Leadership Models Leadership Models The dynamics of leadership-follower relationships has grown in the last two decades because of a growing discussion in leadership literature (Popper & Mayseless, 2002) as cited in Avolio. Many companies, which were small 20 years ago have emerged as leaders in the market, overtaking their once larger competitors. These firms internally have revamped the way they do business. They have focused on making changes to their managerial process, thereby creating a competitive advantage (Tichy & Devanna, 1990).
The authors go on to say that although traditional managerial skills are important they are not sufficient to bring about organizational transformation. Transformational change will come by incorporating new strategies about people and the structure of the firm. These strategies may include leadership models or theories. A number of leadership models or theories exist, which address change in the way a firm addresses the management of its employees.
The contingency view of leadership states there is not a particular model of leadership that is better than another, but rather various situational contingencies determine the success of different types and styles of leadership (Nahavandi, 2006). Of the many number of leadership models four are notable for change. These four consist of trait theory, behavioral theory, charismatic approach to leadership, and the cognitive resource model. A discussion of how each model addresses contemporary leadership issues and challenges follows.
The trait approach to leadership has been referred to as the “Great Man” approach, which includes identifying specific traits a person exhibits. Those traits would be used to identify that person as either a potential leader or as a follower. Researchers have spent considerable time attempting to identify traits that would help to identify leaders from followers. Clawson (2006) states that whereas there have been many researchers studying leadership traits only a few have emerged as common among effective leaders.
According to (Stogdill, 1981) an effective leader adapts to situations, is alert to social environment, ambitious and achievement oriented, assertive, cooperative, decisive, dependable, has a high energy level, self-confident, tolerant of stress, persistent, and willing to accept responsibility. Maccoby (1981) narrowed the scope to four main character traits, which are: craft, enterprise, career, and self. He went on to describe both negative and positive aspects of each trait. The positive for each are as follows: Craft – independent and hardworking
Enterprise – daring and entrepreneurial Career – professional and meritocratic Self – experimental and self-developing He stated that most of all an effective leader is caring, flexible, and willing to share power. He also indicated there is a negative side of each trait. Craft – Suspicious and inflexible Enterprise – uncaring and instrumental Career – Fearful and bureaucratic Self – Escapist and rebellious John Gardner and Jim Collins have also researched and written about traits of leaders.
Although each researcher has a slightly different bent, they basically describe the same traits using different terms. Callan (2003) stated that the Environmentalists of the 18th and 19th century believed that “Great Man” is only an expression of the needs of the time and if one man could not meet the need, then another would rise up and meet the need. She went on to state that others believe that the personalities of superior men would arise to meet the need. The behavior approach to leadership became prominent in the 1950s because researchers began to see inconsistencies in the trait approach.
They began to observe leaders while they were on the job (Clawson, 2006). Researchers determined there were behavioral differences between effective and ineffective leaders. Kotter (1990) defines leadership as a process of using non-coercive means to move a group in some direction. He uses Lee Iacoca as an example of a behavior approach to leadership. Iacoca was instrumental in developing a bold new vision, an intelligent strategy to implement the vision, and he worked relentlessly to keep people motivated toward the vision.
Change is necessary in the behavior of employees of an organization rather than changing the structure or systems (Farris, 2002). Behavioral integrity is quite problematic and an integral aspect of organizational change according to (Simons). He goes on to say that behavioral integrity is the difference between enacted and espoused values. Therefore, if there is a difference between the behavior expected and the behavior given there will be an integrity issue that will need to be addressed by management and leadership to resolve the difference (Bryman, 1992).
The charismatic model of leadership is seen as “Incorporating ideas from trait, style, and contingency approaches, the ‘New Leadership’ paradigm (dubbed as such by Bryman 1992) which originated in the early 1980s, gave primacy to the concept of charismatic leadership” (Callan, 2003, p. 2). Charismatic leadership is often identified with transformational leadership. A number of sub-categories of the charismatic model exist. The attribution theory, which describes six leader behaviors and traits that help make the leader seem charismatic to the followers is part of the charismatic model.
These six traits and behaviors, according to (Conger & Kanungo, 1994), are: promoting a vision, using unconventional methods to achieve the vision, deviate from the status quo, sensitivity to member needs, taking personal risk, and a sensitivity to the environment. According to Awamleh and Gardner (1999) delivery style is a better predictor of the attributes than the content of the message. In her dissertation (Halverson, 2002), states there is a lack of attribution traits of the charismatic model because past research lacks investigations into outcomes beyond attribution.
The cognitive resource model was introduced in 1987 by Fielder and Garcia. The theory is based on the behavior of the leader, the cognitive resources of the leader (experience and intelligence), and the interpersonal nature and stress of the group’s task. (Medina, 2004) Medina goes on to say that when a leader is directive and guidance to perform the task correctly is required of the followers, then the leader’s intelligence contributes to the group’s performance. “The general idea is that leader effectiveness is predicted by intelligence in low-stress conditions and by experience in high-stress conditions” (Medina, 2004, p. ot numbered). Some researchers believe there needs to be more studies focused on the various contingency theories. “…cognitive, behavioral, and attitudinal changes of a leader in interaction with different types of actors and environment have not been properly studied…” (Sahal, 1979, p. 320). In conclusion, according to the trait theory, traits are inherent in an individual and are not characteristics a person learns. If the trait theory was accurate in itself a manager would look for the needed traits in an individual and select that person as a leader.
If people can learn leadership behaviors, as indicated by the behavior theory, management could design an educational program to train leaders the skills required to be effective, providing an abundance of available leaders. Attributes of charismatic leadership are a focus for future and present studies to determine the full impact on the interactions of followers and leaders in both transformational and transactional leadership styles in organizations. The cognitive resource theory also needs further study to help researchers determine its impact on leadership effectiveness and follower performance.
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