French et al (1985) developed the behavioural approach of leadership. French et al studied leaders and made generalisations about their behaviour as well as considering the implications for current and future leaders. French et al developed a table where 17 generalisations about leaders were described. Among them was the fact that role models of leaders could greatly influence the behaviour of others. Also mentioned was the fact that power was essential to good leadership. One source of power suggested was being in an official position, for example the head of a company.
French et al also suggested that good communication skills, in particular persuasion techniques were essential to a good leader. It was highlighted that leadership is not a one-way process but it is a process of social exchanges between leaders and followers over time. French et al also stated that retaining or keeping leadership status is often more difficult than attaining it because the needs of followers may change over time and a different leader with different qualities may be required.
Another generalisation made was the fact that how likeable a leader is is greatly important to begin but over time other factors come into effect, such as ability and competence. One final generalisation discussed was the fact that you are not necessarily born a leader but you can learn effective leadership behaviour in order to become a successful leader. French et al state that effective leadership depends partly on the support and encouragement given to them by their bosses. French et al determined three style of leadership: authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire.
Authoritarian leaders were those where everything was determined by the leader themselves, little or no discussion would take place with the followers. Activities would be dictated by the leader so future plans would always be uncertain. The leader would tell each follower what they were to do and how they were to do it. Finally, the leader would tend to remain isolated from active group discussion. A democratic leader is someone who believes all activities are a matter of group discussion and group decision-making.
Steps towards achieving group goals would be discussed during meetings and the leader would always suggest two or three alternatives towards achieving those goals, people would then vote on which alternative they liked most. All followers would be allowed to work with who ever they wanted and the leader would always be objective when praising or criticising others. A laissez-faire leader encourages freedom of group or individual decisions with little leader participation. A leader would supply information about tasks but would take no further part in the discussion process.
Finally no attempt to praise or criticise others would take no place apart from the occasional comment or remark. Another theory that uses the behavioural approach was developed by Lewin et al. They claim that leadership is a product of the style that the leader adopts. The effectiveness of a leader depends not on who they are but on what they do. Leadership styles can therefore be adapted to the situation. Lewin trained youth leaders to use one of three leadership styles whilst supervising boys making theatrical masks.
They were democratic, authoritarian and laissez-faire (as mentioned earlier with French et al). The autocratic leaders told the boys what to do, but did not give any demonstration. A formal atmosphere was kept and the leader was strict and did not encourage questions. Democratic leaders obtained a less formal atmosphere. The task was explained and a demonstration was given. The leader chatted and encouraged them to ask for advice and worked with the boys to help. Laissez-faire leaders were detached from the group. The task was given and the leaders’ intervention was kept to a minimum.
The leader was disinterested and gave the impression he did not care. The leaders were told to use one style with one group and another style with a different group. All styles were used on different occasions. The boys responded to the style of leadership not the individual: Autocratic led boys produced good work when leader was present, but worked less hard and became aggressive towards each other when they were not present. Democratic led boys had high group morale and good output whether the leader was present or not. With the laissez-faire leaders the group produced little and had low morale.
In terms of popularity the boys rated the democratic as the best, then the laissez-faire and then the autocratic. Therefore the suggestion was made that democratic styles of leadership were better because they produced both high productivity and worker satisfaction. Fielder (1967) developed a contingency model which argues that effective leadership depends on a match between a leader’s behavioural style and the degree to which the work situation gives control and influence to the leader. In other words, the leader’s style of behaviour must fit with the amount of control and power the leader will have in the work situation.
Fielder’s theory divides leaders based on their primary motivation (task-orientated or relationship-orientated) which he sees as relatively fixed and stable. According to Fielder, certain leaders may be primarily concerned with getting the job done (task-orientated), although they are also concerned with maintaining good group relations. Other leaders focus primarily on relationships and give secondary concern to the task. To measure a leader’s orientation Fielder developed a self report measure known as the LPC (least preferred co-worker).
The leader rates the person with whom they had worked least well. A low score would mean the leader was task-orientated and a high score would mean a relationship-orientated leader. The next step would be to define characteristics of the work situation to find a proper match between leadership style and the situation. Leader-member relations was the first stage, finding out how well liked and respected the leader is by the subordinates. Group members indicate their loyalty for and acceptance of the leader on a good vs. poor rating. Task structure was the next stage.
This assesses how well a job is structured by considering such factors as whether the group’s output can be easily evaluated, whether the group has well-defined goals, and whether clear procedures for reaching those goals exist. Tasks can be defined as “structured” or “unstructured. ” The third stage that Fielder uses to define the situation is position power or the leader’s authority over subordinates, which is usually defined as the leader’s ability to hire, fire discipline, and reward. Position power is assessed as either strong or weak.
The least favourable situation to a leader is when leader-member relations are bad, the tasks are unstructured and the leader has a weak position of power. The most favourable situation for a leader is when leader-member relations are good, tasks are structured and the leader has a strong position of power. Task-orientated leaders with low LPC scores are most effective in situations that are highly favourable or highly unfavourable for the leader. Relationship orientated leaders are most effective in “middle situations” in which the leaders control and influence are neither high or low. b) Evaluate these theories
One issue that can be evaluated for all these theories is ecological validity. With Fielder’s experiment the results can only be applied to a work environment as the theory suggests that it is the people you work with that can influence if you will be a successful leader. Fielder’s theory does not make any suggestions that the features explained in this particular leadership theory will relate to, for example, a political leader as opposed to a leader in a work situation. However, French et al’s theory does appear to have ecological validity because to some extent Lewin et al’s theory relates to the theory developed by French.
For example French et al explained the features of three different types of leader’s there could be in the workplace, then Lewin et al use the three definitions to train leaders who were supervising a group of boys. To some extent the situation is similar as they both involve delivering a task to a group however the people in the group behave very differently. Therefore French et al’s theory can be viewed as more ecologically valid because Lewin et al prove that a similar theory will work when using a different type of audience. Ethics is also an issue that can be evaluated. Lewin et al’s theory was developed after working with children.
From the information I have access to it does not mention anywhere that parent’s consent was required, in order for the study to have been ethical this would have been required. And also the fact that children were used could also question the reliability of the theory. When children are used in an experiment the results obtained are less reliable, and even more so in this situation because when defining the behaviour of people leading a group of children the results obtained will differ greatly when defining the behaviour of people leading a group of people in the workplace.
The reason that the results will differ is because the task given to the children would appear simpler but the role of the leader would be more demanding as children would be harder to control and keep to the task. Therefore the results of the experiment carried out by Lewin et al may not be as reliable as results obtained if the experiment was done with adults. The final area that can be evaluated for the theories above is demand characteristics. This is especially the case with Fielder’s experiment.
The use of a self report measure could have increased the likelihood of demand characteristics in the experiment. The participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire about who they found it easier to work with, the aim of the questionnaire could have been misinterpreted and the participants may have answered according to what they thought was expected of them. The fear of job loss may have been more of a factor when the participants were filling out the questionnaire rather than what the actual aim was and so they may have answered according to what they thought would not upset any work colleagues.
c) Suggest ways of identifying a transformational leader Transformational leaders supposedly use charisma to energize and motivate people to perform beyond their original expectations. They are able to do this by, raising the awareness about certain key outcomes or processes, getting them to place team or organisational goals and interests above their own, and having them adjust their need levels so that they have a stronger drive for responsibility, challenge and personal growth.
Kouzes and Posner (1988) have identified specific attitudes and behaviours that outstanding leaders have in common, for example, these leaders challenge the process: They seek out new opportunities; they innovate, and explore ways to improve the organisation. These leaders also, enable others to act: They actively involve others in planning and permit others to make their own decisions. And also Kouzes and Posner suggest that transformation leaders encourage the heart, i. e. they let others know that their efforts are appreciated and they express pride in their teams accomplishments.
In contrast to this Kinlaw (1989) identified characteristics of “superior” leaders, including: Establishing a vision – they give meaning to work by associating even mental tasks with valued goals. Offering new opportunities to people who have failed is also a feature of a superior leader according to Kinlaw and also leading by example – superior leaders are models of integrity and hard work, they set the highest expectations for themselves and others. In theory, training programmes can teach charismatic skills, which include instruction in the use of exemplary behaviour, appearance and verbal skills.
Leaders can be taught how to express confidence in subordinates, the use of participative leadership, ways of providing independence and goal setting techniques. Whether training can actually allow an organisation to develop transformational leaders is open to question. Some, because of individual characteristics, simply cannot effectively adopt these styles. There is also a danger of manufacturing actors who lack values, vision, and ideas, but can “manipulate” followers.