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Leadership

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Leadership

A Synoptic Report

Introduction

Over the ages, there have been many theories and models about leadership, its style, and its applications. From the Great Man theory to the Situational Leadership model, great scientists, philosophers, and managers have pondered the question of how an effective leader comes about. The human psyche is relatively uncharted territory; it will definitely take ages to finally come to a conclusion of what makes a leader, and what leadership model best fits leadership in general or a certain situation. The following is a compilation of leadership articles as a summary of their main points and conjectures.

Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-analysis (Eagly & Johnson, 2006)

Alice H. Eagly and Blair T. Johnson conclude that the leadership style findings that were generated in their experimental settings tend to be gender stereotypic. That is, male and female leaders often differ in laboratory experiments because they are placed in situations where they are interacting with strangers and are not exposed to the long-term role relationships which develop in a working environment. It was therefore found that when social behavior is regulated by other, less diffuse social roles, as seen in organizational settings, behavior should primarily reflect the influence of the other roles and incidentally lose much of that gender-stereotypic character.

In this meta-analysis, it was found that women’s leadership style were more democratic than men’s; even in organizational settings. This is indicative of the underlying differences in female and male personality, such as a woman’s above-average social skills, or skills or subtle differences in the status of women and men who occupy the same organizational role. It was additionally concluded, on the basis of experts on leader effectiveness, that this effectiveness of leadership styles is contingent on features of the group or organizational environment, therefore, they are unwilling to argue that women’s relatively democratic and participative style is either and advantage or disadvantage.

The Role of Self-monitoring and Gender on Leader Emergence: A Laboratory and Field Study (Dobbins, Long, Dedrick, & Clemons, 2006)

In this group of studies, it is suggested that self-monitoring may be the leadership trait that was earlier identified by Kenny and Zaccaro. The two concluded that leadership is much more stable across situations than their introductory texts would have indicated. They went on to propose that persons who are consistently cast into leadership positions possess the ability to perceive and predict variations in group situations and pattern their own behavior accordingly.

The authors of these studies suggest that future research should be aimed at examining the relationship between self-monitoring and leader effectiveness. They also hypothesize that subordinates may be more willing to exert extra effort to accomplish group goals, be more satisfied with supervision, and more committed to the organization when their leader is a high self-monitor (HSM) rather than a low self-monitor (LSM). They also found an intriguing hypothesis in the proclamation that HSM leaders are more inclined to use referent power than are LSM leaders. They conclude that as group tasks become more structured, the importance of self-monitoring skills alone diminish and are replaced by the need for specific, technical knowledge, therefore, self-monitoring may be more strongly related to leader emergence and effectiveness in unstructured tasks than it is in structured tasks.

Participation, Satisfaction, & Productivity: A Meta-analytic Review (Miller, & Monge, 2006)

This meta-analysis provides some support for the conclusions reached by Locke and Schweiger. They concluded that with respect to the productivity criterion, there is no trend in favor of participative leadership as compared to more directive styles; and with respect to satisfaction, the results generally favor participative over directive methods, although nearly 40 percent of the studies did not find participation to be superior. Miller and Monge found that participation has an effect on both satisfaction and productivity, and its effect on satisfaction is somewhat stronger than its effect on productivity. They also concluded that there is evidence that the participative climate has a more substantial effect on workers’ satisfaction than participation in specific decisions, and that it appears that participation in goal setting does not have a strong effect on productivity.

Their investigation of the Scanlon plan of participative management suggests that the contrast between studies of participation in relation to specific issues suggest that organizations with formal systems of participation may differ greatly from organizations in which participativeness is an informal managerial norm. Finally, they claim that the meta-analytical procedure itself could be usefully extended to allow

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