Leadership Styles In Western Business Essay

3366 words - 14 pages

Introduction:Leadership is a critical issue and can be understood in different perspectives and different contexts. It would be difficult to give leadership a general definition because many authors have tried without reaching a consensus."Our images of leadership are entirely personal" wrote Georgiades and Macdonell (1998).In terms of management, Robbins and DeCenzo (2005) referred to leadership as influencing others and possessing managerial authority. There are countless definitions of leadership and still no general conclusion.Moreover the western theories of leadership do not cover sufficiently the structures prevalent in Asia and Africa.This work would thus not be focusing on ...view middle of the document...

For example the fact that an approach to leadership in the manufacturing industry in a particular country succeeds does not mean it would succeed in the aviation industry of the same country.According to Mullins (2005) there are two further limitations with this approach• First, there is bound to be some subjective judgement in determining who is regarded as a 'good' or 'successful' leader.• Second, the lists of possible traits tend to be very long and there is not always agreement on the most important.As interest in the trait approach to leadership declined, researchers focused their attention on the leader's actions rather than their attributes, which led to the emergence of the behaviourist theories which took into consideration of that leaders do instead of should do. The behaviour approach also did not answer all questions, as :• There is no clear relationship between behaviour and performance outcomes.• It has failed to find a universal behaviour suitable for all situations.Due to the disillusionment with the fore-mentioned trait theory, the situational approach arose, which suggested that the traits required of a leader differed, according to varying situations. The situational approach, which predominated in the 1950s, held that whether a given person became a leader of a group, had nothing to do with his/her personality, but had everything to do with such factors as the flow of events and circumstances surrounding a group. To put it simply, the leader was a person who was in the right place at the right time. Rather than a great man causing a great event to happen, the situational approach claims that great events are the product of historical forces that are gong to happen whether specific leaders are present or not (Adair, 1984) Unfortunately, this theory still did not answer, why one member of a group emerged as the leader, rather than another, or why one particular leader proved to be a better leader in some situations than another.Fiedler's contingency theory of leadership effectiveness was one theory, which evolved from this interactions approach. It related the effectiveness of the leader, to aspects of the situation in which the group operated, suggesting that factors such as the task structure, the leaders personal relations with the group and his/her power basis, interact to determine what style of leadership would be effective for the situation, i.e. a task-oriented or group-oriented approach.Differences between the West and the East:Current theories of leadership, and leadership rhetoric, in the West place high value also on teamwork, empowerment, performance management, rationality, delegation, listening and learning (Conger, 1989; Ford and Fottler, 1995).The problem is that the amount of hype surrounding such putative features of management implies that it is a hard sell, even in its place of origin. Transformational leadership in the West, including the USA (Kotter, 1990), is more a construct of the...

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