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Management (MGH)
Joanna Heathcote

LEC 12 LEADERSHIP What Is Leadership? The influence that particular individuals exert on the goal achievement of others in an organizational context. Effective leadership exerts influence in a way that achieves organizational goals by enhancing the productivity, innovation, satisfaction, and commitment of the workforce. Leadership is about motivating people and gaining their commitment. Leadership has a strong effect on an organization’s strategy, success, and very survival. Formal Leadership Individuals with titles such as manager, executive, supervisor, and department head occupy formal or assigned leadership roles. They are expected to influence others, and they are given specific authority to direct employees. Some managers and supervisors fail to exert any influence on others. Leadership involves going beyond formal role requirements to influence others. Informal Leadership Individuals might also emerge to occupy informal leadership roles. They do not have formal authority. They must rely on being well liked or being perceived as highly skilled to exert influence. Are Leaders Born? The Trait Theory of Leadership Leadership depends on the personal qualities or traits of the leader. Based on the assumption that those who become leaders and do a good job of it possess a special set of traits that distinguish them from the masses of followers. Recent Research on Leadership Traits All five of the “Big Five” dimensions of personality are related to leadership emergence and success. Of the “Big Five,” extraversion and conscientiousness are the most consistent predictors of leadership effectiveness. Intelligence is related to leadership effectiveness, however, the relationship is lower than previously thought. The relationship between traits and leadership effectiveness is stronger for affective and relational measures of effectiveness than for performance-related measures. The trait approach is not the best means of understanding and improving leadership. Limitations of the Trait Approach It is difficult to determine whether traits make the leader or whether the opportunity for leadership produces the traits. Does not tell us what leaders do to influence others successfully. It does not take into account the situation in which leadership occurs. It can lead to bias and discrimination when it comes to evaluating a leader’s effectiveness and decisions about promoting people to leadership positions. Limitations of the Trait Approach: Summary Traits alone are not sufficient for successful leadership. Traits are only a precondition for certain actions that a leader must take in order to be successful. Leader behaviors have a greater impact on leadership effectiveness than leader traits. Ohio State University Leadership Study The most involved, systematic study of leadership took place at Ohio State University in the 1940s. Employees described their superiors along a number of behavioural dimensions. The results revealed two basic kinds of behaviour: Consideration Initiating structure Consideration The extent to which a leader is approachable and shows personal concern and respect for employees. The considerate leader is seen as friendly and egalitarian, expresses appreciation and support, and is protective of group welfare. Initiating Structure The degree to which a leader concentrates on group goal attainment. The structuring leader clearly defines and organizes his or her role and the roles of followers, stresses standard procedures, schedules the work to be done, and assigns employees to particular tasks. The Consequences of Consideration and Structure  Consideration and initiating structure both contribute positively to employees’ motivation, job satisfaction, and leader effectiveness.  Consideration is more strongly related to follower satisfaction, motivation, and leader effectiveness.  Initiating structure is slightly more strongly related to leader job performance and group performance.  The relative importance of consideration and initiating structure varies according to the nature of the leadership situation  When employees are under a high degree of pressure due to deadlines, unclear tasks, or external threat, initiating structure increases satisfaction and performance.  When the task is intrinsically satisfying, the need for high consideration and high structure is generally reduced.  When the goals and methods of performing the job are very clear and certain, consideration should promote employee satisfaction, while structure should promote dissatisfaction.  When employees lack knowledge as to how to perform a job, or the job itself has vague goals or methods, consideration becomes less important, while initiating structure takes on additional importance. The Consequences of Consideration and Structure: The Nature of the Situation The effects of consideration and initiating structure depend on characteristics of the task, the employee, and the setting in which work is performed. Situational Theories of Leadership The situation refers to the setting in which influence attempts occur. The basic premise of situational theories of leadership is that the effectiveness of a leadership style is contingent on the setting. The setting includes the characteristics of the employees, the nature of the task they are performing, and characteristics of the organization. A leader who is effective in one situation might not be as effective in another situation. Two situational theories of leadership that are among the best known and most studied: Fiedler’s Contingency Theory House’s Path-Goal Theory Fiedler’s Contingency Theory The association between leadership orientation and group effectiveness is contingent on (depends on) the extent to which the situation is favourable for exerting influence. Some situations are more favourable than others, and these situations require different orientations on the part of the leader. Leadership Orientation Leadership orientation is measured by having a leader describe their Least Preferred Co-Worker (LPC). Least Preferred Co-Worker is a current or past co-worker with whom a leader has had a difficult time accomplishing a task. The leader who describes the LPC relatively favourably (a high LPC score) is considered to be relationship oriented. The leader who describes the LPC unfavourably (a low LPC score) is considered to be task oriented. Leadership Orientation (continued) Fiedler has argued that the LPC score reveals a personality trait that reflects the leader’s motivational structure. The LPC score is not a measure of consideration or initiating structure which are observed behaviours. The LPC score is an attitude of the leader toward work relationships. Situational Favourableness Situational favourableness is the “contingency” part of contingency theory. It specifies when a particular LPC orientation should contribute most to group effectiveness. Situational Favourableness (continued) Factors that affect situational favourableness, in order of importance, are the following: Leader-member relations Task structure Position power The situation is most favourable for leadership when:  Leader-member relations are good  The task is structured  The leader has strong position power The situation is least favourable for leadership when:  Leader-member relations are poor  The task is unstructured  The leader has weak position power The model indicates that a task orientation (low LPC) is most effective when the leadership situation is very favourable or when it is very unfavourable. A relationship orientation (high LPC) is most effective in conditions of medium favourability. House’s Path-Goal Theory Robert House’s theory is concerned with the situations under which various leader behaviours are most effective. Path-Goal Theory is concerned with leader behaviours. Why did House choose the name “path-goal” for his theory? The Theory The most important activities of leaders are those that clarify the paths to various goals of interest to employees. The opportunity to achieve such goals should promote job satisfaction, leader acceptance, and high effort. The effective leader forms a connection between employee goals and organizational goals. To achieve job satisfaction and leader acceptance, leader behaviour must be perceived as immediately satisfying or as leading to future satisfaction. To promote employee effort, leaders must make rewards dependent on performance and ensure that employees have a clear picture of how they can achieve these rewards. Leader Behaviour Path-Goal Theory is concerned with four specific kinds of leader behaviour: 1. Directive behaviour 2. Supportive behaviour
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