Style Theory of Leadership

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According to Harold Koontz, “leadership is defined as an art or process of influencing people so that they strive willingly and enthusiastically towards attainment of group goals”. According to Yukl (1994), “leadership is a process which one member of a group influences other group members towards attainment of specific group goals”. Thus, leadership is a process of influencing the behavior of people by making them strive voluntarily towards achievement of organizational goals. The above definition focuses on certain important features of leadership- • Leadership indicates ability of an individual to influence others • It is a group process. A leader is of no use if he has no followers and similarly a group or an organization needs a leader. Thus, both leader and follower play an important role. • It is a process undertaken to achieve certain common goals Leadership as a part of organizational behavior has been a widely researched body of this field. There are a number of leadership theories developed as a result which are; • Trait theories

• Style theories
• Contingency theories
• Contemporary theories

Style theory differs drastically from trait or skill theories. Instead of focusing on who leaders are, style theories considers what leaders do. At the core of all style theories is the idea that leaders engage in two distinct types of behavior: task behaviors and relationship behaviors. How leaders combine these two behaviors determines their leadership effectiveness. Style theory refers to three main theories or lines of research: the Ohio State University studies, the Michigan University studies and the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid.

Ohio state studies
The most comprehensive and replicated of the style theories resulted from research that began at Ohio State University in late 1940’s. Researchers at Ohio State sought to identify independent dimensions of leader behavior. The Ohio State leadership studies (Fleishman, 1953; Halpin and Winer, 1957; Hemphill and Coons, 1957) resulted in the creation of the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ), a commonly used instrument to assess leadership behavior. Several factor analyses eventually reduced the pool of items and important clusters of them to two factors: consideration and initiation. Considerate leaders tend to emphasize concern for their subordinate’s opinions on matters of importance. Although the supervisors have been endowed with authority over their subordinates they are willing to equalize with their subordinates their power to decide appropriate course of action. They seek involvement and commitment from their subordinates and stress the importance of people and their satisfaction at work , strengthen the self esteem and make them feel at ease in decisions, and are easy to approach and gain their approval before going ahead. Initiating structure refers to the extent to which a leader is likely to define and structure his or her roles and those of employees in search for goal attainment. It includes behavior that attempts to organize work, work relationship, and goals. The leader high on this dimension tries to maintain a distance with subordinates, is detached and is interested in getting the work done. An important finding of the Ohio State studies was that these two dimensions are independent. This means that consideration for workers and initiating structure exists simultaneously and in different amounts. Thus the leader can exhibit varying degrees of both initiating structure and consideration at the same time. A matrix was created that showed the various combinations and quantities of the elements.

|High Consideration | High Consideration and Low | High Structure and High |  | | |Structure |Consideration | | |  Low Consideration |  Low Structure and...
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