Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
MODERN THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP PROCESS
Charismatic Leadership Theories
Charismatic leadership theory says that followers make attributions of heroic or extraordinary leadership
abilities when they observe certain behaviours. Studies on charismatic leadership have, for the most part,
been directed at identifying behaviours that differentiate charismatic leaders from their non-charismatic
Several authors have attempted to identify personal characteristics of the charismatic leaders. Robert House
identified the following characteristics of the charismatic leaders:
· Self confidence: They have complete confidence in their judgment and ability.
· Confidence in followers: They believe in their followers as well, giving them tasks which are
· High expectations from followers: Derived from the characteristic of confidence in followers,
charismatic leaders also have high expectations from their followers.
· Ideological vision: This is an idealized goal that proposes a future better than the status quo. The
greater the disparity between this idealized goal and status quo, the more likely that followers will
attribute extraordinary vision to the leader.
· Superior debating skills: They are able to clarify and state the vision in terms that are understandable
to others. They are good at communication and the articulation demonstrates understanding of the
followers' needs and, hence, acts as a motivating force.
· High technical expertise: Charismatic leaders are people who have high technical expertise which
they can demonstrate.
Transformational leaders are people who provide individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation
and who possess charisma. Bernarnd Bass and Bruce Avolio identified the following as the qualities of
· Change agent: Transformational leaders are perceived as leaders of radical change rather than care
takers of the status quo.
· Courage: Transformational leaders are considered be highly committed, and willing to take on high
personal risks, incur high costs, and engage in self-sacrifice to achieve their goal.
· Belief in followers: Transformational leaders trust their followers' abilities.
· High value drive: Transformational leaders have a motivation to achieve the greatest possible value
for their group.
· Life long learners: Transformational leaders are people who tend to learn from every event and are
thus life long learners.
· Can deal with ambiguity, uncertainty: These leaders are able to make realistic assessments of the
environmental constraints and can deal easily with ambiguous and uncertain situations.
· Are visionaries: The have a vision which is an idealized goal proposing a better future.
Transformational Versus Transactional Leaders
Some psychologists distinguish between transformational and transactional leaders:
Following are the characteristics of transformational leaders:
· Charisma: Provide vision and sense of mission, instils pride, gains respect and trust
· Inspiration: Communicates high expectations, uses symbols to focus efforts, expresses important
purposes in simple ways.
· Intellectual Stimulation: Promotes intelligence, rationality, and careful problem solving.
· Individualized Considerations: Gives personal attention, treats each employee individually, coaches,
Following are the characteristics of transactional leaders:
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
Contingent Reward: Contracts exchange of rewards for efforts, promises rewards for good
performance, recognizes accomplishments.
· Management by Exception (Active): Watches and searches for deviations from rules and standards,
takes corrective action.
· Management by Exception (Passive): Intervenes only if standards are not met.
· Laissez Faire: Abdicates responsibilities, avoids making decisions.
Social Cognitive Approach
Social cognitive approach of leadership is given by Fred Luthans. According to approach, leadership is a
function of continuous reciprocal interaction between:
· And environment
The successful application of the social cognitive approach "depends upon the leaders ability to bring into
awareness the overt or covert antecedent cues and contingent consequences that regulate the leaders and
subordinates performance behaviour." More specifically, in this leadership application, the followers are
actively involved in the process, and together with the leader they concentrate on their own and one
another's behaviours, the environmental contingencies (both antecedent and consequent), and their
cognitions such as self-efficacy. Some examples of this approach are the following:
· The leader identifies the environmental variables that control his or her own behaviour.
· The leader works with the subordinate to discover the personalized set of environmental contingencies
that regulate the subordinate's behaviour.
· The leader and the subordinate jointly attempt to discover ways in which they can manage their
individual behaviour to produce more mutually reinforcing and organizationally productive outcomes.
· The leader enhances the efficacy of subordinates through setting up successful experiences, modelling,
positive feedback and persuasion, and physiological arousal that can lead to performance improvement.
This success with subordinates can in turn lead to leadership efficacy.
Substitutes for Leadership
Researchers have also identified certain substitutes for leadership. Steve Kerr and John Jermier have
identified the following substitutes for leadership:
1. Nature of task: Structured and routines tasks are a substitute for leadership.
2. Nature of subordinates: Experienced and able subordinates do not need leadership and serve as
substitutes for leadership.
3. Organizational Characteristics: Cohesive groups also serve as substitutes for leadership.
Leaders across Cultures
Leaders across various cultures of the world differ on characteristics. Some of the varying characteristics of
leaders across cultures are as follows:
1. Leadership differs in terms of stress on personal values of the leaders, and they reflect national
2. Leadership differs on the basis of backgrounds: Americans do not care about background of the
manger/leader while in France and Japan, background matters.
3. Deference to authority: In some countries, deference to authority is high, while in other, it is low.
4. Power distance: It is the degree to which members of a collective expect power to be distributed
equally. Power distance varies across different cultures of the world.
5. Uncertainty avoidance: It is the extent to which a society, organization, or groups rely on norms,
rules, and procedures to alleviate the unpredictability of future events. Uncertainty avoidance differs
among cultures of the world.
A research conducted by Imperial College of Business Studies, Lahore, under the United Nations
Development Program on women leaders in financial institutions shows that women leaders are:
· Honest: Honest in their dealings.
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
· Open: Communicate openly with the subordinates and operate transparently.
· Suffering from glass ceiling effect: Have trouble moving up the organizational ladder.
An extensive review of the literature suggests two conclusions regarding gender and leadership. First, the
similarities between men and women tend to outweigh the differences. Second, what differences there are
seem to be that women fall back on a more democratic leadership style whereas men feel more comfortable
with the directive style.
The similarities among men and women leaders shouldn't be completely surprising. Almost all the studies
looking at this issue have used managerial positions as being synonymous with leadership. As such, gender
differences apparent in the general population don't tend to be as evident. Why? Because of career self
selection and organization selection. Just as people who choose careers in law enforcement or civil
engineering have a lot in common, individual who choose managerial careers also tend to have
commonalities. People with traits associated with leadership--such as intelligence, confidence, and
sociability--are more likely to be perceived as leaders and encouraged to pursue careers where they can
exert leadership. This is true nowadays regardless of gender. Similarly, organizations tend to recruit and
promote people into leadership positions who project leadership attributes. The result is that, regardless of
gender, those who achieve formal leadership positions in organizations lend to be more alike than different.
In spite of the previous conclusion, studies indicate some differences in the inherent leadership styles
between women and men. Women tend to adopt a more democratic leadership style. They encourage
participation, share power and information, and attempt to enhance followers self-worth. They prefer to
lead through intuition and rely on their charisma, expertise, contacts, and interpersonal skills to influence
others. Men, however, are more likely to use a directive command and control style. They rely on the formal
authority of their position for their influence base.
· 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.
1. Charismatic Leadership:
2. Leadership styles: http://www.changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/leadership_styles.htm
· Charisma: http://www.business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/teaching/338/charisma.htm
· Leadership. Methods, Models and Theories: http://www.12manage.com/i_l.html
· Transformational and Charismatic Leadership:
· Contemporary women world leaders: http://www.terra.es/personal2/monolith/00women.htm
· Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership: http:// www.guide2womenleaders.com/
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