in many definitions is that leadership is a process, not a role.
Thus, many people can be leaders at the same time because all are involved in the leadership process. One person may be more effective than the other people. But all of the people could be acting as "leaders" in the process sense of leadership. In this light, leadership is a broad construct that encompasses many different types of influence from many different types of people in many different types of contexts. While this is a broad definition, maybe more of a description, some people question whether there is any great value in trying to more narrowly define leadership.
The study of what determines the effectiveness of different influence techniques in organizations doesn't necessarily require agreement on the definition of the overarching construct, or what is called leadership. On the other hand, the argument can be made that a better definition of leadership helps ensure that everyone is discussing the same concept. There is no clear answer to this debate, but for the purposes of this course leadership refers to the processes that people use to influence other people to achieve accepted goals. The leader is simply the person or persons who are making that influence effort.
Another critical point of the chapter is that leadership outcomes result from the reciprocal interactions of the "leader," followers (or "group members"), and the situation. Although we often think of leadership as a one-way influence, the leadership process necessarily includes the context in which the influence attempt occurs (i. e. , the situation) and the object of the influence attempt (i. e. , the followers). Thus, followers shape the leader's behaviors and attitudes just like leaders shape the followers' attitudes and behaviors.
In the extreme case of "servant leadership" and "stewardship" models of leadership, the general thrust is that effective leaders focus on aiding or facilitating the followers. This in turn helps the leader accomplish organizational goals.
In fact, effective leaders need to be good managers, and vice versa. This is highlighted in the textbook's discussion of leadership roles because many of them could also be characterized as "managerial" roles. Moreover, according to a common framework proposed by Henry Mintzberg, leadership is only one of many managerial roles. (See Mintzberg, H. (1980). The Nature of Managerial Work. Prentice Hall. ) A major concern relating to the first chapter is the issue of whether leadership makes a difference in reality. While this question could have been put off until the end of the course it is useful to at least think about it now.
Then, you can see if your opinions change during the course. Moreover, before devoting time to studying leadership one should know whether the time will be well-spent. The general conclusion is that leadership makes a difference in many cases, but not in all situations. When there are factors that substitute for leadership (or even neutralize leadership attempts), leaders may not be able to make much difference. The book outlines a number of factors that substitute for leadership, but there are many more factors that have been researched with mixed results.
In reality, there is no evidence that leadership substitutes always exist, or that they necessarily undercut attempts at leadership. Therefore, people should be careful about attributing success or failures solely to leadership. Leaders can only do so much given the constraints they face. The existence of constraints is the basis for Pfeffer's "leader irrelevance" theory. Similarly, "complexity" theory holds that leaders have little influence in complex organizational systems. For example, look at coaches and managers in profession sports.
Often they are fired after poor seasons, yet no new manager or coach can succeed either because their players simply aren't as good as the other players and teams in the league. Usually they have little control over which players are hired, which makes it even more irrational to attribute the success or failure of the coach to his or her leadership ability. Another common example is organizational success in good economic times and organizational downturns in poor economic times. Obviously, the economy is out of any individual's control, so good times and bad times cannot be attributed to the leader.
On the next page, you will read an excerpt from an article that suggests that leadership does make a difference. Leadership Makes a Difference Below you can read a short excerpt from an article about Commander D. Michael Abrashoff and what he calls "Grassroots Leadership. " This article suggests that leadership does make a difference. But what makes this a particularlyinteresting leadership anecdote is that it appears that the best explanation for the dramatic improvement on the ship is probably the change in commanders. The reason is that all Navy ships operate under substantially similar rules with basically similar crews.
Therefore, when a change occurs on one ship that doesn't occur on other ships, then the change is quite likely due to whatever changed in the situation, in this case the change in leadership. Whether you find the article persuasive or not, the other point is that by the end of the course you should be able to characterize Commander Abrashoff's leadership style in terms of the theories you will be studying in this course. Enlightened Leadership in the U. S. Navy by Jonette Crowley Commander D. Michael Abrashoff had a mission. Through what he calls "Grassroots Leadership," he turned around the operations of the USS Benfold, one of the U.S. Navy's most modern warships. His methods aren't complex, yet the results are astounding.
- Under Mike Abrashoff's 20-month command, the Benfold operated on 75% of its allocated budget, returning $1. 4 million to the Navy coffers.
- During that time, the ship's combat readiness indicators were the highest ever in the history of the Pacific Fleet.
- The promotion rate of his people was 2-1/2 times the Navy average.
- The pre-deployment training cycle, which usually takes a total of 52 days, was completed by the Benfold crew in just 19 days. During a 12-month period under the previous command, there were 28 disciplinary actions for which 23 sailors were discharged. During Abrashoff's tenure there were five disciplinary cases and no discharges.
- Under his predecessor 31 people were detached from the ship for limited duty, usually for complaints of "bad backs. " He had only two crew members leave for health reasons.
- A third of all recruits don't make it through their first term of enlistment, and only 54% of sailors stay in the Navy after their second duty tour. Commander Abrashoff had 100% of the Benfold's career sailors signing on for another tour.
It is estimated that this retention alone saved the Navy $1. 6 million in 1998. What did he do to stage such a turnaround in less than 20 months? He asked questions, he listened, he acted on what he heard. Almost immediately upon taking command, he had a 15 to 20 minute personal interview with each of his staff of 300. He asked these questions: * "What do you like best about this ship? " * "What do you like least? " * "What would you change if you could? " He made it a point to "see the ship from the eyes of each crew member. " Abrashoff acted as quickly as he could to institute the ideas that came from these interviews.
He focused on what was important: morale and combat readiness. "I didn't put an emphasis on paperwork," says Abrashoff. He encouraged his middle managers (junior officers) to delegate the paperwork that had always swamped them and focus instead on the training that enabled them to run the weapons and the ship. "That inspires confidence in the officers for our combat readiness, and the lower level people loved the responsibility for the paperwork stuff that the officers used to do," the commander reports. Abrashoff analyzed the processes, always assuming that there has got to be a better way.
Simply following SOP (Standard Operating Procedures), or doing things the way they've always been done, didn't hold water. The rules were changed or bent, always with the vision in mind of doing what was best for the crew. "Saving money wasn't the focus, it was a by-product of efficiency. We did things right the first time. " He set the vision and trusted his crew. He helped people take pride in their work. "I gave my officers my trust and free rein. They didn't want to lose that trust. " Abrashoff said, "I focused on doing right by the crew, not by the admirals.
I didn't even care if I ever got promoted again. That gave me the freedom to do what made sense. " One of the biggest complaints was the food, so he sent five of the Benfold's cooks to culinary school. The ship is now known as having some of the best food in the Navy, making it a showcase for VIPs. By focusing on the needs and ideas of his people, by relaxing the rules, by giving control over to his officers, a ship's culture has been changed, and with it the lives and confidence of scores of young sailors. A "virtuous cycle" has been set up that is continuing to inspire the crew to do even better.
Even after Mike Abrashoff has taken up other duties at his home base in San Diego, the USS Benfold continues to have the highest combat readiness indicators ever seen in the entire Pacific Fleet.
Traits, Motives and Characteristics of Leaders
Trait-based theories of leadership are among the oldest leadership theories, and they are still considered somewhat important today.
The earliest theories were "universal" theories that tried to find the leader's personal qualities that differentiated effective from ineffective leaders in all situations. Although these personal characteristics and qualities are usually called traits, they are not limited to personality traits (inner qualities). For example, the textbook refers to many different personal characteristics, including personality traits, in Chapter 2. Unfortunately, the trait approach does not tell us which traits are most important, in which situations or how much of a trait is required.
The biggest problem was that people who possessed the traits deemed critical were not always leaders, i. e. , the traits were necessary, but not sufficient for leadership. Moreover, trait-based theories cannot explain why people are not always successful leaders in all situations. History is full of military leaders who were effective in war, but not in peace. The converse is also true. On the other hand, recent research has found that some traits are important in a wide-variety of situations, but not all situations. In addition, in specific situations there are likely to be specific traits that are important.
The "trait-based" theories do not limit themselves to personality traits, so do not be fooled into limiting the scope of the personal qualities to personality dimensions. The theories include any characteristic on which individuals differ, such as intelligence, physical characteristics, attitudes, values, and personality traits, to name a few. At some point, the distinction between a trait and a behavior is blurred, but in general the distinction is between "who you are" versus "what you do. "
The textbook lists a wide-range of traits found to be important, and categorizes them into:
- Personality Traits Motives and Drives
- Power Motive
- Strong Work Ethic
- Drive and Achievement Motive
- Cognitive Factors
- Analytical Intelligence
- Knowledge of the business
- Insight into people and situations
- Farsightedness and conceptual thinking
While you don't need to memorize every possible leadership trait, it is worthwhile reading the lists. You should be able to recognize the most important traits. Perhaps more importantly, you should be able to reject some traits as unrelated to effective leadership, such as gender and race.
In conclusion, research suggests that effective leaders possess different personal characteristics than ineffective leaders or non-leaders. Knowing which traits are associated with leadership effectiveness helps in the selection of leaders. To the extent you can train people to develop a trait, knowing the importance of different traits helps organizations to design leadership development programs. For example, some aspects of emotional intelligence, which is a collection of traits and behaviors, can be taught and practiced. The trait-based approach to leadership is less valuable ecause present research cannot definitively specify which traits, and how much of those traits, are most useful in a specific situation. General
This contrasts with the idea of "transactional" leaders who primarily focus on exchanges with the followers that result in the maintenance of the status quo. Thus, transformational leadership relates to organization development and change; therefore, this aspect of leadership is taught in most organizational behavior courses. Then we completely shift the focus away from "trait-based" theories of leadership to "behavior-based" or "behavioral" leadership theories. Behavioral theories suggest that "leaders can be made" by teaching would-be leaders the behaviors used by effective leaders.
As you will see, leader's traits are not part of this group of leadership theories, although they may predispose people to behave certain ways. Basically, the simplest model divides leader behaviors into relationship-oriented and task- or performance-oriented behaviors. There are many variations on this dichotomy, which is the main point of the chapter. Several "universal" models of leadership emerged from the research on leader behaviors, but like the universal "trait" models studied last week, the models do not explain why the same leader behaviors are effective in one situation and not in another.
However, pay attention to these behavioral models because they form the bases for many of the contingency theories you will see later in the course. Leadership studies conducted at Ohio State University identified the importance of two broadly defined categories of leadership, "consideration" and "initiating structure". Consideration is the degree to which leaders interact with others in a friendly and supportive manner. Initiating structure, the second factor, represents how the leader structures his or her subordinate's roles to accomplish common objectives.
The Ohio State studies were accompanied by a comprehensive research program at the University of Michigan. The focus of the research at Michigan was on relationships related to leader behavior, group processes and group performance. The principle types of leader behavior identified in the Michigan studies were "job centered" which is similar to consideration and "employee centered" which is similar to initiating structure.
Charismatic and Transformational Leadership
The oldest line of leadership research appears to be the search for the defining traits of leaders. One line of this research was the attempt to explain charismatic leaders. Charismatic leaders are so exciting, stimulating, magnetic, and visionary that followers willingly accept their leadership. This clearly roots the idea of charismatic leadership in the realm of trait-based leadership models. As you might expect, the original theorizing about charismatic leaders was not in the organizational context, but around religion and social movements.
There are several theories of charismatic leadership, and according to most, charismatic leaders have the following attributes:
- They have compelling visions.
- They have masterful communication skills.
- They have the ability to inspire trust.
- They are able to make group members feel capable.
- They have energy and an action orientation.
- They have emotional expressiveness and warmth.
- They romanticize and take personal risks.
- They use unconventional strategies.
- They have a self-promoting personality.
- They challenge followers.
- They are dramatic and unique.
There are a variety of charismatic leaders, but the most important distinctions are between leaders with personalized power motives versus leaders with socialized power motives. A socialized charismatic leader uses power to benefit the followers and the group, whereas the personalized charismatic leader uses power to serve his or her own interests. This may or may not help the group attain its goals, but attaining those goals is not the focus of the personalized charismatic leader. Research suggests that a person can increase his or her charisma by copying the behaviors of charismatic leaders. These behaviors include the following:
- Articulate compelling visions for the future
- Be enthusiastic, optimistic, and energetic (perhaps these are traits, but you can act like you are enthusiastic, optimistic, and energetic)
- Persist in the face of adversity
- Personalize your interactions with people, such as remembering their names
- Maintain your physical appearance
- Appear to be candid
- Reject the status quo or be defiant.
Transformational leadership is related to charismatic leadership, but this newer group of theories focuses not on the leader's traits, but on the transformation of the organization.
Perhaps being charismatic helps, but it is not enough to transform an organization. The transformational leader helps bring about major, positive changes in the organization. Four factors are seen as elements of transformational leadership are:
- inspirational leadership
- intellectual stimulation
- individualized consideration
According to one transformational leadership theory, the transformational leaders can be contrasted with a transactional leader. The transactional leader focuses on routine, day-to-day exchanges (or transactions) with the followers.
The transactional leader rewards followers who meet existing standards of performance. While the concept of transactional leadership highlights the distinction between maintaining versus transforming an organization, the concept is not used much. Instead, the research focus has been on the more specific theories that you will learn later in the course, such as behavioral or contingency theories of leadership.
Leadership Behaviors, Attitudes, and Styles
This chapter introduces students to research on leadership behaviors, sometimes called leadership styles.
When the research on leader traits and other characteristics was relatively unsuccessful in explaining leadership, the research changed orientation from "what a leader is like" to "what a leader does. " The focus was on leaders' behaviors, not on their underlying traits. This was a somewhat optimistic shift as well because this line of research indicated that leaders could be trained. This is in contrast to the "leaders are born" orientation of the trait-based leadership research. There are relatively few important behavior-based universal models, and most have been superseded by newer contingency models (discussed in Chapter 5).
Knowing these early behavior-based models are important for a couple reasons. First, knowing them help students appreciate how leadership models evolve. Second, they are important because contingency theories (discussed in Chapter 5) attempt to incorporate these behaviors into their frameworks. Behavior-based Leadership Models Researchers at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan were among the first to study what behaviors were used by effective managers or leaders. The research found that effective leadership behaviors can be categorized as focusing on: 1. Relationships with followers (addressing their social and emotional needs) or 2. The tasks that need to be performed to increase productivity. There are many different terms or phrases describing effective leaders' behaviors.
Task-oriented behaviors are called a variety of names, such as:
- Concern for production
- Initiating structure
- Directive behaviors
With respect to the social and emotional focus, the labels or names include: people-oriented, worker-oriented, relationship-oriented, social, consideration, concern for people, and concern for relationship. Note: There are subtle differences among the different concepts, but you do not need to know them for this course. ) Some theories assumed that leaders could be either task-oriented (Concern for Results) or relationship-oriented (Concern for People), but not both. However, researchers at Ohio State assumed that leaders could demonstrate high or low amount of each type of behavior. In other words, task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors were not mutually inconsistent and a leader could be high on both dimensions, low on both dimensions, or high on one and low on the other dimension.
Undoubtedly, the behavioral research can be modified to accommodate ontingencies, but they were originally universal in nature. Other dimensions have also been investigated since the original research, but the importance of behavior-based theories rests primarily in the recognition of two broad dimensions of leader behaviors. You will see this more clearly when you study contingency leadership theories. Participative Leadership The chapter then briefly addresses "participative leadership. " Despite the relatively little coverage of this topic in the text, a key decision managers and leaders must make is how much to "empower" the followers.
Tannenbaum and Schmidt developed an early model that had a continuum of leadership decision making behaviors that ranged from "boss-centered" to "employee-centered" behaviors. This theory focused on allocating decision making authority to employees, ranging from autocratic ("boss-centered") to more or less participative ("employee-centered") decision making. These two leader decision making behaviors were at opposite ends of a continuum. Therefore, in theory, a leader cannot be autocratic and participative at the same time. However, towards the center of the continuum the two styles blur together somewhat, with moderate levels of each style.
The textbook addresses this topic in terms of a subsequent model that divides this continuum into autocratic and participative styles. The participative style is subdivided into consultative, consensus, and democratic styles. Issues The text next discusses two issues related to leadership. First, the book describes entrepreneurial leaders' traits and behaviors as if there was one way to be an entrepreneur (i. e. , a universal approach to entrepreneurship). However, this may be misleading because the best entrepreneurial style may depend on the followers and entrepreneurial idea.
In other words, quite possibly there are no universally effective entrepreneurial styles. Perhaps future research will shed more light on this issue. Next, the textbook discusses whether men and women have fundamentally different leadership styles that are relatively consistent across situations. If so, in essence these differences would be universal styles for each gender. Past research on gender differences in leadership has been hampered by many factors, such as there being relatively few female leaders of large organizations. In ddition, the observed gender differences may be due to the followers' expectations based on their stereotypes about each gender's typical leadership styles and relatively inflexible social norms that shaped both gender's behaviors. You can draw your own conclusions about the chapter's comments on gender differences in leadership styles. However, it may be useful to reflect on a couple points. First, if you reject the importance of universal models of leadership, then any difference in male and female leadership styles becomes relatively unimportant. If contingency theories are correct, there is no one best way to lead.
Thus, neither gender can corner the market on leadership, even if there are relatively stable differences in male and female leaders' preferred leadership styles. Second, there is so much individual variation in preferred leadership styles within each gender that discovering a "typical" or average style is unlikely to adequately describe the leadership style of any specific person. Many men are relationship-oriented, and many women are task-oriented, contrary to the typical stereotypes. The text concludes this chapter by stating that there is no one best leadership style. This idea sets the stage for the next chapter on contingency theories.
For example, one of my past supervisors was a more reserved personality but was very personable, good at promoting individual growth and setting goals. These traits proved to be valuable in merging two product offices and building a project office organization. He would be a “Hedgehog” utilizing Jim Collins definitions in the book “Good to Great”. The flip side, I have had one supervisor who was very charismatic but was not effective in leading transformation. He could not focus the organizations energy on a common goal. Jim Collins would classify him as a “Fox”.
It sounds like he may have been successful in some aspects, but at what cost. This type of work environment not only drives a lot of good people away it has a tendency to taint those who stay. The long term impacts on the organization and personnel may be more harmful than any perceived short-term success.
Contingency and Situational Leadership
This chapter introduces the concept of contingency leadership, or what has also been called situational leadership ( Hershey and Blanchard). . The theories collected in this general category extend the behavior-based leadership research by recognizing that specific leader behaviors are more effective in some situations than other situations. In other words, the most effective leadership behavior is contingent upon the situation, which can be broadly defined to encompass anything in the leader's environment.
For example, one contingency factor that is found in almost every contingency theory focuses on the follower's personal characteristics. Other common contingency variables include: the nature of the task, the nature of the work group, the organization's culture, and the amount of power the leader possesses. Each theory incorporates specific factors based on what factors the researcher felt were most important. There are many different contingency theories, but the textbook introduces the most important theories.
Fiedler's Contingency Theory
The first contingency theory introduced in the textbook (pages 144-146) is Fiedler's Contingency Theory, or what is sometimes called "leader match" or "LPC theory. " In this theory, the contingent factors are: 1) the leader's relationship with the group or follower, 2) how clearly defined or structured the task is that the person or group must perform, and 3) the amount of position power possessed by the leader. Dichotomizing these three variables results in eight possible combinations that range from little leader control to high leader control.
The theory matches the leader's preferred style, either high task or high relationship, with one of the possible combinations. When the leader's style matches the existing situation, this should result in effective leadership. Fiedler's model is important because it was one of the first theories to highlight the contingent nature of leadership. While the research support is mixed for his theories, nevertheless Fiedler's theories were important in the development of leadership research. Another contingency theory developed by Fred Fiedler and his colleague Joseph Garcia is called the Cognitive Resource Theory.
This theory describes how stress plays a key role in determining how a leader’s intelligence is related to group performance. These are the three points made by Cognitive Resource Theory.
- Those leaders with greater experience but lower intelligence are like to have higher-performing groups under high-stress conditions. Or under low stress conditions – the leader’s experience e is less relevant.
- Leaders with high intelligence are more valuable than an experienced leader when innovation is needed and stress levels are low.
- The intellectual abilities of a leader who is experience stress will be diverted from the task at hand.
As a result, measures of leader intelligence and competence do not correlate with group preference when the leader is stressed (New Approaches to effective Leadership: Cognitive Resources and Organizational Performance, 1987). Path - Goal Theory The next major contingency theory introduced in the textbook is path–goal theory, which is usually associated with Robert House's theories. While there are several variations of this theory, the book presents the most common version.
Although the theory is relatively complex, it focuses on the followers and the situation, just like Fiedler's LPC theory. However, the important characteristics of the followers and the situation are different than in Fiedler's LPC theory. The contingency variables in path-goal theory are based on expectancy theory, one of the more powerful motivation theories. Because effective leaders must motivate followers, it makes sense to integrate a motivation theory with a leadership theory. Unlike many other contingency theories that focus on only two leader behaviors or styles, path-goal theory attempts to explain in which situations each of four ifferent leadership styles are most effective: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement oriented leadership styles. A newer version of the theory adds transformational leadership behaviors, but this is not covered in the book and you do not need to know it for this course.
Blanchard Situational Leadership Model
The next leadership model, the Situational Leadership II model, is one of the most popular leadership models. Many companies train managers in this theory. The Situational Leadership model was specifically developed to simplify the complexity of most contingency theories .
As leadership theories become more complex, they also become more difficult for managers to use on a day-to-day basis. Accordingly ,Blanchard developed a simplified theory focuses only on the followers' characteristics. They concluded that the follower's readiness to perform a task is the most important contingency factor, even though there are many other relevant factors. Followers' "readiness" levels are comprised of their abilities and willingness to do a specific task. In this model, the leaders' behaviors are either task oriented or relationship oriented, which makes it similar to the Leadership Grid and Fiedler's LPC model.
Although the logic of Situational Leadership's prescriptions is somewhat questionable, and the research support is somewhat weak, nevertheless this theory has had a big impact on management and leadership training. Blanchard subsequently developed a modified version of this Situational Leadership model that shares the same name, which can create confusion. Normative Decision Model The next contingency model introduced in the textbook is the Normative Decision Model proposed by Vroom and Yetton, and later modified by Vroom and Jago.
As the name indicates, this theory attempts to prescribe the best type of decision-making in a given situation: autocratic, consultative, or group-based decision making. This is a contingency theory because the critical decision nodes or points in the theory reflect either a concern with the situation or with the followers. When diagrammed, the decision nodes or points in this model create a decision tree. Thus, this model is also referred to as the “decision tree model. ” Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory Another perspective under the contingency approach is the Leader - Member Exchange (we will see this model again in Chapter 9).
The textbook finishes with a short description of how top executives actually lead and a discussion of leading during a crisis. These two topic areas are descriptive, and lack the kind of theoretical reasoning found in other theories and they have very limited research support. According to the text, top executives perform multiple leadership styles, the choice of which depends on the situation (a contingency approach). All of the styles reflect some combination of strategic leadership and change leadership, with relatively little emphasis on motivating individual followers.
In a sense, these styles are variations on the transformational leadership style discussed earlier in the textbook.
Certain corporate cultures seem to ignore ethical issues, while others have extremely strong ethical values. There is a table outlining leaders who have questionable ethics, which will no doubt become longer over the near future. Whether leaders recently have become less ethical, or they are simply being detected and publicized more is an unanswered question. Corporate social responsibility is the next concept in the chapter. This refers to the idea that organizations, and thus their leaders, have an obligation to society beyond simply following laws and making money for owners and shareholders.
This idea reflects an ethic, but goes beyond any simple ethical principle (see Figure 6-1 Initiatives for Achieving a Socially Responsible and Ethical Organization). As the book notes, the topic cannot be covered well in the space allotted, but being sensitive and responsive to the community and the employees is the key idea. Whether an organization should lose money to help the community and employees is the key issue. If the concept of a "virtuous circle" is correct, then there is no trade-off between profits and social responsibility because social and financial performance reinforce each others.
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