Applying Leadership Theory to Leadership Practice dissertation

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Applying Leadership Theory to Leadership Practice

In this paper the writer researches and writes a literature review on a Applying Leadership Theory to Leadership Practice. The research paper is a comprehensive thematic review of the scholarly literature related to the topic. The leadership theories to focus on are: Path-Goal Theory; Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory; Psychodynamic Approach Theory; outcome and situational leadership; Leadership focused on effectiveness and productivity; Leadership and Body language; and lastly, the Synergistic Leadership Theory.

The mechanisms through which leadership and power may be put into effect and "travel" within a group of people: bottom-up; Top-down; lateral (termed as shared leadership); and integrated (a combination of top-down, bottom-up, and lateral leadership), can be described using the leadership models explained in this paper. The top-down model; is a seductive siren song associated to the real-life performance of leadership in organizations. Thus many research and practitioners believe that leadership is concentrated on top-down model (Craig, Jay and Edwin, 2008).

The shared leadership theory explains and addresses a dynamic give-and-take, and therefore leadership is much complicated process. A number of integrated models are not inconsistent with the shared leadership's definition: Shared leadership is "an active, interactive influence process between individuals in groups whose main objective is to guide one another to the fulfillment of organizational or group goals or may be both. The integrated model that you termed in the final conclusions gives a good view of leadership and we significantly agree to it. Lateral or peer influence, and at many times upward or downward hierarchical influence is involved in this influence process" (Pearce & Conger, 2003 as cited in Craig, Jay and Edwin, 2008). Although many share the same thoughts in many areas, but there are some areas where some ideas do not match (Craig, Jay and Edwin, 2008).

In this paper the writer researches and writes a literature review on a Applying Leadership Theory to Leadership Practice. The research paper is a comprehensive thematic review of the scholarly literature related to the topic. The leadership theories to focus on are: Path-Goal Theory; Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory; Psychodynamic Approach Theory; outcome and situational leadership; Leadership focused on effectiveness and productivity; Leadership and Body language; and lastly, the Synergistic Leadership Theory.

1. Leader-member exchange theory

Dyadic process of developing an expectations and responsibilities for the leader so that he can work accordingly with all of his subordinates is known as the theory of LMX (Leader-member exchange). The exchange relationship with all the subordinates in not the same. Using this theory, there is development of both high and low exchange relationships. In exchange relationship with low quality, the subordinates are not provided with any extra benefits as they their job consists of performing only those requirements that are formal. However, if the exchange relationship is of high quality, the subordinates are given rewards, extra responsibilities and tasks that are of interest to them. This shows that between the subordinates and the leader, there is a certain level of respect, liking, trust and common exchange of expectations. Here the subordinates are also loyal and dedicated to their work. These exchange relationships develop gradually. The positive attitude of the subordinates and the leader is of great importance (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009).

Uhl-Bein and Graen (1995 as cited in Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009) had suggested that the exchange relationships between subordinates and the leader should have high quality. Before that, LMX theory suggested that similar exchange relationships were not favorable for the leader. The leader should try to develop exchange relationship of high quality with maximum possible subordinates. According to Day and Gerstner (1997 as cited in Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009), the LMX outcomes of meta-analysis suggested that if the performance of the subordinates is good, there is job satisfaction, role clarity and organizational commitment and if there is satisfaction with the job, then the LMX could be positive (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009).

Outcomes and antecedents of LMX

Organizations where LMX is positive, the job stress is low, safety of the workplace is more and level of innovation is higher. This was observed by Liden and Erdogan (2002 as cited in Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009). Outcomes of LMX are more focused compared to the antecedents in many studies on correlates of the LXM. Studies on the antecedents had examines the qualities of the member and leader. These qualities include demographic similarity and cognitive style. The behavior of the leader being an antecedent of the LMX is rarely examined in the studies. Cashman and Graen (1975 as cited in Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009) have observes that at an initial stage on the LMX, the leaders work in such a way that could bring improvements in exchange relationships with all the subordinates. In addition, analysis issues were also included at the initial stage of this theory so that the subordinates can rate the behavior of the leader. The leader is also an antecedent and not much attention is given to him considering him at this position, many subordinates have also criticized the behavior of those leaders that use a behavior pattern in which subordinates are treated differently (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009).

Research on leader behavior and LMX

The behavior of the leader is only discussed as a description of MLQ (Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire whereas transformational leadership has been emphasized in many studies related to the behavior of the leader. In many versions, four basic behaviors do not seem to be changing. These are intellectual stimulation (emphasizing to think innovatively), idealized influence (setting an example with symbolic behavior), inspirational motivation (having a clear vision) and individualized consideration (offer coaching, encouragement and support) but a change was observed in transformational behavior as there were consecutive questionnaire revisions (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009).

Composite scores are used by many researchers when they study ways of relating transformational relation with different variables. It is because there is a high correlation of scale score for behavior of the components. LMX is an example of the variables used (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009; Scheriesheim et al., 2006).

Many researchers concluded that there was a relation between LMX and a complex measure of the transformational leadership. Independence of particular kinds of transformational behavior of leader to the LMX was examined in just one study. In several regression analysis, an important positive relation was founded by Deluga (1992 as cited in Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009). This relationship was with the LMX for an idealized influence (b 1/4-0.31) and individualized consideration (b 1/4-0.48). However, intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation were excluded (Taber, O'Donnell and Yukl, 2009; Scheriesheim et al., 2006).

But there were hardly any studies where relationship between two kinds of leader behavior and LMX were included. These two behaviors of the leaders are not transformational. Study conducted by Schriesheim et al. (1998) and Fu and Yukl (1999) stated that LMX was related to discussing about the decisions with the subordinates in which they might be affected. Ansari et al. (2007) stated that LMX was also related to the delegation of authority to the subordinates by the leaders (Yukl, O'Donnell and Taber, 2009).

2. Outcome and situational leadership

Two dimensions are included in the theory related to the behavior of leadership which is structure and relation-orientation. This is derived from the factor analysis. Leadership is very essential for the organizations (Yukl, 2006; Juran, 1989; Arnetz, 2005; Leiter & Maslach, 1997; Arvonen, 2002). Because the dimensions of leadership behavior are related to various outcomes of the organization, therefore, between the dimensions is a balance. Several researchers have discussed about these outcomes considering different situations (Vinberg and Larsson, 2010).

There are different behaviors about effectiveness of leadership behaviors in organizations. Some analysts support contingency perspective, where they advise molding behaviors according to situations and desired results (Arvonen, 2002; Arvonen & Pettersson, 2002; Hersey & Blanchard, 1969, 1982a, 1982b; Reddin, 1970). While some other analysts believe that high-high (also known as 9, 9) in both aspects lead to best results in terms of organizational performance (e.g. Andersen, 1994; Blake & Mouton, 1985; Lennerlo f, 1968; Misumi, 1989; Misumi & Peterson, 1985). It is, therefore, difficult to determine the preference of contingency theory and universal theory for effective organizations.

There is another dimension of change orientation, which is found comparatively less in the literature. It was introduced in 1990s and was based on change pressure developed within the society. Organizations themselves witness this change pressure (as cited in Larsson and Vinberg, 2010).

3. Leadership related to effectiveness and productivity

The concept prevailing in the literature of leadership is its huge perceived impact upon organizational effectiveness2 (Andersen, 1995). However, various authors have identified the relationship between these two variables in different ways (e.g. Andersen, 1994; Arvonen, 2002; Arvonen & Pettersson, 2002; Blake & Mouton, 1985; Fiedler, 1971; Hersey & Blanchard, 1969, 1982a, 1982b; Lennerlof, 1968; Misumi, 1989; Misumi & Peterson, 1985; Reddin, 1970). In the views of Andersen (1995, p. 264), the association between these two variables is not properly proved by…[continue]

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