Student Number: 14806532
HR173- Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management
Seminar Group E
Tutor: Geoff Courts
Word Count: 1020
1- Cover Page
2- Contents Page
3- Leadership Assessment
The Similarities and Differences of Leadership and How Effective it is Within an Organisation
Leadership is a controversial topic as no single researcher can provide an accurate definition of all the aspects included within leadership. According to Sir Peter Parker (1994) ‘leadership is one of those elusive priorities, an area in which there is no absolute, no guaranteed model’ therefore no distinct theory can be correct in defining leadership, however each theory has its strengths and weaknesses, along with similarities into other theories and all of which can be applied to effective working with an organisation. The theories I will cover within this formative essay will be trait theory, behavioural theory and situation theory looking at the work of theorist such as Mullins, Fiedler and Blake and Mouton.
Trait theory implies that for someone to be a successful leader they must possess certain traits or qualities common within most leaders. Trait theory was influenced by Great Man theory ‘The fate of societies and organisations is in the hands of powerful, idiosyncratic individuals’ fundamentally focusing on the personal qualities of the leader and not the external factors that affect them. Ralf Stogdill (1974) compiled a typical list of leadership traits with examples such as self-confidence and an ability to influence the behaviour of others. However, there are a number of limitations with this theory, such as the traits are assumed to be able to be applied to any situation of leadership, be that in the army or in the office. More-so there are many leadership qualities that are not included within Stogdill’s list, and others believe certain traits do not belong in the list, so there is not always agreement on what traits actually make a good leader, let alone in what environment.
Behavioural theory has a different approach to leadership, this focused on the behaviour of people within leadership situations. Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid (1978) focuses on two behavioural dimensions; Concern for results and Concern for people. The way a leader uses these dimensions results in their form of leadership ranging from impoverished management, with little concern for either results or people, to team management where the leader has high concern for both. The Ohio state leadership studies focused on the effects of leadership styles on group performance and labelled the two behavioural dimensions as Consideration and Structure, therefore focusing on the structure of the groups within an organisation and not just the concern for results. This theory is very similar to Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid as both found ‘A high consideration, high structure (Concern for results) style appears to be generally more effective’ (Mullins, 2005) this suggests the behaviour of leaders is clearly linked to the effectiveness of the organisation, however Mullins also stated ‘the evidence is not conclusive and much seems to depend on situational forces.’ Behavioural theory is similar to trait theory as it still centres on the leader as an individual and doesn’t take into account the external environment in which the leader is stationed, although it is very different in the way in which trait theory primarily states the leader must possess certain qualities to be effective, where-as behavioural theory concentrates on the actual behaviour of that leader within the organisation, and how this behaviour can affect the results and motivation of the employees.
‘The situational approach emphasises the situation as the dominant feature in considering the characteristics of effective leadership’ (Mullins, 2005) Fred E. Fiedler (1997) argued that ‘effectiveness depends…