Compare and Contrast Any Two Theories of Leadership

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Compare and contrast any two theories of leadership

In the following essay I will look at leadership, its definition and compare and contrast two theories behind it. I will firstly see if there is a distinction between leadership and management as suggested by John Kotter(1990) who goes on further to stress that organisations require both a leader and a manager but the function can be provided by a single individual. I will then look at some definitions of leadership such as that by Bryman(1999), “The process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal attainment”. The two leadership theories which I will compare and contrast are transactional and transformational. I will also look at other factors such as organisational type and gender and see what impact they have on the above theories. I will finally conclude with what I have found and understood from researching this topic.

What is leadership and is it different from management? Before I examine any theories on this subject it is important to understand what is meant by leadership. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (2010), gives“the set of characteristics that make a good” as one of its three definitions for leadership. Belbin (1981) suggests that leadership is not only about the job but also about the quality that could be brought to the job through leadership. I understand leadership to be a method or process by a group or individual to produce desired outcomes. This is on par with Bryman’s (1999) definition as quoted in the introduction. So how does this differ from management? The dictionary definition of “the technique or practice of managing or controlling”, Collins (2003) and this is similar in other references. Adair (1997) asks “What does it matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”. Perhaps the two terms are interchangeable as they both rely on the application of influence to get a workforce to commit to...
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