Historical Study of Leadership Theories

This article was published in Journal of Strategic Human Resource Management in April 2012.

Leadership is one of the most complex and multifaceted phenomena to which organizational and psychological research has been applied. While the term “leader” was noted as early as the 1300s and conceptualized even before biblical times, the term leadership has been in existence only since the late 1700s (Stogdill, 1974). Even then, scientific research on the topic did not begin until the twentieth century (Bass B. M., 1985). Since that time, however, there has been intensive research on the subject. Over the last 50 years, leadership has been examined in terms of enduring traits, sets of behaviors or styles, situational properties, and presumed cognitive processes. Despite numerous theories and volumes of research, little cumulative knowledge has been gained. Much of the research has not been helpful precisely because it has neglected the observation of real events and focused on instead on questionnaire response. Many of the terms contained leadership questionnaire may describe commonly held feelings of leadership and subordinates but not necessarily describe the behavioral contingencies that control desired performance outcomes (Davis & Luthans, 1979).

Indeed, Bennis (1959) states that, “Of all the hazy and confounding areas in social psychology, leadership theory undoubtedly contends for the top nomination. And, ironically, probably more has been written and less known about leadership than about any other topic in the behavioral sciences” (p 259).  Burns (1978) similarly remarks that, “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.” This problem arises not only in understanding the operation of the theory but even in its definition. Stogdill (1974) claims that, “There are almost as many definitions of leadership as those who have attempted to define the concept.” Indeed, seven decades of research on the subject has led Stogdill to conclude that the “endless accumulation of empirical data has not produced an integrated understanding of leadership.

Sometimes different terms have been used to refer to the same type of behavior. At other times, the same terms has been defined differently by various theorists. What is treated as a general behavior category by one theorist is viewed as two or three distinct categories by another theorist. What is a key concept in one taxonomy is absent from another. Different taxonomies have emerged from different research disciplines, and it is difficult to translate from one set of concepts to another (Yukl, Gordon, & Taber, 2002). Yukl, Gordon, & Taber (2002) noted that in the past there has been an overemphasis on metacategories. For example, much of the research during the 1960s and 1970s used measures of consideration and initiating structure, rather that examining results for specific components of these broadly-defined behaviors. The metacategories are useful for organizing specific behaviors with a similar objective, but they should examine results for the specific behaviors as well as the metacategories in the same study. The utility of metacategories will depend on the extent to which they are able to improve the prediction of leadership effectiveness or the explanation of why some leaders are more effective than others in a given situation.

Various camps are concerned with important but entirely difficult aspects of leadership. Each camp, however, represents the dimension of leadership with which it is preoccupied as a complete leadership theory. Such a practice leads to superficial contradictions in the same way that one blind man’s description of the trunk of the elephant differs from another blind man’s description of an elephant’s belly. Pondy (1976) commented that have we been misled by the existence of a single term in our language to think that it reflects some uniform reality? Calder (1977) also pointed out that in the progression from the trait approach to complex transactional-contingency views, leadership has taken on such expanded meaning that it can not be differentiated from any other general model of behavior. A major problem is that leadership is seldom directly observed but is merely perceived and conferred (Davis & Luthans, 1979).

Defining Leadership

Prentice (1961) defined leadership as “the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants” and a successful leader as one who can understand people’s motivations and enlist employee participation in a way that marries individual needs and interests to the group’s purpose. He called for democratic leadership that gives employees opportunities to learn and grow – without creating anarchy. Mintzberg (1973) proposed that leadership role is one of ten managerial roles, albeit the most important one. The other nine managerial roles are: 1) figurehead, 2) liaison, 3) monitor, 4) disseminator, 5) spokesperson, 6) entrepreneur, 7) disturbance handler, 8) resource allocator, 9) negotiator.  Tannenbaum & Schmidt (1973) proposed that successful leaders are those who are keenly aware of the forces which are most relevant to their behavior at any given time. They accurately understand themselves, the individuals and groups they are dealing with, and the company and broader social environment in which they operate. And certainly they are able to assess the present readiness for growth of their subordinates. Successful leaders are those who are able to behave appropriately in the light of these perceptions. If direction is in order, they are able to direct; if considerable participative freedom is called for, they are able to provide such freedom. Leadership is the reciprocal process of mobilizing, by persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political, and other resources, in a context of competition and conflict, in order to realize goals independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers. This is transactional leadership. The object in these cases is not a joint effort for persons with common aims acting for the collective interests of followers but a bargain to aid the individual interests of persons or groups going their separate ways (Burns, 1978, p. 425).

Gardner (1987) includes the following topics in his discussion of basic leadership tasks: 1) envisioning goals, 2) affirming values, 3) motivating, 4) managing, 5) achieving a workable level of unity, 6) explaining, 7) serving as a symbol, 8) representing the group externally, 9) renewing.  The qualities and skills of a leader go far beyond cultivating a friendly personality, or applying the sophisticated methods and principles of management/administration, or practicing the techniques of human relations. A leader’s vital function is to visualize and concretize the ethos of values in the work and objectives of the work groups. He has to define and articulate the work goals and purposes in terms of a larger and imaginative vision. He has to impart and sustain a vision in which work excellence, duty, and cooperation of people are seen to be related to his eternal purposes. He should transmute small, selfish, and parochial objectives of individuals into larger social and spiritual goals (Rastogi, 1987). Leadership is defined as “an interaction between two or more members of a group that often involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of members” (Bass B. , 1990).

Rost (1991) mentioned that leadership is a substitute for “the collective leaders who are in office” or “the leaders in an administration.” Another popular notion given by him is that of one person directing other people. He equated leadership with what one person does to a group of people who make up an organization. He defined leadership as an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes (p. 102). From this definition, there are four essential elements that must be present if leadership exists or is occurring: the relationship is based on influence; leaders and followers are the people in this relationship; leaders and followers intend real changes; leaders and followers develop mutual purposes. He explained that the leadership relationship is multidirectional. The relationship involves interactions that are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and circular. This means that (1) anyone can be a leader and/or follower; (2) followers persuade leaders and other followers, as do leaders; (3) leaders and followers may change places in the relationship; (4) there are many different relationships that can make up the overall relationship that is leadership (p. 105). Second, leadership is an influence relationship means that the behavior used to persuade other people must be noncoercive. If the behaviors are coercive, the relationship becomes one of authority or power, or one that is dictatorial.

Second, despite the distinction between leaders and followers is crucial, the concept of followers takes on new meaning. Followers are active, not passive, in the relationship. They do leadership, not followership. There is typically more than one leader, and there must be more than one follower. And, finally, the influence patterns in the relationship are inherently unequal because leaders typically exert more influence that do followers (p.112). According to the definition of leadership, leaders and followers intend real changes. Intend means that the changes are purposeful and are in the future. The intention is in the present, and leaders and followers give solid evidence of their intention by their words and actions. The intention is part of the glue that hold the relationship together. Real means that the changes the leaders and followers intend are substantive and transforming, not pseudo changes or sham. To be leadership, the intention to change is all that is required. Leadership does not require the leaders and followers actually to accomplish the changes. Finally, leaders and followers develop mutual purposes through noncoercive, influential relationship.

These are purposes and not goals; more overarching and holistic, less oriented to quantification. The leaders and followers reflect, not realize, their purposes (p. 123). Adair (2009) said that to be successful leader, one needs to require 1) awareness of what is going on in groups (the group process or underlying behavior as well as the tip of the iceberg the actual content of the discussion), 2) then one needs understanding which means in this context knowing that a particular function is required, and 3) one should have the skill to do it well enough to be effective. That can usually be judged by whether or not the group responds or changes course. You can bring to see why a degree to self sufficiency is important for a leader. Leadership is not about popularity, though it would be inhuman not to enjoy being liked. Because leaders tend to have social, even gregarious natures, they can find the inevitable brickbats that come their way to endure. But what matters in the long run is not how many rounds of applause a leader receives but how much respect he gains, and that is never achieved by being ‘soft’ or ‘weak’ in the task, team or individual circles. Simply, leadership is a choice, not a position (Covey, 2009).

As we have seen that different researchers have defined leadership differently, let us go through the major camps of leadership which have made the subject very interesting. Again, our aim to go through their understanding of the subject, we will not delve into criticizing, approving or disapproving any of their arguments.

Trait Theory of Leadership

Stogdill (1948) reviewed 124 trait studies conducted from 1904 to 1948 and found that the pattern of results was consistent with the conception of a leader as someone who acquires status by showing the ability to help the group in attaining its goals. The following conclusions were supported by uniformly positive evidence from the study surveyed:  (a).  The average person who occupies a position of leadership exceeds the average member of his group in the following respects: (1) intelligence, (2) scholarship, (3) dependability in exercising responsibilities, (4) activity and social participation, (5) socio-economic status, (6) initiative, (7) persistence, (8) knowing how to get things done, (9) self confidence, (10) alertness to, and insight into, situations, (11) cooperativeness, (12) popularity, (13) adaptability, (14) verbal facility. (b). The qualities, characteristics and skills required in a leader are determined to a large extent by the demands of the situation in which he is to function as a leader. (c).

The items with highest overall correlation with leadership are originality, popularity, sociability, judgment, aggressiveness, desire to excel, humor, cooperativeness, liveliness, and athletic ability, in appropriate order of magnitude of average correlation coefficient.   d. In spite of considerable negative evidence, the general trend of results suggests a low positive correlation between leadership and such variables as chronological age, height, weight, physique, energy, appearance, dominance, and mood control.

He classified all factors associated with leadership under the general headings of capacity, achievement, responsibility, participation, status and situation: Capacity (intelligence, alertness, verbal facility, originality, judgment), Achievement (scholarship, knowledge, athletic accomplishment), Responsibility (dependability, initiative, persistence, aggressiveness, self confidence, desire to excel), Participation (activity, sociability, cooperation, adaptability, humor), Status (socio-economic position, popularity), Situation (mental level, status, skills, needs and interests of followers, objectives to be achieved etc.).

Behavioral Theory of Leadership

So far, leadership has been studied informally by observing the lives of great men and formally by attempting to identify the personality traits of acknowledged leaders through assessment techniques. Since the Second World War, research emphasis has shifted from a search for personality traits to search for behavior that makes a difference in the performance or satisfaction of the followers. The first study in this area was performed by Lewin, Lippit and White at the University of Iowa. Lewin, Lippit, & White (1939) tried to find out what underlies differing patterns of group behavior as rebellion against authority, persecution of a scapegoat, apathetic submissiveness to authoritarian domination, or attack upon an outgroup.

They studied whether differences in subgroup structure, group satisfaction, and potency of ego-centered, and group-centered goals can be utilized as criteria for predicting the social resultants of different group atmospheres. In the first experiment, hostility was 30 times as frequent in the autocratic as in the democratic group. Aggression (including both “hostility” and “joking hostility”) was 8 times as frequent.

Much of this aggression was directed toward the autocrat.  In the second experiment, one of the five autocrats showed the same aggressive reaction as was found in the first experiment.  In the other four autocracies, the boys showed an extremely non-aggressiveness, apathetic pattern of behavior. Four types of evidence indicate that this lack of aggression was probably not caused by lack of frustration, but by the repressive influence of the autocrat: (a) outbursts of aggression, (b) a sharp rise of aggression when the autocrat left the room; (c) other indications of generalized apathy, such as an absence of smiling and joking; and (d) the fact that 19 out of 20 boys liked their democratic leader better than their autocratic leader, and 7 out of 10 also liked their “laissez-faire” leader better. A factoral analysis of the inter-correlations among 8 hypothesized dimensions of leader behavior resulted in the emergence of 4 factors.

These factors were identified as Consideration (behavior indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect, and warmth), Initiative Structure (behavior that organizes and defines relationships or roles, and establishes well-defined patterns of organization, channels of communication, and ways of getting jobs done), Production Emphasis (behavior which makes up a manner of motivating the group to greater activity by emphasizing the mission or job to be done), and Social Awareness (sensitivity of leader to, and his awareness of, social interrelationships and pressures inside or outside the group).

Two factors, Consideration and Initiating Structure, accounted for 83 per cent of the total factor variance. Consideration tends to be correlated negatively with leadership effectiveness ratings by superiors, while Initiating Structure is positively related to effectiveness ratings. Consideration is not perceived as a form of behavior which contributes directly toward leadership effectiveness. The study was sponsored jointly by the Human Resources Research Laboratories, Department of the Air Force, and The Ohio State University Research Foundation. Consideration and Initiating Structure became to some extent identified as “the Ohio State” dimension of leadership.

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory of Leadership

The organization that employs the leader is as responsible for his success or failure as the leader himself. Terman wrote in 1904 that leadership performance depnds on the situation, as well as on the leader (Fiedler, 1964).  Practically, all formal training programs attempt to change the individual; many of them assume explicitly or implicitly that there is one style of leadership or one way of acting that will work best under all conditions. Others assume that the training should enable the individual to become more flexible or more sensitive to his environment so that he can adapt himself to it. The effectiveness of the leader will be defined in terms of how well his group or organization performs the primary tasks for which the group exists.

We measure the effectiveness of a football coach by how many games his team wins and not by the character he builds, and the excellence of an orchestra conductor by how well his orchestra plays, not by the happiness of his musicians’ or his ability as a musicologist. Whether the musicians’ job satisfaction or the conductor’s musicological expertness do, in fact, contribute to the orchestra’s excellence is an interesting question in its own right, but it is not what people pay to hear. Likewise, the performance of a manager is here measured in terms of his department’s or group effectiveness in doing its assigned job. When we think of improving leadership, we almost automatically think of training the individual. This training frequently involves giving the man a new perspective on his supervisory responsibilities by means of role playing, discussions, detailed instructions on how to behave toward subordinates, as well as instruction in the technical and administrative skills he will need in his job.

A training program might last a few days, a few months, or as in the case of college programs and military academics, as long as four years. What is hard evidence that his type of training actually increases organizational performance? The contingency model of leadership holds that the effectiveness of group performance is contingent upon (a) the leader’s motivational pattern, and (b) the degree to which the situation gives the leader power and influence. Some leaders perform better in one kind of situations while some others perform better in different kind of situations. What kinds of situations are best suited for which type of leaders is an important question to be answered. It is easier for a leader when you have complete control than when your control is weak and dependent on the good will of others.

Fiedler (1964) classified leadership situations on the basis of three major dimensions:

  1. Leader-member relations: Leaders presumable have more power and influence if they have a good relationship with their members than if they have a poor relationship with them, if they re liked, respected, trusted, than if they are not.
  2. Task structure: Tasks or assignments that are highly structured, spell out, or programmed give the leader more influence than tasks that are vague, nebulous and unstructured.
  3. Position power: Leaders will have more power and influence if their position is vested with such prerogatives as being able to hire and fire, being able to discipline, to reprimand, and so on. He concluded that the performance of a leader depends as much on the situation favorableness as it does on the individual in the leadership position. Hence, the organization can change leadership performance by trying to change the individual’s personality and motivation pattern or by changing the favorableness of the leader’s situation.

Path-Goal Theory of Leadership

According to this theory, leaders are effective because of their impact on subordinates’ motivation, ability to perform effectively and satisfactions. The theory is called Path-Goal because its major concern is how the leader influences the subordinates’ perceptions of their work goals, personal goals and paths to goal attainment. The theory suggests that a leader’s behavior is motivating or satisfying to the degree that the behavior increases subordinate goal attainment and clarifies the paths to these goals (House & Mitchell, 1974).

The path-goal approach has its roots in a more general motivational theory called expectancy theory. Briefly, expectancy theory states that an individual’s attitude (e.g. satisfaction with supervision or job satisfaction) or behavior (e.g. leader behavior or job effort) can be predicted from:

(1) the degree to which the job, or behavior, is seen as leading to various outcomes (expectancy) and

(2) the evaluation of these outcomes (valences).

Thus, people are satisfied with their job if they think it leaders to things that highly valued, and they work hard if they believe that effort leads to things that are highly valued.  The implication for leadership is that subordinates are motivated by leader behavior to the extent that his behavior influences expectancies, e.g., goal paths and valences, e.g., goal attractiveness. The first proposition of the path-goal theory is that leader behavior is acceptable and satisfying to subordinates to the extent that subordinates see such behavior as either an immediate source of satisfaction or as instrumental to future satisfaction.

The second proposition of this theory is that the leader’s behavior will be motivational, i.e. increase effort, to the extent that (1) such behavior makes satisfaction of subordinates’ need contingent on effective performance and (2) such behavior complements the environment of subordinates by providing the coaching, guidance, support and rewards necessary for effective performance. These two propositions suggest that the leader’s strategic functions are to enhance subordinates’ motivation to perform, satisfaction with the job and acceptance of the leader.

They talked about different leadership behaviors like directive, supportive, achievement oriented, and participative leadership. Leader directiveness has a positive correlation with satisfaction and expectancies of subordinates who are engaged in ambiguous tasks and has a negative correlation with satisfaction and expectancies of subordinates engaged in clear tasks. The theory hypothesizes that supportive leadership will have its most positive effect on subordinates satisfaction for subordinates who work on stressful, frustrating or dissatisfying tasks.

The theory also suggests that achievement-oriented leadership will cause subordinates to strive for higher standards of performance and to have more confidence in the ability to meet challenging goals. For subordinates performing ambiguous, nonrepetitive tasks, they found a positive relationship between the amount of achievement orientation of the leader and subordinates; expectancy that their effort would result in effective performance.

They described participative leadership style that would impact on subordinate attitude and behavior. They proposed that participative climate should increase the clarity of organizational contingency. Through participation in decision making, subordinates should learn what leads to what. From path-goal viewpoint participation would lead to greater clarity of the paths to various goals. A second impact of participation would be that subordinates, hopefully, should select goals they highly value. Participation would increase the correspondence between organization and subordinate goals.

Vroom Theory of Decision Making

In early 1970s, Yetton and Vroom (1973) proposed a set of alternative decision processes that they employed in their research. Each process is represented by a symbol (e.g. AI, CI, GII) used as a convenient method of referring to each process. The first letter in this symbol signifies the basic properties of the process (A stands for autocratic; C for consultative; and G for group). The Roman numerals that follow the first letter constitute variants on the process. Thus, AI represents the first variant on an autocratic process, and AII the second variant.

The decision processes specified for each problem type are not arbitrary. The model’s behavior is governed by a set of principles intended to be consistent with existing evidence concerning the consequences of participation in decision making on organizational effectiveness. They proposed seven rules that serve to protect the quality and the acceptance of the decision by eliminating alternatives that risk one or the other of these decision outcomes. These seven rules are based on information, goal congruence, unstructured problem, acceptance, conflict, fairness, and acceptance priority.

The six types of management decision making styles they suggested are as follows:

AI-You solve the problem or make the decision yourself, using information available to you at that time.

AII-You obtain the necessary information from your subordinate(s), then decide on the solution to the problem yourself. You may or may not tell your subordinates what the problem is in getting information from them. The role played by your subordinates in making the decision is clearly one of providing the necessary information to you, rather than generating or evaluating alternative solutions.

CI-You share the problem with relevant subordinates individually, getting their ideas and suggestions without bringing them together as a group. Then you make the decision that may or may not reflect your subordinates’ influence.

CII-You share the problem with your subordinates as a group, collectively obtaining their ideas and suggestions. Then you make the decision that may or may not reflect your subordinates’ influence.

GII-You share a problem with your subordinates as a group. Together you generate and evaluate alternatives and attempt to reach agreement (consensus) on a solution. Your role is much like that of chairman. You do not try to influence the group to adopt “your” solution and you are willing to accept and implement any solution that has the support of the entire group. This approach is based on the assumption  that one of the critical skills required of all leaders is the ability to adapt their behavior to the demands of the situation and that one component of this skill involves the ability to select the appropriate decision making process for each problem or decision he confronts.

Managers use decision processes providing less opportunity for participation (1) when they possess all the necessary information than when they lack some of the needed information, (2) when problem that they face is well-structured rather than unstructured, (3) when their subordinates’ acceptance of the decision is not critical for the effective implementation of the decision or when the prior probability of acceptance of an autocratic decision is high, and (4) when the personal goals of their subordinates are not congruent with the goals of the organization as manifested in the problem.

Managerial Grid

Blake & Mouton (1964) proposed Managerial Grid with two primary concerns, concern for production and concern for people.  On a nine point scale (1 represents minimum concern and 9 represents maximum concern), they placed concern for production on horizontal axis and concern for people at vertical axis. So, 1,1 style represent minimum concern  for both, production and people. Going up the grid, from 1,1 style to the upper left corner is found the 1,9 style represent minimum concern for production and maximum concern for people. In the lower right corner is 9,1 style which has a maximum concern for production and minimum concern for people.

In the upper right corner is the 9,9 style, which has got maximum concern for production and people. Then, in the center is 5,5 style, which is middle of the road, or an intermediate amount of both kinds of concerns (p.11). They emphasized that the manner in which these two concerns are interlinked together by a manager defines how he uses hierarchy. In addition, the character for concern for at different grid positions differs, even though the degree may be the same. They said that one dominant managerial style, a single set of managerial assumptions, is not sufficient to catch the full implication of a person’s managerial approach.

In addition to a dominant set of managerial assumptions, which are the most characteristic of managerial style a person has adopted, the concept of backup set of assumption is a useful one. An individual’s backup theory is the one he uses when his dominant theory fails to get desired results. It is the style he falls back on (p.13). The point to be emphasized is that managerial styles are not fixed. They are not unchanging. They are determined by a range of factors. Many are subject to modification through formal instructions or self-training (p. 15).

Transactional Leadership

Hollander (1974) proposed that leadership is, in fact, a transactional process. That class of behaviors associated with a “leader” is not confined to one person who acts alone; there is a relationship with followers who perceive and evaluate the leader in the context of situational demands, whether that relationship is made explicit or not.

He proposed that to specify the transactional quality of leadership more completely, three determinants must be considered, i.e. the “leader” with his (her) personality, perceptions, and resources relevant to goal attainment; the “follower” with their personalities, perceptions, and relevant resources; and the situational context within which those variables function. According to him, leadership embodies a two-way influence relationship. Influence assertions from the leader to followers are reciprocated in demands made on the leader. Therefore, the integrity of the relationship depends on some yielding to influence on both sides.

Therefore, it took greater account of the actualities of daily life by emphasizing that: leader function in a particular time and place; there are several pathways to becoming a leader, sometimes from higher authority and sometimes from group consent; and leadership involves diverse functions among persons in varying roles. He explained that there is a need to see the leader’s role as involving a variety of functions, not just the direction of activity. The dichotomy between being leader or a follower is out-dated, and greater specification of the diverse components of situations in which leader-follower influence occurs is required. More needs to be understood about the leader’s function as a “definer-of-reality” for followers. In general, the transactional features of that relationship must be appreciated.

Leader-Member Exchange Theory of Leadership

Role making is a set of processes why which an actor and a functionally interdependent other: (1) work through how each will behave in certain situations (interlocking behavior by reciprocal reinforcement), and (2) agree upon the general nature of their relationship (constructing relationship norms) against the background of the formal organization. A special case of role making, namely, that involving the functional interdependence between a person in a leader position and one in a follower position can be used to describe a vertical development process. Role making process can be used to describe the development of both interlocked behavior and relationship norms between leaders and each of their members (Graen & Cashman, 1975).

By accepting this situation, they made two basic assumptions about the leadership situation in managerial units. First, they assumed that some interlocked behaviors must be shaped (successive approximation application of reinforcement) beginning early in the history of the VDL, e.g. critical tasks cannot be command of strangers or the consequences may harm the leader. Second, they assumed that some relationships must be developed carefully over an extended period of time, e.g. mutual trust must be earned by both parties. Therefore, they expected that early interaction between a leader and a member will emit signs which can be used to predict the nature of the emergent leadership structure – the leader-member exchange.

Graen & Cashman (1975) studied 60 managers undergoing complete reorganization. While 50 percent of managers were in new positions and one-third were new to the organization, nearly 90 percent of the reporting relationships contained at least one new member. They studied the development of leader-member exchanges over a none-month period. The results formed a consistent network of reliable relationships. This network was quite consistent with the model: leaders do routinely differentiate their units by developing in-group exchanges with selected members and out-group exchanges with their remaining members. Furthermore, in addition to developing more effective relationships, members developing in-group exchanges with their leaders assume greater involvement in unit activities and receive greater positional resources from their leader than do their out-group colleagues.

They observed that leaders of managerial units, when faced with the task of developing new working relationships with most of the members they lead, responded in manners which served to differentiate their units. Only some of their subordinate managers did leaders attempt to develop special exchange relationships which transcended the formal employment contract. All subordinate managers so selected may or may not have accepted such as a special exchange relationship. But, those who did consummate such an exchange promised to develop into members of the leader’s trusted in-group. In contrast, those who either were not given the opportunity, or who declined the opportunity of the special exchange, became members of the leader’s out-group. Thus, the units became differentiated over time onto two distinct subgroups.

In-group members received greater latitude in their roles, more inside information, greater influence in decision making, stronger support for their actions, and more consideration for their feelings that did members of the other groups. Outgroup members received lower performance ratings and were confronted with more severe problems with their superiors than were members of other groups. In-group members are characterized by stronger bonds of dyadic loyalty than those of outgroup members. In-group members exhibit greater openness to ideas, more reciprocal support, and a higher propensity to protect one’s partner than out-group members.

Transformational Leadership

Bass B. M. (1985) was the first one to contrast transactional with transformational leadership. The transformational leader motivates us to do more than we originally expected to do so. He said that such a transformation can be achieved in the following way:

1. Raising our level of consciousness about the importance and value of designated outcomes and ways of reaching these outcomes.

2. Getting us to transcend our own self-interests for the sake of the team, organization, or largely polity.

3. Raising our need level on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy from, say, the need for security to the need for recognition, or expanding our portfolio of needs by, for example, adding the need for self-actualization to the need for recognition.

The need for more transformational leaders in business and industry was illustrated in an in-depth interview survey conducted by Bass (1985) of a representative national sample of 845 working Americans. The survey found that while most employees liked and respected their managers, they felt their managers really didn’t know how to motivate employees to do their best. Although 70 % endorsed the work ethic, only 23 % said they were working as hard as they could in their jobs. Only 9% agreed that their performance was motivated by transaction; most reported that there actually was little connection between how much they earned and the level of effort they put into the job.

In another study of interviewing 70 senior executives, he asked them to describe in detail a transformational leader whom they had encountered at any time during their career. According to him, the transformational leader induces members to work ridiculous hours and to do more than they ever expected to do. Respondents reported that they aimed to satisfy the transformational leader’s expectations and to give the leader all the support asked of them.

They wanted to emulate the leader. The transformational leader increased their awareness of and promoted a higher quality of performance and greater innovativeness. Such a leader convinced followers to extend themselves and to develop themselves further. Total commitment to and belief in the organization emerged as consequences of belief in the leader and heightened self-confidence. Many respondents indicated that the transformational leader they could identify in their own careers was like a benevolent father who remained friendly and treated the respondent as an equal despite the leader’s greater knowledge and experience. The leader provided a model of integrity and fairness and also set clear and high standards of performance. He encouraged followers with advice, help, support, recognition, and openness.

He gave followers a sense of confidence in his intellect, yet was a good listener. He gave followers autonomy and encouraged their self development. He was willing to share his greater knowledge and expertise with them. Yet he could be formal and firm and would reprimand followers when necessary. Most respondents, however, were inclined to see the transforming leader as informal and accessible. Such a leader could be counted on to stand up for his subordinates. Along with the heightened and changed motivation and awareness, frequent reactions of followers to the transforming leader including trust, strong liking, admiration, loyalty, and respect.

Furthermore, Bass in his study found that many followers described their military or industrial leader as someone who made everyone enthusiastic about assignments, who inspired loyalty to the organization, who commanded respect from everyone, who had a special gift of seeing what was really important, and who had sense of mission that excited responses. Followers had complete faith in the leaders with charisma, felt proud to be associated with them, and trusted their capacity to overcome any obstacle.

Charisma is the most important component in the larger concept of transformational leadership. Charismatic leaders served as symbols of success and accomplishment for their followers. The leader attracts intense feelings of love (and sometimes hatred) from his or her subordinates. They want to identify with the leader. The ability to inspire – arouse emotions, animate, enliven, or even exalt – is an important aspects of charisma. Inspirational leadership involves the arousal and heightening of motivation among followers. Followers can be inspired by a cold, calculating, intellectual discourse, the brilliance of a breakthrough, or the beauty of an argument.

Yet it is the followers’ emotions that ultimately have been aroused. Followers may hold an intellectual genius in awe and reverence, but the inspirational influence on them is emotional. Individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation are pillars of transformational leadership. Delegating challenging work and increasing subordinate responsibilities are particularly useful approaches to individual development. Personal influence and the one-on-one superior-subordinate relationship is of primary importance to the development of leaders. An organizational culture of individualism, even of elitism, should be encouraged; an organization should focus attention on identifying prospective leaders among subordinates.

Individual consideration is reflected when a manager keeps each employee fully informed about what is happening and why-preferably in a two way conversation rather than a written memo. Employees come to feel that they are on the inside of developments and do not remain bystanders. Intellectual stimulation arouses in followers the awareness of problems and how they may be solved. It promotes the hygiene of logic that is compelling and convincing. It stirs the imagination and generates thoughts and insights. It is not the call to immediate action aroused by emotional stimulation. This intellectual stimulation is seen in a discrete leap in the followers’ conceptualization, comprehension, and discernment of the nature of the problems they face and their solutions. The transformational leader may be less willing to accept the status quo and more likely to seek new ways of doing things while taking maximum advantage of opportunities.

Charismatic Leadership

Weber (1947) describes as charismatic those leaders who ‘reveal a transcendent mission or course of action which may be in itself appealing to the potential followers, but which is acted on because the followers believe their leader is extraordinarily gifted (p. 358). This ‘gift’ of charisma is seldom specified and generally held to be some mysterious quality that defies definition. In actuality the ‘gift’ is likely to be a complex interaction of personal characteristics, the behavior the leader employs, characteristics of followers, and certain situational factors prevailing at the time of the assumption of the leadership role.

After studying literature on charismatic leadership, House (1977) made five propositions.

First, he pointed out that the literature on charismatic leadership repeatedly attributes three personal characteristics to leaders who have charismatic effects, namely: extremely high levels of self-confidence, dominance, and a strong conviction in the moral righteousness of his or her beliefs.

Second, the more favorable the perceptions of the potential follower toward a leader the more the follower will model: (a) the valences of the leader; (b) the expectations of the leader that effective performance will result in desired or undesired outcomes for the follower; (c) the emotional responses of the leader to work related stimuli; (d) the attitudes of the leader toward work and toward the organization.

Third, leaders who have charismatic effects are more likely to engage in behaviors designed to create the impression of competence and success than leaders who do not have such effects.

Fourth, leaders who have charismatic effects are more likely to articulate ideological goals than leaders who do not have such effects.

And, fifth, leaders who simultaneously communicate high expectations of, and confidence in followers are more likely to have followers who accept the goals of the leader and believe that they can contribute to goal accomplishment and are more likely to have followers who strive to meet specific and challenging performance standards.

Power and Leadership

The process of power is pervasive, complex, and often disguised in our society. French & Raven (1959) tried to identify the major types of power and to define them systematically so that we may compare them according to the changes which they produce and the other effects which accompany the use of power. The phenomena of power and influence involve a dyadic relation between two agents who may be viewed from two points of view:

(a) What determines the behavior of the agent who exerts power?

(b) What determines the reactions of the recipient of this behavior?  They distinguished five types of power: referent power, expert power, reward power, coercive power, and legitimate power.  They went on to explain each power.

Reward power is defined as power whose basis is the ability to reward. The strength of reward power increases with the magnitude of the rewards which follower perceives that a leader can mediate for him. Reward power depends on leader’s ability to administer positive valences and to remove or decrease negative valences. The strength of reward power also depends upon the probability that leader can mediate the reward, as perceived by the follower. Coercive power is similar to reward power in that it also involves leader’s ability to manipulate the attainment of valences. Coercive power stems from the expectation on the part of follower that he will be punished by the leader if he fails to conform to the influence attempt.

Thus negative valence will exist in given regions of follower’s life space, corresponding to the threatened punishment by leader. The strength of coercive power depends on the magnitude of the negative valence of the threatened punishment multiplied by the perceived probability that follower can avoid punishment by conformity. Legitimate power is probably the most complex of those treated here. Legitimate power is defined as that power which stems from internalized values in follower which dictate that leader has a legitimate right to influence follower and that follower has an obligation to accept this influence. The researchers noted that legitimate power is very much similar to the notion of legitimacy of authority which has long been explored by sociologists. Cultural values, acceptance of social structure, designation are the basis for legitimate power. The referent power has its basis in the identification of follower with leader. By identification, the researchers mean a feeling of oneness of follower with leader, or a desire for such an identity.

If leader is a person toward whom follower is highly attracted, follower will have a desire to become closely associated with leader. If leader is an attractive group, follower will have a feeling of membership or desire to join. This would mean that the greater the attraction, the greater the identification, and consequently the greater the referent power. The strength of expert power varied with the extent of the knowledge or perception which follower attributes to leader within a given area. Probably follower evaluates leader’s expertness in relation to his own knowledge as well as against an absolute standard. Expert power will produce a new cognitive structure which is initially relatively dependent on leader, but informational influence will produce a more independent structure.

Servant Leadership

Greenleaf (1977) coined the term servant as leader out of reading Herman Hesse’s Journey to the East. In this story, he found a band of men on a mystical journey, probably also Hesse’s own journey. The central figure of the story is Leo who accompanies the party as the servant who dies their menial chores, but who also sustains them with his spirit and his song. To him, the story clearly said that the great leader is seen as servant first, and that simple fact is the key to his greatness. He suggested that a new morale principle shall emerge which holds that the only authority deserving one’s allegiance is that which is freely and knowing granted by led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader.

Those who choose to follow this principle will not casually accept the authority of existing institutions. Rather they will freely respond only to individuals who are chosen as leaders because they are proven and trusted servant. The servant leader is servant first and then leader. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.

Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. He is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve – after leadership is established. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.  The natural servant, the person who is servant first, is more likely to persevere and refine his hypothesis on what serves another’s highest priority needs than is the person who is leader first and who later serves out of prompting of conscious or in conformity with normative expectations.


As we have seen, over a period of time, different researchers have approached subjects from various directions, none of them sure that what was happening at other directions. Many of them were first among the others to identify the parameters which had high impact on the success of leadership, rest were just carrying out unfulfilled task of others. Most of the researches were conducted in 60s and 70s, and subsequently carried forwarded in 80s and 90s, even in early of 21st century, the subject remains as complex as it was. The world has changed drastically from early age of agriculture and has become information and digital age. The question remains whether those works of early 70s and 80s has equal application in this era or not?


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The second group (feelings and interrelationships) deals with authority, the feeling that he or she belongs in boss’s role; activity, takes a vigorous orientation to problems and needs of the organization; achievement, oriented toward organization’s success rather than personal aggrandizement; sensitivity, able to perceive subtleties of others’ feelings; involvement, sees oneself as a participating member of an organization; maturity, good relationships with authority figures; interdependence, needs of others as well as of him or herself; articulateness, makes a good impression; stamina, physical and mental energy; adaptability, managing stress; sense of humor, not too serious.



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