Contemporary Leadership Theory - Literature review Example

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This paper will discuss and compare two academic articles involving leadership theories with each other, citing contributions that each makes to the body of literature on leadership in the interest of further exploring the many dimensions by which leadership has been conceptualized…
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Contemporary Leadership Theory
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Download file to see previous pages According to the paper findings there is a wide range of leadership theories which have been developed through the years. The theories are classified into seven. The first is the known as the Great Man theories, which are founded on the idea that leaders are extraordinary individuals whose leadership qualities are inborn. The use of the term “Man” was intentional since it was generally held throughout the early half of the twentieth century that leadership is a male attribute; in fact, William James wrote that the course of history is determined by great men, without whom the masses could not progress. The next group is the trait theories, referring to the focus on traits or qualities that a good leader is thought to possess (though which are not necessarily inborn). The study of “great men” that preceded this yielded very few commonalities among them, giving rise to the idea that what defines a leader would be the set of admirable characteristics he possessed, such as intelligence, self-confidence, determination and integrity . Behaviourist theories are anchored on the actions of leaders rather than their attributes. Behaviour patterns are studied and categorised to comprise “leadership styles”. The next school of leadership theories is known as situational leadership. This set of theories views effective leadership not in terms of traits or actions, but the match between these and the situation being addressed. The situational leadership model holds that “the style of leadership should be mathed ot the level of readiness of the followers”. ...
66). Behaviourist theories, which came next, are anchored on the actions of leaders rather than their attributes. Behaviour patterns are studied and categorised to comprise “leadership styles”. Behaviourist theorists conceive of leadership in terms of the roles they fulfil, and the manner in which they are expected to fulfil them (Crainer & Dearlove, 2003, p.1). The next school of leadership theories is known as situational leadership. This set of theories views effective leadership not in terms of traits or actions, but the match between these and the situation being addressed. The situational leadership model holds that “the style of leadership should be mathed ot the level of readiness of the followers” (Hellreigel & Slocum, 2007, p. 221). The model (also known as contingency model) is comprised of three basic components – a set of possible leadership styles, a taxonomy of alternative situations which leaders are likely to encounter, and a stipulation of which style constitutes appropriate response to which situation. More recently, the transactional theory of leadership has emerged, focusing on task orientedness and ability to direct groups in a particular way so as to accomplish specific goals. Compliance is ensured through different approaches, such as offering incentives, threatening sanctions, appealing to the group’s sense of duty or selflessness, or prevailing upon their followers’ rational judgment, with the leader having little personal involvement with the group other than driving them to achieve an objective (Martin, et al., 2006, p. 47). Finally, the transformational leadership theory is based on the belief that leadership is not just the sole prerogative of people at the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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