Formal Leaders Perceptions of Informal Leaders in Their Workgroups

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 40
Words: 10163
Reading time:
37 min
Study level: PhD


This chapter aims to describe the main theme of the research study. It contains complete information about the topic, background and significance of the research study topic. The background of the problem is also briefly explained to show the nature of the problem. Moreover, the research methodology employed for conducting the research study is also explained in this chapter.

Background of the Study

Leadership is an important part of organizational management and the leadership capabilities of a person have strong influence upon the performances of the individuals as well as upon the overall performance of the organization or department. Several research studies have been conducted to identify the importance of leadership qualities and the leadership perception of formal leaders. It is identified in many of the researches that the leadership perceptions held by the individuals are also affected by their ages, experiences, genders and education levels. This dissertation is based on the objective of determining the relationship of age, gender and experience upon the leadership capabilities of the managers. In order to attain this objective, the dissertation employs a mixed methodological approach.

Qualitative and quantitative data and information are gathered from different secondary as well as primary resources and then this data and information are reviewed and analyzed to have complete understanding of the subject matter of the dissertation and to explore the answer to the main research question. The dissertation presents qualitative information related to the topic of the research study with the help of secondary analysis of data and collects quantitative data for having deep insight over the issue with the help of a statistical survey that is conducted among 1,000 managers using a structured questionnaire. The literature review presents the conceptual framework that determines the objectives and goals of the research study and the statistical survey results allow collecting practical evidence from the field about the formal leader’s perception of informal leaders.

Statement of the Problem/ Research Question

The effects of age, gender and experience level upon the leadership perception have been studied by different social scientists during different time periods, using different research approaches. However, it is found that the healthcare sector is less emphasized by the social scientists while collecting evidence about the formal leaders’ perceptions of the informal leadership. The healthcare managers do need complete information about the general trends and philosophies governing their sector in order to best utilize their informal leaders. In doing so, they must have deep insight over all the aspects of the issue so that they become able to manage their work with the support of a blend of formal and informal leaders. Unfortunately, very little research work is done around the topic that specifically studies the healthcare sector managers. Thus, this dissertation is intended to present complete understanding of the formal leaders’ perception of the informal leaders in the context of healthcare management. In this regard, the research study seeks the answer to following research question with the help of literature review and statistical survey results.

“Is the perception of the healthcare sector managers about informal leadership is influenced by their ages, gender and experience or education level?”

Need and Significance of Research

The management of an organization is an important issue and the role of leaders possesses great importance in determining the successful management of an organization in terms of better human resource management to assure successful accomplishment of the organizational objectives. The role of leaders and the perceptions of formal leaders about informal leaders have been studied by the social scientists from different aspects. This subject matter also has enough room and depth to become centre of social scientific researches. Many of the research studies have shown the results that leadership qualities possessed by a person make major difference in his performance within the department. This is an important topic that has great potential for research work because a better understanding of the formal leader perceptions about informal leaders will allow the related people to understand the philosophies and thinking of each other and ultimately a better working environment would be achieved with high expectation about the achievement of the goals of the organizations.

Hence, the dissertation is based on a research study that is conducted around a very important topic. Though there are already several research studies conducted in this perspective it was found that the healthcare managers are specifically not studied to find out their perceptions about the informal leaders. In order to fill this gap found in the literature, the research study gathers data and information from different resources and searches for the answer to this question. There is great significance of this research study because the report of this research study will provide deep insight into the leadership and organizational theories. Furthermore, with the help of secondary analysis of data the dissertation will also explain the common impacts that age, gender and experience or education level draws upon the perception of formal leaders about the informal leaders. The responses of the professionals associated with the healthcare sector will further allow understanding the think style and perceptions of the healthcare managers. The outcome of the study is expected in terms of better management of the healthcare sector. The dissertation will allow having detailed look at the leadership philosophies in general as well as in relation to the health care sector. This will not only be a positive contribution to the literature but the related people and experts will also found some valuable information from this research report and after having deep understanding of the subject matter they will become in a position to handle their organization in effective manner.

Research Methodology

The dissertation is based upon a mixed methodological research approach where both the quantitative and qualitative research methods are combined together so that a greater level of reliability and validity could be achieved. The qualitative research method selected for the research is “secondary analysis of data” whereas the quantitative research method employed for the research is “statistical survey.” Mixed methodology is chosen because it is significant method for studying and analyzing wide range of topics and issues. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004) explained that “mixed-method kind of research draws upon the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative analysis, which enables the researcher to draw upon several methodologies in measuring the variables of the study.”

As far as the qualitative research is concerned, it could be of many types like case study, literature review, natural experiment, participant observation, interviews based, secondary analysis of data or the combination of these (Berg, 1989). In this dissertation the objective is to study and analyze the perceptions of formal leaders about the informal leaders within an organization. There are several other important aspects that are attached with the issue like the impact of gender, age and experience upon the leadership capabilities etc. It is very important to have complete understanding of these concepts and philosophies and this understanding could be achieved best by reviewing different research studies and other parts of literature conducted around this topic. So, the study is done by conducting a review of all the secondary data available related to the topics of the research. Thus, the qualitative research method selected for the research is “secondary analysis of data.”

The significance of secondary analysis of data as a qualitative research method is widely accepted by the social scientists. Miles and Huberman (1994) explain that “Secondary analysis of data is basically to reanalyze the data that is already compiled by other researchers and organizations to meet the requirements of their own study or database. The review and analysis of the secondary data is a critical look at the existing researches and documents related to the topic. It is the summary and analysis of the existing information. With the help of this research method, the dissertation presents detailed overview of different theories and philosophies related to leadership, organizational theories, gender, age and experience impact upon the leadership capabilities etc.

Along with qualitative research approach, the dissertation utilized a quantitative research method in order to collect data for research study. In this regard, “statistical survey” is selected as the quantitative research method that is a very common research method and many the social scientists believe that it is an effective research tool. Abramson and Abramson (1999) highlight the significance of statistical survey and reveal that “statistical survey is an efficient way of collecting information from a large number of respondents, the information can be used to study attitudes, concepts, values, beliefs, and behaviors”. The statistical surveys also provide lot of flexibility as it is an effective and efficient method of collecting data from large number of respondents that allows the data collection through very large samples. The data can be used to determine validity, reliability, and statistical significance (Massey and Krotki, 1997). Hence, it is observed that statistical survey is an important and significant research tool that can be used to collect lot of information from many respondents in lesser time.

In order to conduct the survey, a structured questionnaire is constructed and made available online through a website. The respondents are selected randomly for the survey and they were sent the requests to participate in the survey via email. Almost 1,000 members of a healthcare consortium were sent the online link to access and answer the survey questionnaire. A time period of one month was decided to collect the responses of the participants and all the responses collected during this time period are included to calculate the survey results. Their responses are calculated with the help of different statistical software like ANOVA, SPSS and MS Excel.

Limitations and Assumptions

Though the dissertation attains its entire objective successfully there were also certain limitations encountered while conducting the research study. The major problem was encountered in terms of time shortage. A time period of one month was decided to collect the responses from the survey participants but the rate of response was very slow due to which the research study was limited to fewer survey participant’s responses. Many people were contacted and requested to participate in the survey but most of them took long time in responding and some didn’t respond favorably.

There are certain assumptions also made at the beginning of the research study. It was assumed that all the participants of the survey will answer the questions of the survey questionnaire honestly and to the best of their ability. It is also assumed that every participant will take the survey once and did not complete multiple entries. The participants are also assumed to be able to cognitively understand all questions asked and communicate their level of knowledge on the subject area.

Literature Review

The research study aims to explore the effects of a manager’s leadership qualities on the performances of the entire department and the relation of education level, gender and experience of the managers with their leadership perception. The dissertation strived to explore some very important aspects of the issue. The main focus of the research study is upon the effects of leadership qualities of an employee upon their performances within an organization. It is a wide topic that requires having deep understanding of the background issues, theories and philosophies attached to leadership phenomenon. The literature review is conducted to present a detailed overview of all the issues discussed in the dissertation. In order to have better organization and presentation of information, the literature review has been divided into three different parts so that different aspects of the issues could be explained separately in details. The first part of the literature review discusses the evolution of organizational theories right from the classical approaches to the modern-day theories. The second part is dedicated to explaining different leadership theories whereas in the third part of the literature review, the dissertation strives to explain the effects of gender, age and experience level on the leadership.

Evolution of Organizational Theories

Organizational theories are often referred to as management theories. The organizational theories are basically meant for studying the structure of an organization so that the effectiveness and productivity of the organization could be predicted. There are many different approaches towards the organizational theories from the classical approach to the modern theories. However, the organizational theories can be distributed into four major categories including classical theory, human relation theory, contingency theory and modern systems theory. The classical theory of organization is based upon principle of management, concepts of line and staff; committees and management functions.

Though there are many theories presented to explain the role of leaders and managers within an organization but the theoretical framework presented by Fayol is supposed to be an important theory that identifies the governing factors within a workgroup setting. Fayol’s work is regarded as the first one to be written down about leader’s role. He shows how a manager or leader can best manage an origination and the workers to make possible the achievement of their collective objectives. According to the Fayol’s theory, leadership is the ability to plan their objectives and goals. The leader must possess the talent to organize the situation. The leader has the art of influencing and directing others to accomplish an object and the coordinate all the activities and control all the performances of the people within the workgroup setting. Fayol suggests that as a leader it is necessary to have a unity of command. According to his theory, a leader must be given criticism on the progression in order to make required amendments. His theory shows that the activities of leaders are task-oriented rather than people-oriented.

Fayol put forward some principles that are called principles of management. According to these principles, the division of work is very important for a leader. He describes specialization as a human process that can be seen everywhere and brings tempo and accurateness which is the cause of output rising. When the work is divided according to talents and nominal knowledge, the worker is most able to deal with it. Fayol gives importance to authority and describes that the leader must have the right to give orders and the power to faithful agreement.

The theory also highlights the significance of discipline that is very important for achieving a goal.. In order to achieve any purpose or goal, an individual receive some orders from the superior as per the rule of command. It is very crucial that there should be no conflict of interest between any individual aspiration and leaders so that altogether they can work for accomplishing their objectives rather concentrating upon other side issues. Fayol also gives very important to the line of authority which holds back communication. In an ideal situation, the entire department should communicate with each other only through their heads and the official chain of power running from top to bottom of the organization. Fayol portrays the basic problem as the balancing of its requirements with its resources, the leader of the work should generate a single plane and all other play their parts. It is necessary that all individuals or workers receive fair payment for service. Fayol thought that they should concentrate on what’s happening inside the organization and not discuss external power.

After Fayol theory, theorists research great men and come to the point that the power of leadership is natural. The theorist declared that great leaders arrive when there is a great need. These theories tell us that great leaders are born and they are not made by anyone. These theories frequently describe great leaders as superhuman, legend and ordained to increase to leadership when needed. The idea of great man was also drifted into the myth domain, with the nations that in times of need, it is an easy to prove by pointing to such people who play an effective role to lead their nation.

Although there are many important factors identified in the Fayol’s theory that can help a manager to understand his role and managing the responsibilities but the classical approach was not really a tested solution and required any substantiation. For example, the classical theories mostly present the view of organizations and man by focusing on the structure and order whereas some important factors like individual freedom, motivation, and consideration of the environment are often neglected in the classical theories. Thus some identical flaws in the classical theory led to the emergence of neo-classical theories.

The neo-classical theories are also referred to as human relations theories. It is often argued that the neo-classical theories are also built on the foundations of the classical theories. However there is major difference in these approaches that the new classical theory gives more importance to the human relations. This theory is built on the assumption that being a part of an organization or workgroup, the psychological and social aspects of an individual must be emphasized. The importance given to the individuals in the neoclassical theories could be understood from the fact that the neoclassical theories define an organization “as a group of persons with a common objective”.

The neo-classical theories held the belief that each individual is different from other and this difference also led towards change in motivation of a person towards work and goal achievements. Thus, the management decisions and activities must be formulated after understanding the overall nature and behaviors of the employees so that they can b dealt with fairly and the management can also attain its objectives in terms of getting highly motivated and efficient workforce. The neoclassical theories explain that within each formal organization, there exists an information organization with a social aspect that demands the management to view the workforce as individuals of a society rather than just human resource for accomplishing the organizational goal.

This theoretical approach, like the classical theories also has some limitations. There were many studies designed on the basis of this theoretical framework but most of those studies were designed improperly. This approach motivation among the human at very limited extent and gives no consideration to the environment where the organization function. Thus these theories were followed by the contingency theories. During 1960s, many the social scientists focused on the issue of relationship between the organizations and their operating environment. The emergence of different technologies also became the basis for the emergence of this thought. The contingency theory assumes that for successful and effective management of an organization, it is very important that the management must consider the particular situations of the environment of the organization.

The theory further argues that the situation of the operating environment often varies and the management must have complete knowledge about different leadership styles that can work best in different types of environment. After reviewing and analyzing the operating environment of the organization, the management has to make the decision that which leadership styles will serve best for the organization and will help to manage the organization matters in more effective manner. There are three most important elements identified in the neoclassical approaches to organizational management; these three elements are the individuals, the environment and the existing variables. On the other hand, the modern theorist of 70’s and 80″s like Mintzberg and Stewart saw leadership as an open system. There was considerable difference in these two approaches mainly due to their generation gap.

The modern theories argue that leaders are not only required to be good managers but they are also needed to be able to communicate with others to make things happen. The theorists of 1970s presented their leadership approaches as framework that can be referred to to analyze the managerial behaviors and effectiveness. Though these theories are supposed to be different from the early theories they also contain the concepts and philosophies presented in the early theories after some modifications. The modern theory affirms the existence and effectiveness of a framework that can identify the general relationships in the real world. The modern theorists argue that there are basically three characteristics or elements of a system are Input, process, and output; and the nature of an organization is basically determined through its desired objectives.

The environment is viewed as an influential as well as constraining factor for an organization because the variables that exist within an organization play vital role in determining the success and smooth flow of an organization’s operations. The operating environment of an organization is supposed to determine the available output for an organization, the process and the final position of the finished products. It is also assumed by the modern theories that a controlled mechanism is required in an organization so that the actual output of the business could be measured against the desired objectives. In the light of this measurement and evaluation the management can make required changes in their policies and leadership style. Furthermore, the modern theory emphasizes the need for flexibility in the leadership approach so that the organization can switch from one style to another to cope up with the variations and changes occurring within the operating environment.

The models of organizational management and leadership are presented by different theorists and social scientists. Along with that, there are some important models of organizational management and leadership that are presented by different organizations. These models also possess great importance in the context of organizational theories and leadership perceptions because these models are formulated and adopted by some famous organizations and can be sought as practical and implemented examples of models and theories of organization and leadership.

For example, The International Monitory Fund presents a model for organization and leadership management. The IMF’s main objective of presenting the model is to foster effective managerial practice. The organization defines set of effective managerial behaviors that can be best practiced in management competencies. The model shows that there are some basic qualities of leadership that must be present in a manager to assure successful execution of the organizations’ plans and to attain the key objectives of the organization. There are six major groups formed under the model that describe 15 important competencies that an organization needs to effectively manage its leadership-related matters.

The first category explains that a manager must possess intellectual leadership factor that referred to the qualities of making sound judgments, and have the strategic vision supported by analytical skills. The second category informs about the importance of work management factor that in order to run an organization smoothly it is very essential that the manager should have the skills to plan and organize the works in effective manner so that the activities of the organization can drive the positive and desired results. The third category explains the dynamics of communication factor and tells that the manager or leader of an organization should possess oral presentation skills and he should know the importance of open communication with the group members.

The interpersonal factor is also an important consideration while looking at the model of organizational management. The manager is supposed to be equipped with the capabilities of building effective relationships, negotiating and influencing the relationships of the organization with the related entities. The management of people in effective way is also an important quality required in the manager that he should be able to motivate people to give their best. In order to achieve this objective, the manager has to design strategies to foster teams work and arrange for appraisal and rewards for the staff on good performances. (IMF, 2007).

Leadership Theories

Leadership is an art of encouraging a group to take steps towards accomplishing a common objective. It is one of the most prominent features of the managerial circumstances. Leadership is a collective expression of personal qualities and the capability. The leader is a person who affects the thoughts, feelings and behavior of the individuals within their work groups whom they motivate working for achievement of a goal. Throughout the history, leadership remains an important point of interest for the social scientists and experts. The leadership theories and philosophies evolved from the beginning of the twentieth century and up to present day the experts have identifies several important characteristics that are essential to make a leader. Most of the early theories of leadership focus upon the qualities that renowned between the leaders and their followers however, the approach of modern-day theories is different towards leadership concept and they modern theories mostly look towards leadership from different perspectives line as situational factors and ability level. There are different approaches to leadership that is presented from time to time by different experts in form of leadership theories (Adair, 1973).

The study of the literature related to leadership reveals that different social scientists have presented the essence of leadership quite differently in their theories. Starting from the Great Man and Trait theory to the Transformational leadership theory, the expected role and responsibilities of leaders are changed considerably (Rodgers et al, 2003). It is revealed from the leadership literature that earlier the concept of leadership was focused upon the characteristics and behaviors of the leaders but along with the passage of time, the theorists and experts started giving importance to the role of followers and the contextual nature of leadership that changes the nature and expected role of a leader.

As mentioned above the classical theories of leadership view leaders as exceptional and extraordinary people. For example, the Great man theories explain that the leaders are different from the normal people because they are supposed to possess some innate qualities by birth that allow them to lead people. During this time period, the concept of leadership was mainly attached with a male character and the name Great Man theories also show that the male is mostly supposed to be leaders. The Great Man theories were followed by the Trait theories. In the trait theories, the qualities of a leader are given most importance and it is considered that a leader possesses the qualities required to lead in abundance and he is also supposed to produce these qualities continuously. (Bass, 1995).

These theories characterize a leader with the best possible qualities and decide that a leader is equipped only with the positive attributes and characteristics that make him different from others and allow leading group of people. The trait approach basically rose from the Great man theory because like Great Man theory, it also emphasizes the characteristics of a leader however this theory is also criticized on the grounds that this approach isolates the leadership traits and affirms that people possessing such qualities should only select for the positions of managers and leaders in an organizations (Bass et al, 1994). This approach is followed in some of the organizations even now including military and commissions.

Stogdill (1974) identified some common skills and leadership traits that must be present in a person to become a leader. He disclosed that to be a leader, it is essential for a person to be adaptable to situations. He should always remain alert to the social environment. He is supposed to be highly ambitious and achievement-orientated and at the same time it is also essential that he should be assertive, dependable, dominant, persistent, energetic, and self confident and always remain willing to assume responsibilities. Most likely, these traits could be present in a person who would be clever, intelligent, conceptually skilled, creative, diplomatic, fluent speaker, tactful, organized and have deep knowledge about the group task. Thus the trait approaches towards leadership argue that a leader should possess number of attributes so that he can lead the group and work for the achievement of the collective task of the workgroup. (Stogdill, 1974).

The behaviorism theory was evolved mainly because the trait theory failed to provide conclusive results. The theory was not praised and widely accepted because it is not easy to measure traits just like so many other things that are immeasurable like honesty, integrity, loyalty and so on. The behaviorist theories introduced some changing trends in the perception of a leader’s qualities. These theories were less focused on the portrayal of the characteristics of a leader rather these theories are mostly emphasized upon the actions of the leaders. The concept of the style of leadership is presented in this theory that is based on different patterns of behaviors that could be observed in a leader. These theories introduced changed trend in the leadership literature and the practicing managers were also greatly influenced by this school of thought. (Bergmann et al, 1999).

In 1960, the classic book The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor was published that caught the attention of the experts towards this evolving theory. McGregor was a teacher, researcher as well as a consultant and he used to perform the major duty of managing the people. As he used to deal with so many people during his work, he realized the importance of relationship between the leaders and the followers and he put forwards this idea in his book to promote the theory of behaviorism. He argues that the performances, qualities and output are not the only things that can affect the leadership role but the working relations and coordination between the leaders and the followers also play vital role in determining the level of success of a leader in achieving the common objectives of the organization or workgroup.

The leadership concepts presented by McGregor in his book widely influenced the behaviors of the managers and draw tremendous effects upon their performances. He gave importance to understanding human nature in order to become a successful leader. He disclosed some very interesting as well as important assumptions about the nature of the human being within a workgroup situation. He put forward the idea that average human being dislikes working and wants to avoid the work as soon as it remains possible for him. Thus, it is essential that the humans must be controlled and directed by some authority and at the same time they should also be threatened with some level of punishment in case of low performance. In the same way, they should be motivated to work hard by showing them benefits of performing well in terms of monitory benefits, promotions, rewards, bonuses and recognition etc (McGregor, 1960).

McGregor also believes that an average human being wants to be directed by some authority because he wants to avoid taking responsibility on his own. This attitude is derived by a common nature of the human beings that they are given highest priority to security and on average they remain little ambitious. On the other hand, the attitude of the managers used to be quite different from an average human being. He explains that a manager while working, playing, or even resting always remains involved in learning and accepting different responsibilities and such people also use to exercise self-direction and self-control in order to achieve their committed goals and objectives. (McGregor, 1960).

In 1964, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton started work on developing managerial grid between the task and the employees from which they meant production and people. They work for the orientation of managers and also focus upon the results of combination of these two extremes (Blake & Mouton, 1964). Their study proposes that team management is the most important issue because the employees and the managers always remain highly concerned about this matter and it is an essential part of the duties of a leader to deliver such leadership role and behavior that encompasses team management.

The behavioral theories help the managers in developing some specific types of leadership behaviors among them. They learned the importance of providing effective guidance to the employees however soon there was emergence of situational theories because even the guidance demands of an organization often change over short span of time. The behaviorist theories were followed by the situational leadership approaches. The presenters of these theories believe that the outcome of leadership activities highly depends upon the situation where it has been exercised. These theories were based on the belief that leader has to face different types of situations and every different situation demands quite different role of a leader that allows the leader to accomplish the goal in that particular environment. For example, some of the workgroup settings demand a leader to adopt autocratic style whereas in some other situations the leaders are required to more participate in the group activities to foster workgroup coordination and working relations. (Hamlin, 2002).

Most of the experts and social scientists also believe that in present time, managers can’t remain stick to any particular style of leadership because a single leadership style does not suit a manager in different and changing circumstances. Thus, the managers have the capability to change their leadership style and switch to the one that suits them best according to the demands of the situation. There are many factors and variables that affect the demand of leadership style of a manager like the situation, the people, the task, the organization, and other environmental factors and variables. These theories also pointed out an important point that within the same organization, there could be requirement of adopting different styles of leadership in order to meet the leadership requirement of that specific level. Thus, a leader has to be flexible to adopt the style and strategies according to the demands of the situation. Some of the important theories presented during the emergence of situational theories include Fiedler’s Contingency Model, the Hersey-Blanchard model of leadership, Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s leadership continuum and the Adair’s Action-Centered leadership model. (Rodgers et al, 2003).

The Fiedler’s Contingency model is based upon the belief that managers cannot lead their group or organization by adopting any single way but when the situations are changed within organizations, the leadership requirements and demands also tend to be changed. Thus, in order to cope up with this challenging situation it is essential for the managers to remain contingent on the factors that possess the potential to affect the situation. The environment and work setting of the organization have the major role to play in determining the demands of the leadership style within the organization. For instance, a highly mechanistic the managers are most likely to be directive but in dynamic situations it is recommended that the managers should adopt a flexible as well as participative style to meet the requirements of the situations. This model identifies three major factors that change the situation for a manager. (Fiedler, 1967).

Fiedler’s presented three different major types of situations that determine the leadership style of a manager. At first, the relationship between managers and the employees matters a lot in determining their mutual working conditions. Thus, the manager has to make the decision about his leadership style on the basis of relations with the group members. Task structure is another important consideration while deciding the leadership style. The manager has to review if the working patterns of the organization are highly structured, fairly unstructured or in between these two. After reviewing these working conditions the manager has to take the decision to adopt the most appropriate leadership style. The third important consideration identified by Fiedler is the position power. He argues that the manager has to evaluate the level of authority he possesses within an organization and then on the basis of his authority level he has to decide which leadership style best can work for him.

Another approach towards the situational contingency theory of leadership is presented in the Hersey-Blanchard leadership model that focuses upon the situational perspective of leadership. The researchers argue that the leadership style of a person is basically formed according to the level and position that he possesses within the organization. It is important that a leader must encompass level of maturity of the group members. The model explains that the task behavior and the relationship behavior are the two most influential factors that affect the decision of a leader to adopt a specific leadership style. It means that the task behavior, work patterns, amount of direction and the socio-emotional support enjoyed by a leader in a group situation which leadership style will be most suitable for the leader. (Perre, and Burgoyn, 2001).

In order to attain better understanding of the task and relationship behavior s, the manager has to keep in consideration certain points like he has to assure two way communications with the employees. He must arrange for providing facilities to the employees that enable them to get involved in the decision making process. When the managers are able to review these three important variables then four possible leadership styles can evolve. The first expected leadership style is direction. This style emerges when a leader decides that he has to provide clear and specific directions and instructions to the employees regarding the accomplishment of the organizational objective. In a low followers readiness setting this style is mostly adopted by the managers.

Coaching is another important leadership style that a manager can adopt in order to encourage the two way communication with the employees. Through this, the manager strives to build confidence and motivation among the employees however despite the fact that the employee is given the chance to get involved in the decision making process, the main responsibility to decision making remains in the hands of managers. The moderate followers’ readiness level mostly supports the manager to adopt this leadership style. The third possible leadership style is the supporting leadership style that allows the managers to share the decision making power with the employees or followers. In this situation, the managers don’t take the positions of a director but participate in the activities along with other employees. This style is also supported by the moderate follower readiness level. (Perre, and Burgoyn, 2001)

Another appropriate leadership style is delegation that is mostly adopted by the managers when the followers are willing to attain the organizational objectives using their best abilities. In doing so, the followers also feel the sense of responsibility and become competent and motivated towards the achievement of the organizational task. This style of leadership suits the managers that witness a high follower readiness level. This situational leadership approach demands the leaders review their circumstances deeply and carefully in order to determine the maturity level of the followers or employees in relation to the specific task. If the manager sees that the level of maturity and sense of responsibility is rising among the followers then the manager can adopt the supportive or delegation style of leadership. However, when the manager observes low level of maturity among the followers regarding the particular task of the organization, then he has to make several important strategic decisions to take this low level of maturity to moderate level and once the manager observes that the maturity level has reached a moderate point among the followers, he has chosen from the most suitable leadership style.

Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s leadership continuum is another important approach that explains certain concepts of leadership style in relation to the situations. This theory is based on the fact that the leadership style as well as the follower’s behavior and level of maturity could not be placed at some specific level because in practice all of these things remain in between different levels. It is not allocated to give a specific level to the relationship, behaviors and leadership styles. Thus, the researchers argue that the leadership style within an organization also keeps on changing in accordance with the prevailing situations. When the managers move from one leadership style to another, they encounter mainly four types of leadership styles including autocratic, persuasive, consultative and democratic.

When a manager adopts an autocratic leadership style he is supposed to make the decisions and then announce them in front of the followers just to inform them and provide them instructions to follow. In this leadership style, the manager tells the story to the followers and expects that they will follow their directions without asking them any questions. The persuasive leadership style is the one when the manager took all the decisions by themselves without inviting the followers to get involved in the decision making process. But, in this leadership style the managers also think that if they will take some positive decisions in favor of the work and followers, then these decisions would be highly appreciated by the followers and they will be motivated to perform well. The managers are supposed to demonstrate the decisions along with providing lot of information to the followers and attempt to create enthusiasm among the followers towards the achievement of the group goals.

The consultative style is one in which the managers confer with the group members and followers before they took the final decisions. They not only invite the followers to get involved in the decision making but also give value to their suggestions and concerns when framing the final decision. Though it is not necessary that the managers will accept the suggestions given by the followers but he has to give the followers an impression that the opinions and suggestions of the employees are valuable and have some level of influence upon the decision making of the organization. The degree of follower’s involvement rises in this leadership style but still the managers remain the most responsible person to handle all the process and outcomes of the decisions made by the group members. (Perre, and Burgoyn, 2001).

The democratic leadership style is the one, in which the leaders are supposed to explain the entire problem in front of the followers and then invite them to give their decisions regarding the solution of the problem. In this setting, the manager takes the role of a conference leader or chairman and don’t make the entire decision at his own. The group discussion is commenced where all the members are allowed to express their opinions regarding the subject matter and they are not supposed to follow the instructions without having any questions (Rodgers et al, 2003). This style promotes joining style of working and strengthens working relations of managers and the followers.

The leadership model presented by John Adair in 1973 is also regarded as an important approach towards the leader’s role and responsibilities. Adair put forwards the concept that action is base on the activities of a leader because an action based leaders can successfully accomplish the goals of an organization by getting different jobs done by the teams of the workers and fellow managers and staff. The relationship of the leader and the staff also possesses great importance to assure successful achievement of company goals. He also identified that in order to become an action cantered leader, it is very important that a leader must possess capabilities to perform some specific jobs. For instance, the leader must possess capability to structure the task by directing the job that is to be done. He should also support and review the performances of the individuals that are involved in work with him. He must focus on good coordination among the team members to foster team work. (Adair, 1973).

The situational theories were further refined and got the name of contingency theories. These theories are mostly concerned with the identification of the situational variables that can be studied and analyzed to make decisions about selecting any particular style of leadership. These theorists believe that it is very important to study the environment thoroughly to determine that which leadership style can best fit in the particular circumstances. The success of a leader highly depends upon the correct prediction and identification of the required leadership style. These theories were followed by the transactional theory that reinforces the importance of leaders and followers relationship. This approach is mainly emphasized upon realizing the importance of leader and followers relations. The theory put forward the concept that leader has to identify the collective benefits and present them in front of the followers in form of a contract that allows the leaders to motive their workers with the help of different attractive offers. The leaders strive to improve the performance level of the employees by offering them rewards or recognition in return for their good performances and loyalty with the origination and dedication towards achievement of the mutual goals.

After the transactional theories, the concept of transformational role of the leaders was introduced. The transformation theories put forward the concept that leaders have to change their role and style of leadership when they witness any change in the performance and behavior of an organization. It means that the same leader has to be ready for making different type of decisions as per requirement of the situation. The leaders are not required to follow some type of role and leadership style in the changing situations but as the organizations go through a transformational phase, the role of the leaders should also be transformed to meet the demands of the changed situation.

Though all of the above mentioned theories describe the expected leadership qualities and concept about leadership in quite different manners by presenting quite different approaches towards the concept of leadership but there was one thing common among all these theories. It is observed that all of these theories emphasize upon individual perspective of a leader. These theories give impression that within a situation there is one leader that has to make several decisions about managing the workers and deciding about his role and style of leadership. However, another school of thought presented the view that leadership is not individual decision making and performances but it is a process that diffuses throughout an organization and doesn’t lie solely with the person that is formally designated leader. This approach is referred to as disparate approach to leadership.

This concept brings a major change in the perception of leadership. This approach has its foundations in different social scientific fields like sociology, psychology and politics. This approach argues that more emphasis should be given to developing leadership qualities within an organization rather than just developing a leader. It would be beneficial for the organization when all the employees will have collective responsibilities for leadership and they will be able to think creatively for overall good of their environment. This theory increases the sense of responsibility among the individuals motivating them to think about meeting the demands of the workgroup. There are several issues came across the reading of these theories that remain great topics for debates among the experts. For example, some of the experts still argue that individual aspect of leadership is still preferable and acceptable because it allows better management of work and prevents confusion within an organization regarding distribution of responsibilities.

An important model of organizational management is presented by Hamlin that is called “Hamlin’s Generic Model of Managerial and Leadership Effectiveness. This model presents the concept that the organization should be managed by conducting meta-analysis of leadership and management behaviors of different prominent organizations because it allows having look at various positive and negative indications of management and leadership adopted by different organizations. The model presented some positive and negative indicator that affects the role of a leader in managing the organization and achieving the goal of the business.

The positive indicators include the effective organization and planning that assures proactive management of the matters of the organization. Moreover, a leader is supposed to participate and be supportive so that has can create a proactive team leadership in the organization. The leader must also possess empowerment and delegation and should have genuine concerns for the people associated with the organizations. He has o look after the interests and developmental needs of the staff of the organization to secure their satisfaction. It is also important for a manager to adopt open and personal management approach that allows inclusive decision making. The leader is also expected to communicate and consult with the team members regularly in order to keep the people informed about each development that occurred within the operational boundaries of the organization.

Along with these positive attributes, the model also presented some negative indicators that can contribute to the failure or mismanagement of an organization. The model explains that if the manager or the leader of the organization show lack of concern and concentrates less towards different matters related to the staff then he will be marked with ineffective, autocratic and dictatorial style of leadership and management. If the manager tolerates poor performances of the staff and ignores the low standard then the overall productivity and performance of the organization will be affected badly. Furthermore, the manager should not be resistant to new ideas and changes; he should not have a negative approach towards changes and transformational ideas because it closes the door of innovation and creativity within an organization. (Hamlin, 2002)

Another important approach towards the leadership concept and model is presented in the Zinger Miller Grass Roots leadership model. This model of leadership was developed on the basis of the results of the research studies conducted by collecting 1871 critical incidents from 450 US and Canadian organizations. After reviewing and analyzing the cases the model is presented that have its origins in the CLIMB strategies model. This model also presented some important attributes and qualities that are necessary for a leader. The model proposes that a leader must have the capability to create a compelling future for the organization. He has to create as well as effectively describe the vision that led all the activities of the organization. He should also effectively manage all the changes occurring in the organization to make sure the successful execution and implementation of the vision. The managers or the leader is also required to be responsive towards the identical needs of the customers and he should also support the efforts of every individual in order to foster teamwork. He is also responsible to share information with the group members. This approach assumes that the manager or leader should make decisions after consulting and discussing with the team members. The organization expressed in this model works in horizontal way and builds personal credibility.

The above review of the literature allows having deep look at different models and concepts associated with leadership and role of the manager. It is revealed from the above description that the concept of a leader has changed a lot from what it was supposed to be during the early days. The social scientists now see the role of a leader or manager as more participative that promotes teamwork and also cares about the interests and overall good of the staff. In this way the manager or leader come up with a dynamic, motivated and task-oriented team that e=increases the probability of the successful achievement of the goals of the organization.

Impact of Gender, Age and Experience on Leadership

From the moment of birth a person is surrounded by the elements of age, gender and education and his or her entire life are organized according to these lines. People from different education groups, age groups and genders use to spend their lives with different attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles. The gender, age and their experiences and educational identities not only shape the life of a person but these identities also strongly influence the way people perceive the concept of leadership. There are several research studies conducted to find out the impact of age, gender and education level upon the people’s perception of leadership and it is found that these factors possess the potential to strongly influence the perception of people regarding leadership.

Lips and Keener (2007), For instance, conducted an empirical study to find out the impact of gender on the leadership and revealed that when high dominating women are paired with low dominant men, the women show less potential to emerge as leader. Eagly and Karau (2002) conducted a research study to identify the potential effects of gender stereotypes and leadership prototypes on the evaluation of male and female leaders. It is revealed from the study that differences in the male and females perceptions of leadership often affect the rate of success of male and female leaders. This difference evolved mainly because the group members are found gender-biased and the sex of the leader affects the motivation and participation trend of the followers in the group activities. The males and the female followers have different expectations from the role of the leaders. The females see a very sensitive role of the leaders whereas the male individuals believe that the leader used to be masculine, strong, and tyrannical.

Euwema and Vliert (1990) also disclosed that there are few differences observed in the leadership perception of males and female when they were exposed to same situation. However, the little difference was observed within a controlled environment where there were no differences in the age and managerial experiences of the managers. Thus it is found from this research report that gender might not be as influential factor as it is supposed to be, in making differences in the leadership perception. The male and female managers when attaining same level of education, managerial experience and enter same age group, are likely to respond towards the leadership and management issues almost in same way and in such situation there is no significant role of gender identities observed in the leadership perceptions of male and the females.

Eagly (1990), conducted an empirical investigation to find out if the gender identities have strong influence upon the leadership perceptions of the individuals or it’s the experience and education level that determines this difference. The results of the study show that male and female managers of same ages and experience level tend to react almost in similar ways towards leadership challenges. On the other hand, the reaction and perception of the managers belonging to different age groups and experience level were found quite different from each other, regardless of their genders. Thus, it is revealed from this investigation that the gender identities have less impact upon the leadership perceptions as compared with the factors of age, education level and experience.

Fritz et al (2007) conducted an investigative study to examine the extent of the relationship between gender, age, and education to leadership styles and leaders’ influence tactics. The researchers examine 56 leaders and 234 followers that work in different organizations and with the help of Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-rater version) the researchers identified that gender alone has less capability to influence the leadership perception of the individuals but when the factor of education and experience level also came along the gender factors, there are clear changes observed in the leadership perceptions of male and female managers. This study also highlights the strong influence of experience and age higher than the gender factor while examining the leadership perception of different managers and followers.

Kolb (2008) studied the effect of gender role, attitude toward leadership, and self-confidence and revealed that there are considerable differences in the behaviors of males and females when they work as leaders. The differences in their perception are clearly indicated through the different leadership styles they use to adopt in group settings. Hawkins and Katherine (1992) conducted an empirical research study to understand the effect of gender toward leadership. The results of the study disclosed that there are no significant differences found in the leadership perception of males and females. This study affirms that the gender factor is not obvious to play role in the context of leadership perceptions. However, some other studies revealed important role of gender identities indenturing the leadership perception of male and female managers.

Korabik (1993) conducted an empirical investigation to collect shreds of evidence about the difference in the male and female perceptions of leadership. The researcher revealed that women are supposed to possess different managerial skills as compared with women and in the conflicting situations also, the attitude of the females leaders tends to be different from the male managers. The female leaders handle crisis quite differently as compared with man that shows that gender identity plays major role in determining an individual’s perception of leadership.

Baril et al (1990) conducted a research study to find out the role of gender in formulating the decision making and leadership styles of managers. The study revealed the results that gender is closely related with the leadership effectiveness. The women are found more cooperative in the situation of conflicts as compared with male managers and leaders. In the same way, the women perceive the leadership position as less compensating and demand fewer accommodations and facilities as compared with man. Bass (1990) also investigated the male and females leadership perceptions and found that there are some differences in the leadership style of male and female managers. The male managers were found more obliging and accommodating whereas the female managers were found more integrating and collaborating as compared with the male managers.

Haccoun et al (1998), however, found that there are certainly other factors that contribute to the differences in the leadership perceptions of male and the females like the age, education and managerial experience factors. If these variables will be controlled then there are fewer possibilities of witnessing any major difference in the leadership perception of male and the female. This study shows that the gender difference doesn’t work along to differentiate male perception of leadership from that of a female but there are other important factors like age and experience that work along with the gender issue and demonstrate some level of change in the leadership perceptions of different sex individuals.

The review of the literature provide understanding of the effects of age, gender and education level upon the leadership perceptions but the review of different research studies also bring some contrary results that prevent from making a one sided decision about the effect of gender, age and education level upon the leadership perception of individuals. Thus, it is an important issue that will be investigated with the help of a statistical survey in order to reach towards a logical conclusion regarding this matter.


The above review of the literature allows having deep insight over all the issues related to the topic of the dissertation. The literature review enables to understand different organizational theories to understand the differences in the approaches of social scientists and the differences in their views about the expected role and responsibilities of leaders. It is revealed from the above secondary analysis of data that the organizational theories have gone through several stages and along with the passage of time, the theorists and the experts have induced many new concepts and philosophies in the theoretical framework of organizational management. In the same way, the leadership theories have also evolved over the time period of many decades. The early leadership theories emphasize the characteristics and traits of the leaders and regard them as superficial people possessing all the positive abilities however, the concepts changed along with time and now the theorist focus more upon the importance of team work and effective working relationships of the managers and their followers.

The review of the literature allows having details look at different models that were presented by different social scientists during different time periods. The study of these approached to organizational management and leadership allows having complete understanding of the background of the research topic. Furthermore, the impact of the gender, age and experience is also studied with the help of literature review that enables us to understand that the leadership perceptions of managers are considerably affected by their personality variables like gender, age and education level or experience. Though these issues are studies and understood in details with the help of above review of the literature, but there is still need of affirming these concepts by providing them support from the practical evidence collected from the fields so that these theories and concepts could also be verified specifically in the context of healthcare management.

There is also an important issue highlighted in the above review of the literature that the impact of gender factor upon the leadership perceptions of the individuals is found conflicting in the studies reviewed in the chapter. There are some social scientists that have come up with the results that gender factor strongly influences the leadership perception whereas some other research studies provided the evidence that there is little effect of gender upon the leadership perceptions. The age and experience of the managers tend to be more influential factor that can make considerable difference in the leadership perceptions of the individuals.

Thus, there are some important researches questions derived from the literature review that is explored in the statistical survey. The following key issues are derived from literature review so that the responses collected and the results calculated from the statistical survey could explore and explain these issues with credibility.

  • What is importance of adopting different leadership styles in different work settings?
  • Does this flexibility affect the performance and motivation level of the employees?
  • The formal leaders’ perception of informal leaders is influenced by their ages?
  • The formal leaders’ perception of informal leader is influenced by their genders?
  • The formal leaders’ perception of informal leader is influenced by their experiences or academic levels?


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