Trait Theory 3-4
Skill Theory 4
Style Theory 4-5
Situational Leadership Theory 5-6
Contingency Theory 6-7
Path Goal Leadership Theory 7-8
Leader Member Exchange Theory 8-9
Transformational and Transactional Leadership 9-10
Authentic Leadership 10-11
References and Bibliography 13-16
Critically evaluate the different approaches to leadership theory. Compare and contrast how this has changed over the last 70 years and how this might impact on your organisation today.
In these current times of rapid change and the challenging economic climate, effective leadership is becoming increasingly important.
Leadership is one of the most “complex and multifaceted phenomena to which organisational and psychological research has been applied” (Van Seters & Field, 1990, P.29).
This paper will explore the main leadership theories, how they have evolved over the last 70 years and how the theories may impact upon my organisation, which is the Symphony Housing Group, a not for profit Housing Association, managing 40,000 properties across the North West.
2 Trait theory
The research on Trait Theory spanned the entire 20th century, with the main concept being that people are born with traits, rather than taught them (Northhouse, 2010).
Two of the earliest studies were carried out by Stodgill, 1948 and Mann, 1959. Stodgill, 1948 found that traits are not a predictor of Leadership; however, his study did identify that Leaders are different from their subordinates in a number of traits (Northhouse, 2010). Although the study was an early one, it recognised the influence of situational variables (Stodgill, 1948), which hadn’t been explored in earlier studies.
The study carried out by Mann, 1959, also identified a number of similar Leader traits to the Stodgill, 1948 study, with a key comparable being intelligence, which was found to be “the best predictor of an individual’s performance in groups”(P.264). It is interesting to note that Mann, 1959 found that masculinity and dominance are also important, which I believe relates back to the high proportion of the workplace who were male at the time of the study.
Kilpatrick & Locke, 1991 identified however, that traits alone are not enough and that Leaders also need to take particular actions, including role modelling and setting goals, which in my opinion would concur with the Path-Goal Theory approach, explored later in this paper.
Zaccaro, Kemp & Bader (2004) also further extend earlier Trait Theories by suggesting additional traits including, but not limited to emotional intelligence, emotional stability, extroversion, openness and self-monitoring, which can all be linked to Authentic Leadership, which is explored later in this paper.
Trait Theory could be used within the Symphony Group by requesting that Managers and new recruits carry out personality tests. The results could then be used by the organisation in order to recruit “the best fit” but also to outline individual strengths and weakness to help Managers to adapt their leadership style. Using the Zaccaro, Kemp and Bader, 2004 study, the main traits valued by the Group, based on my perceptions are emotional intelligence, motivation, agreeableness and openness, which are linked into the consultative and inclusive approach adopted by the Group. Individuals who do not display these traits are unlikely to fit into the organisational culture unless they can adjust their style of management, which may not always be possible.
3 Skill Theory
Skill Theory was developed by Robert Katz in 1955, in an attempt to go beyond the Trait Theory; however it can also be argued that the skill approach is similar to trait theories as abilities, motivation and personality can influence experiences and the