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Grint, K. (1997) ‘Leadership: A contested Construct’, in Grint, K. (ed.) Leadership: Classical, Contemporary, and Critical Approaches, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 27-36

Leadership: A Constested Consruct – Keith Grint

Grint’s divisions of leadership theories:

The first division concerns attributed to the individual or to the situation or context that the individual id in. Some leadership theories seem to centre solely on the characteristic of leaders regardless of the situation, whereas others do the opposite. Other theories involve an interaction between these two domains. The second of the divisions lies in the traditional split between objective and subjective assumptions about knowledge and data. Grint believes in inappropriate to view the literature in four separate and distinct quadrants: trait, situational, contingent, constitutive. Trait leadership theory.

This approach focuses on the individual leader and assumes that is possible to indentify and understand the various characteristics that leaders need. It can be defined as the leader’s distinguishing characteristics. These include intelligence, values, confidence, charisma and appearance. This approach has the benefit of surfacing the sorts of characteristics that leaders tend to possess, but, as Grint discovered, this list can quickly become unmanageable. Consequently, the trait approach offers little help to people wishing to improve their leadership qualities: you have either got it, or you have not. However, in 1986 LORD, De Vader and Alliger discovered 6 traits, which distinguished leaders from others: intelligence, extroversion-introversion, masculinity-femininity, interpersonal sensitively, dominance, and conservatism. Their conclusion was that leaders tend to be more intelligence, extrovert and ‘masculine’ than non-leaders. In 1991, an alternative review by Kirkpatrick and Locke suggested that six traits distinguished leaders from non-leaders: drive...
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