Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
Managers versus Leaders
As one expert puts it, "There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have
attempted to define the concept." While almost everyone seems to agree that leadership involves an
influence process, differences tend to be centred around whether leadership but be non-coercive and
whether it is distinct from management. The later issue has been a particularly heated topic of debate in
recent years, with most experts arguing that leadership and management are different.
For instance, Abraham Zaleznik of the Harvard Business School argues that leaders and managers are very
different kinds of people. They differ in motivation, personal history, and how they think and act. Zaleznik
says that managers tend to adopt impersonal, if not passive attitudes towards goals, whereas leaders take a
personal and active attitude toward goal. Managers tend to view work as an enabling process involving some
combination of people and ideas interacting to establish strategies and make decision. Leaders work from
high-risk positions--indeed, they are often temperamentally disposed to seek out risk and danger, especially
when opportunity and reward appear high. Managers prefer to work with people; they avoid solitary activity
because it makes them anxious. They related to people according to the role they play in a sequence of
events or in a decision-making process. Leaders, who are concerned with ideas, related to people in more
intuitive and empathic ways.
John Kotter, a colleague of Zalznik at Harvard, also argues that leadership is different from management,
but for different reasons. Management, he proposes, is about coping with complexity. Good management
brings about order and consistency by drawing up formal plans, designing rigid organization structures, and
monitoring results against the plans. Leadership, in contrast, is about coping with change. Leaders establish
direction by developing a vision of the future; they then align people by communicating this vision and
inspiring them to overcome hurdles. Kotter sees both strong leadership and strong management as
necessary for optimum organizational effectiveness. But he believes that most organizations are under-lead
and over-managed. He claims we need to focus more on developing leadership in organization because the
people in charge today are too concerned with keeping things on time and on budget and with doing what
was done yesterday, only doing it five percent better.
So where do we stand? We use a broad definition of leadership, one that con encompass all the current
approaches to the subject. Thus we define leadership as the ability to influence a group toward the
achievement of goals. The source of this influence may be formal, such as that provided by the possession
of managerial rank in an organization. Since management positions come with some degree of formally
designated authority, a person may assume a leadership role simply because of the position he or she holds
in the organization. But not all leaders are managers; nor, for that matter, are all managers leaders. Just
because an organization provides its managers with certain formal rights is no assurance they will be able to
lead effectively. WE find that non-sanctioned leadership--that is, the ability to influence that arises outside
the formal structure of the organization--is as important as or more important than formal influence. In
other words, leader can emerge form within a group as well as by formal appointment to lead a group.
Leadership can be defined in terms of:
· Group processes
· Particular behaviours
· Goal achievement
· And combination of two or more of the above
Two sets of leadership theories can be identified: traditional and modern.
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
Traditional Leadership Theories
Kurt Lewin's Theory of Leadership
Kurt Lewin identified three types of leaders:
1. Authoritarian: These are leaders who tend to delegate least authority and become the sole decision
makers. They do not involve people in decision making.
2. Democratic: These are leaders who tend to involve people in decision making and give people the
right to express their opinion. However, they do not give full authority in decision making to their
3. Laissez Faire: These leaders tend to delegate maximum authority and allow their subordinates to
operate as they deem good for the organization.
The trait approach to leadership attempted to identify stable and enduring character traits that differentiated
effective leaders from non-leaders. Hundreds of studies guided by this research agenda were conducted
during the first several decades of the 20th century. The earliest writers believed that important leadership
· Brighter: Leaders tend to be brighter and more intelligent than other people. They are visionaries who
can direct people to follow them.
· Empathetic, sensitive: Leaders have an empathic attitude towards their followers. They tend to think
in terms of their people rather than only work.
· Self confidence: Leaders are people who are high at self-confidence and tend to believe in themselves.
· Confidence in followers: Leaders are people who tend to have confidence in their followers and
expect their followers to do the right things.
· High EQ: Relating to the empathic element, leaders are high at Emotional Quotient, i.e. they have the
ability to understand the emotions of others and use them for the benefit of everyone involved.
· Integrity: Leaders are people who have sound integrity and govern respect.
· Drive: Leaders are high at motivation levels.
Group and Exchange
The group and exchange theories of leadership are derived from social psychology. These have their roots
in the exchange theory. According to this theory, leaders provide more benefits and rewards than
burdens/costs to followers and in exchange followers carry out leaders' orders. It is an exchange process
where followers also impact leaders.
Chester Barnard applied such an analysis to managers and subordinates in an organizational setting more
than half a century ago. More recently, this social exchange view of leadership has been summarized by
Yammarino and Dansereau as follows:
In work organizations, the key partners involved in exchange relationships of investments and returns are
superiors and subordinates. Superiors make investments in and receive returns from subordinates;
subordinates make investment in and receive returns fro superiors; and the investments and returns occur
on a one-to-one basis in each superior-subordinate dyad.
It soon became clear to those who were studying the leadership phenomenon that the predicting of
leadership success was more complex than isolating a few traits or preferable behaviours. The failure to
obtain consistent results, lead to a focus on situational influences. The relationship between leadership style
and effectiveness suggested that under condition `a', style `x' would be appropriate whereas style `y' would
be more suitable for condition `b,' and style `z' for condition `c.' But what were the conditions a,b,c and so
forth? It was one thing to say that leadership effectiveness was dependent on the situation and another to
be able to isolate those situational conditions.
Several approaches to isolating key situational variables have proven more successful than others and, as a
result, have gained wider recognition. We shall focus on the Fred Fiedler model of contingency theory:
Fred Fiedler: contingency model of leadership effectiveness
The first comprehensive contingency model for leadership was developed by Fred Fiedler. The Fiedler
contingency model proposes that effective group performance depends on the proper match between the
leader's style of interacting with his or her subordinates and the degree to which the situation gives control
and influences to the leader. He isolated three situational criteria as below:
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
1. Relationship of leader-follower: It is the degree of confidence, trust, and respect subordinates have in
2. Nature of task: It is the degree to which the job assignments are procedurized (that is structured or
3. Leader's power: The degree of influence a leader has over power variables such as hiring, firing,
discipline, promotions, and salary increases.
There is some experimental support of this theory.
Path-Goal Leadership Theory
Currently, one of the most respected approaches to leadership is the path-goal theory. Developed by Robert
House, path-goal theory is a contingency model of leadership that extracts key elements from the Ohio
State leadership research on initiating structure and consideration and the expectancy theory of motivation.
The essence of the theory is that the leaders' job to assist his or her followers in attaining their goals and to
provide the necessary direction and/or support to ensure their goals are compatible with the overall
objectives of the group or organization. The term path-goal is derived from the belief that effective leaders
clarify the path to help their followers get from where they are to the achievement of their work goals and
make the journey along the path easier by reducing roadblocks and pitfalls.
Leaders make the path for goal achievement as smooth as possible in the following manner:
· Directive leadership: Directive leadership is close to Kurt Lewin's authoritarian leadership where
leaders direct the followers rather than involving them in the decision making. Directive leadership
leads to greater satisfaction when tasks are ambiguous or stressful than when are highly structured and
well laid out.
· Supportive leadership: Such a leader is friendly and shows concern for the subordinates. It is similar
to democratic leadership style given by Kurt Lewin but differs in a way that it supports rather than
allowing the subordinates to express themselves. Supportive leadership results in high employee
performance and satisfaction when subordinates are performing structured tasks.
· Participative leadership: The participative leader consults with subordinates and uses their suggestion
before making a decision.
· Achievement oriented leadership: The achievement oriented leader sets challenging goals and
expects subordinates to perform at their highest level.
· Luthans, Fred. (2005). Organizational Behaviour (Tenth Edition). United States: McGraw Hill Irwin.
· Mejia, Gomez. Balkin, David & Cardy, Rober. (2006). Managing Human Resources (Fourth Edition).
India: Dorling Kidersley Pvt. Ltd., licensee of Pearson Education in South Asia.
· Robbins, P., Stephen. (1996). Organizational Behaviour (Seventh Edition). India: Prentice Hall, Delhi.
· Huczynski, Andrzej & Buchanan, David. (1991). Organizational Behaviour: An Introductory Text
(Second Edition). Prentice Hall. New York.
· Moorhead, Gregory & Griffin, Ricky. (2001). Organizational Behaviour (First Edition). A.I.T.B.S.
Publishers & Distributors. Delhi.
· Viewpoint: Managers vs. Leaders: http://www. govexec.com/features/0703/0703view2.htm
· Managers Vs Leaders: http://www.freeessays.cc/db/11/bmu270.shtml
· LEADER Vs. MANAGER:
· Eight Major Leadership Theories:
· Leadership: Behavioral Theories:
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