Example Assignment on Leadership style and Organization Success
Introduction to the Leadership style and Organization Success
Discussion in the form of written literature and / or research on the topics of leadership style and organizational sector culture has increased significantly. In an article published by the International Association of Emergency Managers, Peace (2009) wrote, “good leaders are made, not born. What I mean by this is that while personal traits, behaviors and general demeanor are important, so too are life experiences and exposure to multiple situations” (p.4). The writer of the article who is working with the dissertation writing services pointed out that leadership is not about position and / or status but rather about the ability to engage followers in such a way as to promote effective two-way communications, while operating within a chaotic environment. The success of any organization relies on how effectively it plans its human resources (Worley, Hitchin, & Ross, 1996).
Leadership is about influencing the activities of others in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation (Hersey & Blanchard, 1981). Here, leadership style is defined as “the consistent patterns of behavior which you exhibit, as perceived by others, when attempting to influence others” (p. 34).
Leadership style can be thought of as a blending or fusion of many different values, styles, attributes, and behaviors. Leadership is also about knowledge, and understanding that what works well for one individual or situation can have the opposite effect for another (Bennis, 2007; Yukl, 1989). In introducing a project partnered with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University, B. Kelly (2008), an editor of US News and World Report, commented that leadership is essential in a successful society. However, despite acknowledging the importance and significance of leadership, the measurement criteria used by the project consisted of only three criteria: the ability to set direction, worth 25%; the ability to achieve results, worth 50%; and the ability to cultivate a culture of growth, rated at 25%. Weighting leadership in such a manner as this drives home the significance of possessing an integrated leadership style that incorporates both task- and people-oriented skills.
Yukl (1989) wrote that 40 years of research had yet to produce an integrated understanding of leadership. He further suggested that the leader’s own needs must be aligned with those of the organization, given that effective leaders rely on a combination of styles. These include the behavior approach, or what leaders actually do and how they do it. Another was the trait approach: those personal attributes that make for effective leadership such as high motivation and self-confidence. Then there is the situational approach, which demonstrates the importance of factors such as leader authority and discretion, the nature of work, and the influence of the internal and external environment. Yukl (1989), pointed out that leadership is a complex and multidimensional concept in which investigators are confronted with a myriad of challenges. Attempts to define leadership have ranged from the most simplistic definition of traits to the more complex aspects of human interactions, emotions, and learning.
The effect of leaders and leadership styles
The effect of leaders on those being led has evolved over time, with the dominant themes of past years described by Casida as follows. First there was the great man theory (pre-1900), with its premise that the leader was somewhat larger than life. This was followed by trait theory (1900–1948), which emphasized the personality of leaders, specifically those personal behavioral traits the leader brought to the role, and a personality that is evident from birth, in one form or another. However, the challenge with possessing only one or the other of the different leadership styles is that the leader might not have the necessary skills to meet all aspects of the position, the proverbial one-size-fits-all.
Schimmoeller (2006) added to the organizational culture aspects reviewed earlier, in further speaking to the topic of situational leadership. Citing Howard and Bray, he commented that researchers have become more interested in how leadership works in dynamic environments, particularly as a predictor for promotion. The writer suggested that research provides evidence that leaders who adjust their styles for the environment are promoted more often than those who employ a consistent style. Such is the theory behind the earlier contingency models that examined the match between leadership and the situation, as a way to determine the most appropriate leadership style.
Fiedler’s (1964) theory of contingency leadership is perhaps the best known and most often referenced of these. Contingency theory is a model that seeks to better align the leaders to the situation. The term contingency is used to describe the style because the leader’s effectiveness is contingent on the setting. Here leadership styles are described as being either task-motivated or relationship-motivated. Task-oriented leaders are focused on achieving the goal and accomplishing the mission. Relationship-oriented leaders are interested in developing close interpersonal relationships with their followers. Where one orientation and practice seems impersonal (perhaps transactional), the other depends on the leader–follower relationship (transformational/servant) as its main focus.
Hersey and Blanchard (1996) added to this discussion through a revisiting of their life-cycle theory of leadership of 1969 and additional work on the topic of situational leadership. Here the writers took their examination beyond the scope of the individual, proposing instead that a leader’s actions should be dictated not only by the specific circumstance but also by the abilities of the people being led. Leaders must adapt their behavior to the needs of the followers, especially those who require more guidance than their experienced counterparts. This rationale suggests that the leader be able to develop different styles and learn to determine which one is most effective given the situation.
Burns (1978) distinguished between transactional and transformational leadership styles, in that the transactional leader motivates followers via a reward/punishment philosophy, whereas a transformational style is one where the leader and follower engage in such a way that each raises the other to higher levels of motivation and morality.
Collins (2001) described what is required for an organization to go from one that is of good quality to one that exceeds expectations. Great organizations require great leaders and followers, along with an understanding of the integration between leadership styles, the organization, and the individual. Collins approached the subject of great leadership from the viewpoint of “personal humility and professional will” (p. 70), distinctions seen in those that follow transformational, servant, and/or authentic leadership practices. Similar to Brookfield (1998) and Kraines (2001), the writer also referenced the concepts of self-reflection, mentorship, and significant life experiences as factors that contribute to the creation of a good leader. Of note is his mention of reflective practices as a means for taking a leader’s past and present experiences, and combining them into a leadership practice that embraces the importance of critical self-assessment as part of leadership development.
This study set out to expand upon previously completed work on the topic of
“Leadership and organizational success” specifically concerning to the accomplishment of leader’s characteristics and style in the Government sector Dubai. Previous leadership research has been mostly qualitative or action-research based in nature. Past examinations have also been limited to specific organizational structures such as paramilitary, and not from the perspective of the cultural differences that may exist within the various sectors.
To accomplish such a task requires that the project scope be larger than what is commonly seen in qualitative, perception-based research. For this reason, the methodology selected for this project was quantitative, non experimental descriptive research, using an established and validated survey instrument developed by Girodo (1998). The Girodo leadership survey has been used by other leadership researchers as well, namely Webb (2008). While Webb used the survey instrument to study law enforcement leadership behaviors, this current project used the survey to identify the styles of leaders in each the government organizational sectors referenced earlier.
It is believed that understanding if there is a relationship between styles and organizational sector culture can add to and expand upon the existing knowledge of organizational leadership. This knowledge can then be used to support additional research opportunities within the scope of leadership, such as competency identification and development.
Researchers selecting the philosophical model are referred to as positivists or post positivists, in that they look to facts as the way to explain outcomes (Creswell, 2003). Positivism is a process that emphasizes specific concepts and measures specific variables. In addition, the assumption driving this method is one in which the world is thought to be objective, with specific results the desired outcomes (R. Flor, personal communication, October 9, 2007; Gebhardt, 1999). According to Polit and Hungler (1997), positivist paradigm is “the traditional paradigm underlying the scientific approach, which assumes that there is a fixed, orderly reality that can be objectively studied; often associated with quantitative research” (p. 464).
Hopkins (2001) remarked that the goal of quantitative research is to establish the relationship between known variables. These variables are usually referred to as being independent or dependent; independent is the measurement being controlled by the researcher, and dependent is the one being influenced by the independent (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
Use of Surveys
The data collection method used most in quantitative studies is a survey (Kohli & Jaworski, 1990). The use of a survey design permits the researcher to develop assumptions about a particular population, by analyzing the data received from a subset or sample of that population (Creswell, 2003). From sample results, the researcher can then generalize or make claims about the population. Survey research can be done a number of different ways, with the use of Internet-driven instruments such as Survey Monkey seeing more popularity in recent times (Hunter, 2005). An advantage of survey research is in its ability to gather data from a larger sample of individuals. Larger samples can add validity to the results. However, there are some limitations to using a survey.
Responses can lack the depth seen in other approaches such as qualitative, and therefore might not present the researcher with the precise level of detail being sought (Caruana,
1999). In addition, numbers do not tell the whole story and may only provide a part of the total picture.
Finally, the results from surveys may be flawed, with the reasons for such including vagueness of the questions, a poorly designed and unproven instrument, and/or the use of the wrong statistical test to draw conclusions about the data. This last reason is particularly significant given the number of statistical methods (i.e., parametric and/or nonparametric) from which to choose (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDY
Although research in the topic of leadership has been conducted but specifically Government Sector leadership has not been focused earlier. This sector affects the overall community lives. So the study is important and will help to diagnose any flaws in the leadership styles and characteristics of leaders in Dubai Government sector and improve them. Swanson and Holton (2005) put forward that organizational studies should emphasize research that can be acted upon to improve organizational activities. The importance of organizational research in assisting decision makers was further stressed by Cooper and Schindler (2006), who provided a management-research question hierarchy model to assist researchers in conducting research so as to provide recommendations. The process begins at the general level with a management dilemma, usually a symptom of the larger problem. For this project, the general problem was one of a limited objective understanding on the topic of leadership and success of organization; characters and styles of leaders in government sector Dubai With additional knowledge and understanding ofleadership, the dilemma became more specific, focusing on the relationship between leadership styles and organizationally different sectors within government sector.
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