After reviewing this week’s readings you will need to compose a discussion board post of at least 250 words that addresses the question I ask below.Please respond to each other. Remember, that the purpose of this discussion is not to answer my initial or follow-up questions. The purpose is to engage with the assigned readings and integrate them with other ideas and into your daily (or future) practice. Please do use terminology from the assigned readings, cite the textbook with at least an in-text citation (Dipboye, 2016), and bring in current events (provide a URL) to add to the conversation and to support your points. These discussions are the main learning and assessment tool in this course.Question(s):This text discusses numerous employee training techniques. Discuss those which have been successful and unsuccessful with you and why?THIS IS FOR POST AND REPLY TO TWO CLASSMATESModule 8 Lecture Notes
Lecture Notes Key Terms
Adapted from Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2012). An Introduction to Organizational Behavior. Available
from https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/an-introduction-to-organizational-behaviorv1.0/index.html under a Creative Commons license.
Leadership may be defined as the act of influencing others to work toward a goal. Leaders exist at all
levels of an organization. Some leaders hold a position of authority and may utilize the power that
comes from their position, as well as their personal power to influence others. They are called formal
leaders. In contrast, informal leaders are without a formal position of authority within the organization
but demonstrate leadership by influencing others through personal forms of power. One caveat is
important here: Leaders do not rely on the use of force to influence people. Instead, people willingly
adopt the leader’s goal as their own goal. If a person is relying on force and punishment, the person is a
dictator, not a leader.
What makes leaders effective? What distinguishes people who are perceived as leaders from those who
are not perceived as leaders? More importantly, how do we train future leaders and improve our own
leadership ability? These are important questions that have attracted scholarly attention in the past
several decades. In this chapter, we will review the history of leadership studies and summarize the
major findings relating to these important questions. Around the world, we view leaders as at least
partly responsible for their team or company’s success and failure. Company CEOs are paid millions of
dollars in salaries and stock options with the assumption that they hold their company’s future in their
hands. In politics, education, sports, profit and nonprofit sectors, the influence of leaders over the
behaviors of individuals and organizations is rarely questioned.
Who Is a Leader? Trait Approaches to Leadership
The earliest approach to the study of leadership sought to identify a set of traits that distinguished
leaders from nonleaders. What were the personality characteristics and the physical and psychological
attributes of people who are viewed as leaders? Because of the problems in measurement of
personality traits at the time, different studies used different measures.
Big 5 Personality Traits
Psychologists have proposed various systems for categorizing the characteristics that make up an
individual’s unique personality; one of the most widely accepted is the “Big Five” model, which rates an
individual according to Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and
Neuroticism. Several of the Big Five personality traits have been related to leadership emergence
(whether someone is viewed as a leader by others) and effectiveness.
Big Five Personality Traits
Self-esteem is not one of the Big Five personality traits, but it is an important aspect of one’s
personality. The degree to which a person is at peace with oneself and has an overall positive
assessment of one’s self-worth and capabilities seem to be relevant to whether someone is viewed as a
leader. Leaders with high self-esteem support their subordinates more and, when punishment is
administered, they punish more effectively.
Research also shows that people who are effective as leaders tend to have a moral compass and
demonstrate honesty and integrity. Leaders whose integrity is questioned lose their trustworthiness,
and they hurt their company’s business along the way.
Key Traits Associated With Leadership
Condoleezza Rice had different responsibilities as the provost of
Stanford University compared to her role as secretary of state for the United States. Do you think these
differences affected her behavior as a leader?
Despite problems in trait approaches, these findings can still be useful to managers and companies. For
example, knowing about leader traits helps organizations select the right people into positions of
responsibility. The key to benefiting from the findings of trait researchers is to be aware that not all
traits are equally effective in predicting leadership potential across all circumstances.
What Do Leaders Do? Behavioral Approaches to Leadership
When trait researchers became disillusioned in the 1940s, their attention turned to studying leader
behaviors. What did effective leaders actually do? Which behaviors made them perceived as leaders?
Which behaviors increased their success? To answer these questions, researchers at Ohio State
University and the University of Michigan used many different techniques, such as observing leaders in
laboratory settings as well as surveying them. This research stream led to the discovery of two broad
categories of behaviors: task-oriented behaviors and people-oriented behaviors. Task-oriented leader
behaviors involve structuring the roles of subordinates, providing them with instructions, and behaving
in ways that will increase the performance of the group. Task-oriented behaviors are directives given to
employees to get things done and to ensure that organizational goals are met. People-oriented leader
behaviors include showing concern for employee feelings and treating employees with respect. Peopleoriented leaders genuinely care about the well-being of their employees, and they demonstrate their
concern in their actions and decisions.
Behavioral approaches to leadership showed that task-oriented and people-oriented behaviors are two
key aspects of leadership. © 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation
When we look at the overall findings regarding these leader behaviors, it seems that both types of
behaviors, in the aggregate, are beneficial to organizations, but for different purposes. For example,
when leaders demonstrate people-oriented behaviors, employees tend to be more satisfied and react
more positively. However, when leaders are task-oriented, productivity tends to be a bit higher.
Leader Decision Making
Another question behavioral researchers focused on involved how leaders actually make decisions and
the influence of decision-making styles on leader effectiveness and employee reactions. Three types of
decision-making styles were studied. In authoritarian decision-making, leaders make the decision alone
without necessarily involving employees in the decision-making process. When leaders use democratic
decision-making, employees participate in the making of the decision. Finally, leaders using laissez-faire
decision-making leave employees alone to make the decision. The leader provides minimum guidance
and involvement in the decision. As with other lines of research on leadership, research did not identify
one decision-making style as the best. It seems that the effectiveness of the style the leader is using
depends on the circumstances.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (shown here) are known for their democratic decisionmaking styles.
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ Image:Sergey_Brin,_Web_2.0_Conference.jpg.
What Is the Role of the Context? Contingency Approaches to Leadership
What is the best leadership style? By now, you must have realized that this may not be the right
question to ask. Instead, a better question might be: Under which conditions are certain leadership
styles more effective? After the disappointing results of trait and behavioral approaches, several
scholars developed leadership theories that specifically incorporated the role of the environment.
Specifically, researchers started following a contingency approach to leadership—rather than trying to
identify traits or behaviors that would be effective under all conditions, the attention moved toward
specifying the situations under which different styles would be effective.
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory
The earliest and one of the most influential contingency theories was developed by Frederick Fiedler
(Fiedler, F. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill; Fiedler, F. E. (1964). A
contingency model of leader effectiveness. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social
psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 149–190). New York: Academic Press). According to the theory, a leader’s style is
measured by a scale called Least Preferred Coworker scale (LPC). People who are filling out this survey
are asked to think of a person who is their least preferred coworker. Then, they rate this person in terms
of how friendly, nice, and cooperative this person is. Imagine someone you did not enjoy working with.
Can you describe this person in positive terms? In other words, if you can say that the person you hated
working with was still a nice person, you would have a high LPC score. This means that you have a
people-oriented personality, and you can separate your liking of a person from your ability to work with
that person. On the other hand, if you think that the person you hated working with was also someone
you did not like on a personal level, you would have a low LPC score. To you, being unable to work with
someone would mean that you also dislike that person. In other words, you are a task-oriented person.
According to Fiedler’s theory, different people can be effective in different situations. The LPC score is
akin to a personality trait and is not likely to change. Instead, placing the right people in the right
situation or changing the situation to suit an individual is important to increase a leader’s effectiveness.
The theory predicts that in “favorable” and “unfavorable” situations, a low LPC leader—one who has
feelings of dislike for coworkers who are difficult to work with—would be successful. When situational
favorableness is medium, a high LPC leader—one who is able to personally like coworkers who are
difficult to work with—is more likely to succeed.
How does Fiedler determine whether a situation is “favorable,” “medium,” or “unfavorable”? There are
three conditions creating situational favorableness: leader-subordinate relations, position power, and
task structure. If the leader has a good relationship with most people and has high position power, and
the task at hand is structured, the situation is very favorable. When the leader has low-quality relations
with employees and has low position power, and the task at hand it relatively unstructured, the
situation is very unfavorable.
Sources: Based on information in Fiedler, F. E. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York:
McGraw-Hill; Fiedler, F. E. (1964). A contingency model of leader effectiveness. In L. Berkowitz
(Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 149–190). New York: Academic Press.
Another contingency approach to leadership is Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey’s Situational
Leadership Theory (SLT) which argues that leaders must use different leadership styles depending on
their followers’ development level (Hersey, P.H., Blanchard, K.H., ‘ Johnson, D.E. (2007). Management of
Organizational Behavior: Leadership human resources. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall). According
to this model, employee readiness (defined as a combination of their competence and commitment
levels) is the key factor determining the proper leadership style.
The model summarizes the level of directive and supportive behaviors that leaders may exhibit. The
model argues that to be effective, leaders must use the right style of behaviors at the right time in each
employee’s development. It is recognized that followers are key to a leader’s success. Employees who
are at the earliest stages of developing are seen as being highly committed but with low competence for
the tasks. Thus, leaders should be highly directive and less supportive. As the employee becomes more
competent, the leader should engage in more coaching behaviors. Supportive behaviors are
recommended once the employee is at moderate to high levels of competence. And finally, delegating is
the recommended approach for leaders dealing with employees who are both highly committed and
Path-Goal Theory of Leadership
Robert House’s path-goal theory of leadership is based on the expectancy theory of motivation (House,
R. J. (1971). A path goal theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 16(3), 321–338)
. The expectancy theory of motivation suggests that employees are motivated when they believe—or
expect—that (a) their effort will lead to high performance, (b) their high performance will be rewarded,
and (c) the rewards they will receive are valuable to them. According to the path-goal theory of
leadership, the leader’s main job is to make sure that all three of these conditions exist. Thus, leaders
will create satisfied and high-performing employees by making sure that employee effort leads to
performance, and their performance is rewarded by desired rewards. The leader removes roadblocks
along the way and creates an environment that subordinates find motivational.
The theory also makes specific predictions about what type of leader behavior will be effective under
which circumstances. The theory identifies four leadership styles. Each of these styles can be effective,
depending on the characteristics of employees (such as their ability level, preferences, locus of control,
and achievement motivation) and characteristics of the work environment (such as the level of role
ambiguity, the degree of stress present in the environment, and the degree to which the tasks are
Four Leadership Styles
Directive leaders provide specific directions to their employees. They lead employees by clarifying role
expectations, setting schedules, and making sure that employees know what to do on a given work day.
The theory predicts that the directive style will work well when employees are experiencing role
ambiguity on the job.
Supportive leaders provide emotional support to employees. They treat employees well, care about
them on a personal level, and they are encouraging. Supportive leadership is predicted to be effective
when employees are under a lot of stress or performing boring, repetitive jobs. When employees know
exactly how to perform their jobs but their jobs are unpleasant, supportive leadership may be more
Participative leaders make sure that employees are involved in the making of important decisions.
Participative leadership may be more effective when employees have high levels of ability, and when
the decisions to be made are personally relevant to them. For employees with a high internal locus of
control (those who believe that they control their own destiny), participative leadership is a way of
indirectly controlling organizational decisions, which is likely to be appreciated.
Achievement-oriented leaders set goals for employees and encourage them to reach their goals. Their
style challenges employees and focuses their attention on work-related goals. This style is likely to be
effective when employees have both high levels of ability and high levels of achievement motivation.
Predictions of the Path-Goal Theory Approach to Leadership
Sources: Based on information presented in House, R. J. (1996). Path-goal theory of leadership: Lessons,
legacy, and a reformulated theory. Leadership Quarterly, 7, 323–352; House, R. J., & Mitchell, T. R.
(1974). Path-goal theory of leadership. Journal of Contemporary Business, 3, 81–97.
Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Decision Model
Yale School of Management Professor Victor Vroom and his colleagues Philip Yetton and Arthur Jago
developed a decision-making tool to help leaders determine how much involvement they should seek
when making decisions (Vroom, V. H. (2000). Leadership and the decision making process. Organizational
Dynamics, 68, 82–94; Vroom, V. H., & Yetton, P. W. (1973). Leadership and decision-making. Pittsburg:
University of Pittsburg Press; Jago, A., & Vroom, V. H. (1980). An evaluation of two alternatives to the
Vroom/Yetton Normative Model. Academy of Management Journal, 23, 347–355; Vroom, V. H., & Jago,
A. G. 1988. The new leadership: managing participation in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall). The model starts by having leaders answer several key questions and working their way through a
decision tree based on their responses. Let’s try it. Imagine that you want to help your employees lower
their stress so that you can minimize employee absenteeism. There are a number of approaches you
could take to reduce employee stress, such as offering gym memberships, providing employee
assistance programs, a nap room, and so forth.
Let’s refer to the model and start with the first question. As you answer each question as high (H) or low
(L), follow the corresponding path down the funnel.
1. Decision Significance. The decision has high significance, because the approach chosen needs to
be effective at reducing employee stress for the insurance premiums to be lowered. In other
words, there is a quality requirement to the decision. Follow the path through H.
2. Importance of Commitment. Does the leader need employee cooperation to implement the
decision? In our example, the answer is high, because employees may simply ignore the
resources if they do not like them. Follow the path through H.
3. Leader expertise. Does the leader have all the information needed to make a high-quality
decision? In our example, leader expertise is low. You do not have information regarding what
your employees need or what kinds of stress reduction resources they would prefer. Follow the
path through L.
4. Likelihood of commitment. If the leader makes the decision alone, what is the likelihood that
the employees would accept it? Let’s assume that the answer is low. Based on the leader’s
experience with this group, they would likely ignore the decision if the leader makes it alone.
Follow the path from L.
5. Goal alignment. Are the employee goals aligned with organizational goals? In this instance,
employee and organizational goals may be aligned because you both want to ensure that
employees are healthier. So let’s say the alignment is high, and follow H.
6. Group expertise. Does the group have expertise in this decision-making area? The group in
question has little information about which alternatives are costlier, or more user-friendly. We’ll
say group expertise is low. Follow the path from L.
7. Team competence. What is the ability of this particular team to solve the problem? Let’s
imagine that this is a new team that just got together and they have little demonstrated
expertise to work together effectively. We will answer this as low or L.
Based on the answers to the questions we gave, the normative approach recommends consulting
employees as a group. In other words, the leader may make the decision alone after gathering
information from employees and is not advised to delegate the decision to the team or to make the
Decide. The leader makes the decision alone using available information.
Consult Individually. The leader obtains additional information from group members before
making the decision alone.
Consult as a group. The leader shares the problem with group members individually and makes
the final decision alone.
Facilitate. The leader shares information about the problem with group members collectively
and acts as a facilitator. The leader sets the parameters of the decision.
Delegate. The leader lets the team make the decision.
What’s New? Contemporary Approaches to Leadership
What are the leadership theories that have the greatest contributions to offer to today’s business
environment? In this section, we will review the most recent developments in the field of leadership.
Transformational leadership theory is a recent addition to the literature, but more research has been
conducted on this theory than all the contingency theories combined. The theory distinguishes
transformational and transactional leaders. Transformational leaders lead employees by aligning
employee goals with the leader’s goals. Thus, employees working for transformational leaders start
focusing on the company’s well-being rather than on what is best for them as individual employees. On
the other hand, transactional leaders ensure that employees demonstrate the right behaviors and
provide resources in exchange. Charismatic individuals have a “magnetic” personality that is appealing
to followers. Second, transformational leaders use inspirational motivation, or come up with a vision
that is inspiring to others. Third is the use of intellectual stimulation, which means that they challenge
organizational norms and status quo, and they encourage employees to think creatively and work
harder. Finally, they use individualized consideration, which means that they show personal care and
concern for the well-being of their followers.
Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory
Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory proposes that the type of relationship leaders have with their
followers (members of the organization) is the key to understanding how leaders influence employees.
Leaders form different types of relationships with their employees. In high-quality LMX relationships,
the leader forms a trust-based relationship with the member. The leader and member like each other,
help each other when needed, and respect each other. In these relationships, the leader and the
member are each ready to go above and beyond their job descriptions to promote the other’s ability to
succeed. In contrast, in low-quality LMX relationships, the leader and the member have lower levels of
trust, liking, and respect toward each other. These relationships do not have to involve actively disliking
each other, but the leader and member do not go beyond their formal job descriptions in their
exchanges. In other words, the member does his job, the leader provides rewards and punishments, and
the relationship does not involve high levels of loyalty or obligation toward each other
Antecedents and Consequences of Leader-Member Exchange
The early 21st century has been marked by a series of highly publicized corporate ethics scandals:
Between 2000 and 2003 we witnessed the scandals of Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen LLP, Qwest
Communications International Inc., and Global Crossing Ltd. As corporate ethics scandals shake investor
confidence in corporations and leaders, the importance of ethical leadership and keeping long-term
interests of stakeholders in mind is becoming more widely acknowledged.
Servant leadership is a leadership approach that defines the leader’s role as serving the needs of others.
According to this approach, the primary mission of the leader is to develop employees and help them
reach their goals. Servant leaders put their employees first, understand their personal needs and
desires, empower them, and help them develop in their careers. Unlike mainstream management
approaches, the overriding objective in servant leadership is not limited to getting employees to
contribute to organizational goals. Instead, servant leaders feel an obligation to their employees,
customers, and the external community. Employee happiness is seen as an end in itself, and servant
leaders sometimes sacrifice their own well-being to help employees succeed. In addition to a clear focus
on having a moral compass, servant leaders are also interested in serving the community. In other
words, their efforts to help others are not restricted to company insiders, and they are genuinely
concerned about the broader community surrounding their organization (Greenleaf, R. K.
(1977). Servant Leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, NJ:
Paulist Press). Even though servant leadership has some overlap with other leadership approaches such
as transformational leadership, its explicit focus on ethics, community development, and self-sacrifice
are distinct characteristics of this leadership style. Research shows that servant leadership has a positive
impact on employee commitment, employee citizenship behaviors toward the community (such as
participating in community volunteering), and job performance.
Leaders have to be a lot of things to a lot of people. They operate within different structures, work with
different types of people, and they have to be adaptable. At times, it may seem that a leader’s smartest
strategy would be to act as a social chameleon, changing his or her style whenever doing so seems
advantageous. But this would lose sight of the fact that effective leaders have to stay true to
themselves. The authentic leadership approach embraces this value: Its key advice is “be yourself.”
Think about it: We all have different backgrounds, different life experiences, and different role models.
These trigger events over the course of our lifetime that shape our values, preferences, and priorities.
Instead of trying to fit into societal expectations about what a leader should be, act like, or look like,
authentic leaders derive their strength from their own past experiences. Thus, one key characteristic of
authentic leaders is that they are self aware. They are introspective, understand where they are coming
from, and have a thorough understanding of their own values and priorities. Secondly, they are not
afraid to act the way they are. In other words, they have high levels of personal integrity. They say what
they think. They behave in a way consistent with their values. As a result, they remain true to
themselves. Instead of trying to imitate other great leaders, they find their own style in their personality
and life experiences (Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to
the root of positive forms of leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315–338).
Authentic leadership requires understanding oneself. Therefore, in addition to self reflection, feedback
from others is needed to gain a true understanding of one’s behavior and its impact on others.
Authentic leadership is viewed as a potentially influential style, because employees are more likely to
trust such a leader. Moreover, working for an authentic leader is likely to lead to greater levels of
satisfaction, performance, and overall well-being on the part of employees.
The Role of Ethics
Leadership and Ethics
As some organizations suffer the consequences of ethical crises that put them out of business or
damage their reputations, the role of leadership as a driver of ethical behavior is receiving a lot of
scholarly attention as well as acknowledgement in the popular press. Ethical decisions are complex and,
even to people who are motivated to do the right thing, the moral component of a decision may not be
obvious. Therefore, employees often look to role models, influential people, and their managers for
guidance in how to behave. Unfortunately, research shows that people tend to follow leaders or other
authority figures even when doing so can put others at risk. The famous Milgram experiments support
this point. Milgram conducted experiments in which experimental subjects were greeted by someone in
a lab coat and asked to administer electric shocks to other people who gave the wrong answer in a
learning task. In fact, the shocks were not real and the learners were actors who expressed pain when
shocks were administered. Around two-thirds of the experimental subjects went along with the requests
and administered the shocks even after they reached what the subjects thought were dangerous levels.
In other words, people in positions of authority are influential in driving others to ethical or unethical
behaviors (Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority; an experimental view. New York: Harper & Row).
It seems that when evaluating whether someone is an effective leader, subordinates pay attention to
the level of ethical behaviors the leader demonstrates. In fact, one study indicated that the perception
of being ethical explained 10% of the variance in whether an individual was also perceived as a leader.
The level of ethical leadership was related to job satisfaction, dedication to the leader, and a willingness
to report job-related problems to the leader.
In this chapter we have reviewed the most influential leadership theories. Trait approaches identify the
characteristics required to be perceived as a leader and to be successful in the role. Intelligence,
extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and integrity seem to be leadership traits.
Behavioral approaches identify the types of behaviors leaders demonstrate. Both trait and behavioral
approaches suffered from a failure to pay attention to the context in which leadership occurs, which led
to the development of contingency approaches. Recently, ethics became an explicit focus of leadership
theories such as servant leadership and authentic leadership. It seems that being conscious of one’s
style and making sure that leaders demonstrate the behaviors that address employee, organizational,
and stakeholder needs are important and require flexibility on the part of leaders.
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