Learning Objectives



Who Are Leaders and What Is Leadership

        Define leaders and leadership.

        Explain why managers should be leaders.


Early Leadership Theories

        Discuss what research has shown about leadership traits.

        Contrast the findings of the four behavioral leadership theories.

        Explain the dual nature of a leader’s behavior.


Contingency Theories of Leadership

        Explain how Fiedler’s theory of leadership is a contingency model.

        Discuss how path-goal theory explains leadership.


Contemporary Views on Leadership

        Differentiate between transactional and transformational leaders.


Leadership Issues in the Twenty-First Century

        Tell the five sources of a leader’s power.

        Explain why leadership is sometimes irrelevant.



Definition: The Manager as leader (R&C p.518)


Leadership: the process of influencing a group to achieve goals. (R&C, Management, 9th ed.)


Leadership is the process of influencing others to work willingly towards an organization's goals, and to the best of their ability.


"Leadership is the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization. Since people tends to follow those whom they see as a means of satisfying their own personal goals, the more managers understand what motivates their subordinates and how these motivations operate, and the more they reflect this understanding in carrying out their managerial actions, the more effective leaders they are likely to be." (Koontz, O'Donnell and Weihrich)

Now you can talk:


Which one of the above definitions do you think is the best? Why?




Early Leadership Theories (R&C p. 518 ~ 530)


Trait Theories (R&C, p518)


A simple approach is to believe that certain qualities, personality characteristics or traits were the ones which make a good leader.


Drive; desire to lead; honesty and integrity; self-confidence; intelligence and job-relevant knowledge have been found to be associated with successful leadership. Yet these traits alone are not sufficient for explaining leadership. A successful leader has to take the right actions which are determined by the circumstance.


·        This approach fails to identify a set of traits that would always differentiate leaders from followers and effective leaders from ineffective leaders.


·        Other weakness:



Behavioral Theories (Style Theories) (R&C, p519 ~ 523, see R&C Exhibit 17-2)


·        Specific behaviors differentiate leaders from non-leaders


University of Iowa Studies (Kurt Lewin)


·        Identified three leadership styles:

o       Autocratic style: centralized authority, low participation

o       Democratic style: involvement, high participation, feedback

o       Laissez faire style: hands-off management

·        Research findings: mixed results

o       No specific style was consistently better for producing better performance

o       Employees were more satisfied under a democratic leader than an autocratic leader.


Ohio State Studies:


·        A high-high leader, that is a leader who is high in consideration (e.g. help subordinate with personal problems, being friendly and approachable), and initiating structure (e.g., organize work, work relationships, and goals) achieves high subordinate performance and satisfaction than leaders who are low on either or both factors.

·        However, enough exceptions were found to indicate that situational factors needed to be integrated into the theory.


The University of Michigan Studies:


·        Leaders who are employee oriented (i.e. emphasizing interpersonal relations) are associated with higher group productivity and higher job satisfaction than production-oriented (i.e. emphasizing accomplishing the group's task) leader.


The Management Grid (Blake & Mouton) (See Exhibit 17-3)


·        Based on a 9X9 matrix with dimensions of concern for people and concern for production. Leader who are high on both dimensions (the 9, 9 manager) facilitates task efficiency and high morale by coordinating and integrating work-related activates always perform best.


·        This is basically a framework to conceptualize leadership style and there is little evidence to explain why 9, 9 is the most effective style in all situations.



Overall, the behavioural theories fail to identify consistent relationships between patterns of leadership behavior and successful performance.


Contingency or Situational theories (R&C p. 523 ~ 530)


Fiedler's Contingency Theory (R&C, p.523 ~ 525, see R&C Exhibit 17-4)


·        F E Fiedler developed a theory that consists of three elements


·        2 Styles of leader


·        3 factors that determine leadership situation


·        That is the situation is most favorable if the leader-member has a close relationship, the task is highly structured and the leader has high position power.


·        The Model:


·        Importance:


Now you can talk:


If you like to watch movies or TV, can you remember example of how a leader uses different styles under different situations?


I can think of at least three movies: Saving Private Ryan, King Arthur, and Lord of the Ring.




Path-Goal Theory (House) (R&C, p.528 ~ 530, see Exhibit 17-7)


·        It is the leader's job to assist his followers in attaining their goals and to provide the necessary direction and/or support to ensure that their goals are compatible with the overall objectives of the group or organization.


·        House assume leaders are flexible and can choose among 4 types of leader behavior:

1. Directive: give specific guidance

2. Supportive: similar to consideration in Ohio State study

3. Participative: consult and make decision together

4. Achievement-oriented: set challenging goals


·        The contingency factors are Environmental contingency factor (Task structure; formal authority system, work group) and Subordinate contingency factors (locus of control, experience, perceived ability)


·        The outcomes of the leader’s behavior are measured by performance and satisfaction of the followers.


·        The theory proposes that leader behavior will be ineffective when it is redundant with resources of environmental structure or incongruent with subordinate characteristics.


·        Lesson: Leader's behavior is acceptable to subordinates insofar as they view it as a source of either immediate or future satisfaction.


Contemporary views on leadership


·        Transactional Leadership

l          Leaders who guide or motivate their followers in the direction of established goals by exchanging rewards for their productivity.

·        Transformational Leadership

l          Leaders who inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the organization by clarifying role and task requirements.

l          Leaders who also are capable of having a profound and extraordinary effect on their followers.


Managing Power (R&C, p436~438)


Sources of leader's influence on followers are power such as:


Now you can talk:


Can you name a leader and analyze why he/she is an effective/ineffective leader?




The usefulness of leadership theories


·        These theories may encourage better management, but they are incapable of making better leaders.


·        It is doubtful if these theories can in fact change an individual's behavior:


         Sometimes Leadership is irrelevant when there are substitutes for Leadership

o       Follower characteristics : Experience, training, professional orientation, or the need for independence

o       Job characteristics: Routine, unambiguous, and satisfying jobs

o       Organization characteristics: Explicit formalized goals, rigid rules and procedures, or cohesive work groups


Source: Robbins & Coulter, 2007, Management, 9th ed., Prentice Hall.


Self learning activities


1. Have you seen the movie "Saving Private Ryan" starring Tom Hank as Captain Miller? Comment on the three situations when he had to make major decisions:


Note how the decisions were made and how his subordinates reacted to the consequences.


2. Do you remember the incident of KCR (around 2006/Mar/12), what can we learn from this incident regarding leadership?


Last modified: 2007/Feb/08