LEADERSHIP THEORIES Essay

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In order to answer this question, it will be appropriate to look at how classical and humanist theories emerged and outline some of their theories relating to management. Further discussion will be on the role of management in comparison to that of leadership with concluding arguments on how far these theories have influenced modern leadership. The stride towards industrial development in the 19th century led to the emergence of classical management theories with several approaches. One such approach was how managers should act, manage task and deal with day to day problems of managing the business (Mullins 2004). Example of theories on the above approach is command and control by Henri Fayol, bureaucratic organisation by Max Weber and scientific management by F W Taylor.

Fayol cited in Dilys Robinson (Training Journal, Jan 2005) favoured the idea of management organising task and managing people through a hierarchy system. He saw senior level managers as having authority not only by virtue of their position within the organisation but also on the increasing amount of decisions that managers had to make. Senior level managers cascaded orders through a command chain system to employees and had almost no interaction with workers. In addition Fayol taught that managers and workers had to abide by certain principles for the greater good of the organisation. For instance manager’s had to treat workers with some degree of fairness whiles workers on the order hand were expected to accept and follow plans from one leader, sub-ordinate their interest and not step beyond their responsibilities.

In the same way Max Weber in Derek Pugh & J Hickman (2007) like Fayol supported the idea of a formalised organisation structure as it legitimised authority and helped to remove problems that authority based on tradition and charisma created. He was also concerned about the likelihood of managers using their authority to abuse workers within the hierarchy system hence his idea that the relationship between the organisation and managers had to be impersonal in such a way that managerial roles are assigned and their authority based on competence.

Additionally, Taylor in Dilys Robinson (Training Journal, Jan 2005) suggested that managers must be responsible for organising work and the task given to selected and trained workers to perform in accordance to the way managers deemed it. His idea seems to assert that there is one best way of performing task and that work task should be tailor made to fit those who have to perform them.

Alternatively, humanist theorist which began to emerge on the background of classical management started to teach that workers were not only motivated by reward factors and that consideration of human needs was also a key in motivating workers. Humanist theories also began to look at the behaviour of employees within the organisation. Examples of humanist management theories are Douglas McGregor’s X and Y theory and Rensis Likert’s management systems and styles.

Douglas McGregor under theory X proposes that in certain situations managers must use their authority in order to get things done and achieve desired results. Under theory Y, also based on certain assumptions he proposes that managers must be more democratic in their approach as this will motivate staff to contribute more to the organisation.

Furthermore Rensis Likerts in Derek Pugh & J Hickman (2007) identified four varying types of management styles bordering on the exploitative - authoritative, benevolent - authoritative, consultative and participative system. The first is characterised by imposed decisions and use of threats and the second the use of rewards mainly to motivate staff.
The third is were motivation is by rewards and some participation and the fourth seen as the best solution in that management have confidence in their workers, real responsibility is felt by all, communication is abundant, team-work exists and where…