This is a very much studied theory on leadership. LMX theory defines leadership based on the process of the interactions between the leaders and the followers. Its pivotal concept is the relationship between the leader and his followers. The first phase in the study of LMX involves the vertical dyads of leader-member relationship wherein in-groups members are the subordinates who exert extra efforts in following the leaders and thereby earning rewards for it (such as extra influence, rewards, opportunities, etc.) The second phase is the leader-member exchanges wherein their relationships are studied in order to see how this affects the organizational performance. The recent studies have been focused on the leadership making, wherein the stress sis on the development of high quality exchanges between leaders and followers.
The positive characteristics of the LMX theory include the following: a strong descriptive approach which explains how leaders use some subordinates (in-group members) more than the others (out group members) to fulfill the organizational tasks effectively. It is also a unique theory since the focal point is the leader-member relationship. It also stresses the important role of effective communications in good organizational performance.
However, the LMX theory is criticized to be counter to the principles of fairness and justice in the workplace since it has in-group and out-group members wherein the former receives greater attention and rewards. It also fails to show how one leader should make high quality exchanges between himself and his followers. Lastly, these theory’s measurement procedures are inadequate to fully grasp the complexities of the leader-member exchange process.
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Transformational leadership is one of the most contemporary and most encompassing approaches to leadership. It emphasizes the process by which certain leaders inspire followers to accomplish great things. It heeds leaders to adapt and understand the needs of their followers. The transformational leader is one who is believed to be good role models because they act as agents of change. This type of leader can create and express a clear vision for the group. He empowers his subordinates to follow high standards and act in a way that makes others want to trust him.
This type of leadership theory can be evaluated through the use of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) which assesses a leader’s behavior through seven distinct areas: charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individual consideration, contingent reward, management by exception, and laissez-faire behavior.
The strengths of this theory lies in its being acknowledged as one of the stronger theories on leadership, its intuitive appeal, its emphasis on the value of the followers, among others. Meanwhile, it lacks conceptual clarity, its elitism and inequity, etc. It is also criticized for its “heroic tendency” bias. Even so, this approach is widely applied.
Team leadership theory has been revitalized since the renewed attention to the significance of organizational teams and the leadership required for the team to work effectively. The team leadership model gives a framework in which to study the systematic factors which support the team outcomes or general performance or effectiveness.
Under this approach, the overall crucial function of the leader is to help the team achieve its goals through monitoring and diagnosing the group and taking necessary steps. This approach has a subset – a strategic rational model which reveal the various decisions which the leader make in order to develop the team’s effectiveness. This model defines the decision which the group takes as to what type of intervention should be used, what the level of the intervention must be, what leadership function must be implemented to further enhance the group’s functions.
It is positive that this approach needs no more testing and explication. The strength of this approach is that it is practically focused on actual organizations and how effective they are. The model also stresses the functions and roles of leadership which can be shared and distributed within the group. This model presents guidance in choosing leaders and team members through a proper diagnostic and action taking skills. Also, this model is properly complex; it provides a cognitive model for knowing and researching about the organization’s team.
The psychodynamic approach is based on the assessments of the personalities of the leaders and his followers. It is very different from the previous models which started to analyze leadership by studying the traits, behaviors, skills, or styles of leaders. It has several available ways of identifying personality characteristics.
Research shows that some personalities are aptly suited for leadership i.e. management positions and executive roles. Particularly, the thinker type of personality in the Jungian psychology fits the description of the suited leader. With Maccoby’s psychological works, we can also infer that the narcissist type of personality is more suited for a management role in a modern organization. Inherently, this approach suggests that other personality types may be more suited to certain kinds of positions or organizations.
This approach is used to motivate leaders and followers to become conscious of their types of personalities and to be mindful of their traits as they interact with their coworkers. The strengths of this approach include its emphasis on the relationship between the leaders and the followers. It also adopts the universality of the ego states and personality types. Another major strength is its high degree of awareness which reduces the degree of manipulation and control by the leaders. Meanwhile, this approach does not lend itself to training because the personalities are inherent to individuals. Since some of the workings of the psychological traits emerged from abnormal people, there are various personality ranges and descriptions which do not seem to fit an average or normal person.
Researchers have been studying the gender leadership since the 1970’s. Their insights show that women are somewhat more likely to be using the democratic or the transformational types of leadership than males. There are also slight disadvantages for women in the masculine fields. They also greatly use the effective transformation and contingent reward behaviors.
Women are mainly unrepresented in major leadership positions. This invisible barrier which has kept them away from the elitist leadership program is often referred to as the “glass ceiling”. Researchers believe that by removing the glass ceiling, women will have more opportunity and equal opportunity will redound to greater pool of talents and diversity and then success.
This can be defended by the women’s lack of human capital investment in education, training and work experience. There is no evidence that they are less educated and that they follow the mommy track (or quitting their jobs to take care of their family). Another important explanation is that women tend to be less aggressive in initiating negotiations and they are less likely to self-promote themselves than males.
The gender stereotypes are detrimental to women in leadership. There is incongruence in the female gender role and the role of leaders and women are often prejudiced. However, the gender biases have been slowly being phased out by the various approaches to breaking the glass ceiling.
This chapter is all about culture and leadership. It discusses various researches on culture, its features, and the influences of culture on the leadership process. Culture is described as shared beliefs, values, and norms of a group of people. There are two factors which reduces cultural relativism and these are ethnocentrism and prejudice.
Ethnocentrism is the human tendency to put one’s own group at the center of observation of other people and the environment. This is a great challenge to leaders because it prevents them from completely understanding the world of others. Interestingly, prejudice consists of judgments about other people based on one’s preconceived and fixed attitudes about them which are often unsubstantiated notions. Prejudice is a negative practice and it is self-centered. It also delimits the leaders’ ability to see the good traits, qualities and general aspects of others.
In an extensive study of GLOBE representing 17,000 managers from 62 different countries, there are six types of global leadership behavior which could identify the differences between cultural groups in terms of their leadership features. These include: charismatic/value based; team oriented; participative; humane-oriented; autonomous; and self-protective leadership. These leadership characteristics or features are universally accepted and both have positive and negative impact.
There is scant theoretical research on the nature of leadership ethics. This chapter presents a generalization of the ethical theories as they see fit to the leadership process. Ethics play a central role in the leadership process. Leaders have an enormous ethical responsibility because their followers follow them. They exert influences and power over them. Leaders also need to motivate and engage their followers for them to finish the tasks. Hence, it is but necessary that leaders treat their subordinates with dignity and respect. Leaders also play a main role in establishing the ethical environment within their organization or group.
Research on ethics and leadership has strengths and weaknesses. It provides some clear directions as to how leaders should apply ethics in their jobs. This also emphasizes the moral responsibility inserted into leadership. Leadership is a moral process and this must place ethics in the core topics of leadership research and studies.
On the negative side, this research stage of ethics in leadership is still very much in its infantile stage. There have been few studies on the nature ethical leadership at this juncture. This research topic has also relied on certain individuals whose researches have been primarily descriptive and historical. Despite this, the ethical leadership research is still very wide open for future studies. There is a strong need to further our understanding of the role of ethics in the leadership process.
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