Leadership and Theory

The many was founded by entrepreneur Skirts Flower in 2005. Skirts and several colleagues set up a new company when they left Mr. Bakes, a medium sized bakery company. Skirts had members of her Senior Management Team which are all females, mid-twenties and with no experience in the company management. However, Skirts made a decision to set up a new innovation company and set standard requirements for the company. After that, she perceived three main problems in the initial phase after the foundation of the factory. First of all, there is a serious financial burden forced on the Senior Management Team.

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Second, some fractures have appeared in the Smuts friendship at the initial stage of establishing a market. Third, there are some negative treatments from their competitors. To sum up these three main issues, Skirts commented on her way of seeing the company through the start-up phase. She said that she had a vision and tried to make it clear to staffs to make them going the same way towards one goal. Otherwise, she not only devoted herself to dealing with all problems that the staff had but also trusted her staffs to be fully committed to what they wanted and was open to any idea on how to make that vision come true in reality.

In view of the ways of Kisser’s leadership, it is not hard to find out the three modern leadership theories and approaches in her comments. This report will make a critical analysis of the strength and the weakness of Kisser’s leadership for The Sandwich Factory by using the knowledge in leadership. Main Section: Leadership Theory Development On the basis of the leadership conception we can defined that “leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (Morehouse 2007:3).

This definition emphasize on three key points ‘process’, ‘influences’, and ‘common goal’. Moreover, leadership is giving direction aligning people to the vision and helping them cope with changes. For instance, the CEO of Apple Incorporated, Steve Jobs was a leader who provided the strategic vision as the managing director to his whole company. With the development of leadership theory, some academics put forward a few methods of leadership step by step, from the original Trait Approach to the current Ethical Leadership Approach which has experienced several periods of evolution.

People seek more information to answer what makes a good leader and how to be a good leader. Most of them believe that owning the ability of leadership could improve their social positions, personal cultivations of ideological morality and the quality of life. Many successful leaders are well equipped with good personal traits and comprehensive professional knowledge. In addition, they hold their opinions with persistence and bravely face new challenges and changes. In this case study, the principal theory is modern approaches of leadership.

It contains path-goal theory, leader-member exchange theory and transformational versus transactional theory. Then, it will make a particular analysis on these theories in the following sections. Path -Goal Theory Path-goal theory first appeared in the leadership literature in early 1 sass. It builds on behavioral and contingency approaches which are concerned with how leadership behavior can motivate the satisfaction and performance of a follower in an organizational surrounding. It emphasizes the relationship and leadership behaviors between subordinates characteristics and task characteristics.

The main challenge of a leader in organizations is to use a leadership style that best satisfies followers’ motivational needs and to steer followers along a path to achieving the common goal, which seems attractive and increase lowers confidence. House and Mitchell (1974) described four styles of leading subordinates which consist of “Directive Leadership, Supportive Leadership, Participative Leadership and Achievement-oriented Leadership”. It is used to analyze complicated relationships in an organization. The path-goal theory has several effective features.

First, it explains how various leadership behaviors interact with followers and task characteristics and how to choose an appropriate leadership style to affect subordinates’ satisfactions and work performances. Second, path-goal theory is that “it attempts to integrate he motivation principles of expectancy theory into a theory of leadership” (Peter G. Morehouse, 2010, p. 133). A third positive feature of path-goal theory is that it affords a very practical model. Although path-goal theory has these positive features, it also has some opposite sides.

First of all, this theory is so complex and broad which includes so many different correlative conditions. Therefore, with a specific organizational context, it is so difficult to use it to ameliorate the leadership process. A second criticism of this theory is that “it does not give equal attention on all relevant aspects ND the research results do not provide a full and coincident conclusion of the essential suppositions and consequences” (Evans, 1996). This may be due to the imperfection of measuring method in leadership behavior and measurement scale in work structure.

Another limitation of path-goal theory is that it does not go far enough to explain sufficiently the relationship between subordinates motivation and leadership behavior. Finally, this approach only considers about the responsibility of leaders, but neglects the abilities of subordinates. In this case study, Skirts commented that she had a vision and she tried to make t clear to staff to going the same way towards one goal. She used path-goal theory in her leadership to help this vision in a practical way. It is good for the development of The Sandwich Factory.

But, on the opposite side, while using this leadership method, Skirts plays a protector, motivator and visionary all at the same time. It is too much pressure to leaders. It requires that leaders must give subordinates satisfactions and benefits to make them accept the leadership. Otherwise, leaders must change their styles to adapt different subordinates. This will slow down the company development and bring big challenges for leaders. Leader-Member Exchange Theory Leader-member exchange theory was first posed by George Green and Lull- Been in 1976.

In their early Vertical Dyad Link Model (VOID) research, through the pure theoretical derivation they drew a new conclusion that leaders treat their subordinates at different levels. The relationship between organizational members will generally include a small set of high qualities of the exchange relationship (In-Group) and a large number of low qualities of the exchange relationship (Out-Group). This approach points out that leaders tend to chose followers who share similar personal traits with leaders and more competent harmonistic in their In-Group.

L MIX theory has also forecast the people in Len- group will get high levels of performance and lower separation rates. Through the cognition of ELM theory, this approach is a strong descriptive theory which confirms the relationship between people in organizations with leader and each other. People who contribute more, they will get more; others contribute less and receive less. In addition, it is the only one approach that emphasizes the effective leadership is contingent on effective leader-member exchanges.

An effective leadership should underscore the communication of leaders ND subordinates. ELM theory is not only pay attention to the significance of communication but also warns leaders to be fair and equal to their subordinates. “In a review of this research, Green and Lull-Been pointed out that leader-member exchange is related to performance, organizational commitment, job climate, innovation, organizational citizenship behavior, empowerment, procedural and distributive justice, career progress, and many other important organizational variables” (Peter G. Morehouse, 2010, p. 1 56).

Considering the criticisms in ELM theory, the most evident weakness is it divides the work into two groups and only nee of them gets extra attention. Furthermore, a review of the related research reveals an important omission in ELM-related studies, that is, “ELM research has not explored communication satisfaction as a meaningful dependent variable” (Mueller, Bridget H. , 2002). “Third, questions have been enhanced about the measurement of leader-member exchanges in ELM theory and the lack of content validity in the measurement scales”(Cherishes et al. , 1999, 2001; Green & Lull-Been, 1995). For instance, no empirical studies have used dyadic measures to analyze the ELM process” (Cherishes et al. , 2001). In addition, there are a lot of different versions and analytical levels of leader-member exchange scales which are not always directly comparable. “Finally, there have been questions about whether the standard scale used to measure exchanges is unidirectional or multidimensional” (Green &Lull-Been, 1995). In the case study five, the Senior Management Team in the Sandwich Factory are all female, mid-twenties and have no experience in company management, they are all Kisser’s quondam colleagues.

It should enhance the communication, learning and value between each other which could help to promote the operation spirit and the organizational cohesive force. But it caused the heavy financial burden placed on the SMS who all own a share of the business. They start up their monies required from their own savings, grants especially their families. It required Skirts to balance the relationship with every subordinate. Otherwise, there are some fractures appeared in the Smut’s friendships, it created a tense time for the company which need Kristin to think about how to solve the cracks immediately.

Trying to make all followers go along with her in one group and fulfill their obligations. Transformational versus Transactional Theory Transformational leadership is following the leadership theory of traits approach, situational approach and contingency approach. Since the early asses by the American political sociologist James MacGregor Burns in his classical book -“Leadership”, proposed this new leadership style. Transformational leadership theory has a lot of inclusiveness which makes an extensive description in a leadership process.

In general, transformational leadership theory makes a connection with leaders and subordinates, and it tried to create a process to improve the dynamic and the personal ethics in both sides. The transformational leaders optimize the interaction of organizational members through their own behaviors and the care for subordinates’ demands. At the same time, through created and publicized the organizational perspective, setting up a changing atmosphere and completed the organizational goals in an effective process to promote the adaptability of organizational, the goal can be achieved. It is concerned with values, emotions, standards, ethics, and long-term goals and it also includes assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings. It is a process that often incorporates harmonistic and visionary leadership” (Peter G. Morehouse, 2010, IPPP). Transformational leadership theory mainly comes from top leadership, whether it is suitable for lower leaders and how to apply to lower leaders is still an unsolved issue. Moreover, it should be a more empirical research in the applicability of transformational leadership theory with different cultural environments.

What’s more, this approach attaches importance to ‘people’ factors, whether leaders or subordinates are all complex man and there are many factors to influence them. This will definitely affect the full play of the transformational leadership. The transactional leadership is different from transformational leadership which does not focus on followers’ personal development. It was put forward by Hollander in 1978. Hollander deemed that “leadership happened in a given situation, leaders and followers maintain a transaction process.

Leaders by a clear task and persona’ needs to guide and motivate subordinates to complete the organization’s goals”. ‘Transactional leaders are influential because it is in the best interest of subordinates for them to do what the leader wants” (Kenneth & Lewis, 1987). Transactional leadership could become a tool for private gains. It could be excessive emphasis on ‘bottom line’, thus become a ‘short-term behavior’, only consider the pursuit of efficiencies and the minimization of profits and ignore some long-term things.

It could also make followers to fall into an immoral and irrational zone with the powerful pressures, excessive rewards and punishments. The most deadly is transactional leadership only knows to use of tangible and intangible conditions to exchange values with subordinates for getting the leadership. It is not able to give employees the significance of work. Thereby, the transactional leadership could not arouse the enthusiasm of employees or evolve their creativities. On the basis of these two theories, it caused a new thinking but it is difficult to have an absolute answer about which leadership approach is better.

Transformational leadership has its applicable conditions and transactional leadership also has its stage. So, with a contingent method, it should apply to a special situation. The most important thing is the balance of transformational leadership versus transactional leadership. It is about being transactional in a transformational way. The case study five points out that Kristin had protection, motivation and vision t the same time and totally trusted her subordinates. The followers accepted and enjoyed the devolution and the responsibility. Kristin is not a control freak.

She made the challenge in a constructive way. Now the company has new customers every week and broke into new markets. The change never stops in The Sandwich Factory. Kristin used the transformational and transactional theory to finish the process of satisfaction between she and subordinates. She made subordinates recognize the responsibility and the signification of their tasks, and also gave high expectation to inspire them to achieve the common goal. She cared about the demand, ability and desire of followers. Otherwise, she listened, developed and guided her subordinates to grow up in challenges.

Conclusion To sum up the whole report, it would appear that every leadership approach has its benefits and drawbacks. Leaders have to choose and combine some useful aspects form these leadership styles and use it to fit for the company. All of the leadership approaches enhance the prospective of company and the relationship between leaders and followers. Therefore, knowing the subordinates’ traits is the primary responsibility. Then, balancing subordinates’ emends with organizational targets is to make sure the organizational development in a straight way.

Furthermore, the relationship between leaders and followers is complex and contextual. No leader could predict with any certainty how changing circumstances and events might affect the relationship with followers. The emotional connection with staffs is one of the effective ways to complete the leadership role in an organization. Not only pay attention to the business profit margins, but also concern with the subordinates’ work-life balance and well-being. The leader with high emotional intelligence could be easier to influence their staffs.