2. Examine the topic critically from an academic perspective. Transformational theory-The ‘Hybrid’ of leadership theory
Leadership researches have gone through various paradigm shifts, what has changed is that various new approaches have incorporated more than just one of the classic triad of trait, behaviour, and situational variables (Ross, S. M., and Offermann L. R. 1991). Burns (1978) has also amplified and focused these views and stated an ideal that distinguished between managers and leaders.
It is also an integration of a package new developed leadership visions. Besides Bernard Bass’s 5-factors theory, Kouzes and Posner (1987) developed 5 scale to measure the leadership: the challenging, the process inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modelling the way and encouraging the heart. Its great strength stems from its concrete basis of evidence. A weakness of their approach is that although it incorporates clear behavioural detail, there is no equally clear theory base. (Kouzes and Posner, 1995)
Another one is Elliott Jaques’ ‘Stratified Systems Theory’ (1994) that mainly focuses
on individuals’ cognitive power to think through beginning to the end. Although it is
clear that their approaches covered the characteristic and contextual factor, however it considered emotion and affect irrelevant for leaders compared to.
The third relevant observation is David McClelland and Robert J, House’s theory on
Power Emotion. It firstly discovered both the positive and negative sides of human motives and needs and argued about the inside driver was the need for power achievement. However it has been critically weighed as it focuses only on power motives and cognition is unimportant in comparison. (House, Spangler, et al., 1991)
There is a quote in China that ‘The normal leaders manage the company; the real
leaders build company culture’. The fourth main study is John Kotter and James Heskett’s conclusion of culture influence in 2001. It concentrates on several key
characteristics or attributes (vision, organizational outsider’s perspective, an insider’s knowledge) that engage in leadership behaviours and their effectiveness stems over culture and ability to change organizational culture. They defined a set of actions
such as vision, modelling the vision and empowering followers to act, however they conducted no further research to test their model.
The last fundamental model is Charismatic Leadership that proposed by Conger and Kanungo in 1998. Some scholars thought it can not be regarded as transformational leadership due to, in contrast of other theories, the Charismatic researches have measured leadership from the standpoint of followers’ perceptions of leaders’ behaviours. However, this made it considered as the best outcome-examined methodology of new leadership in John Antonakis’ opinion.
It has become commonplace to recognize that there are literally hundreds of definitions of leadership, with a puzzling lack of agreement not only among leaders themselves and also among scholars who study them.
So, what is successful leadership? As the contribution of prior theories that the successful leader can be summarised as:
a. Naturally have suitable personalities/traits,
b. Can focus both on task and followers in various contingencies,
c. Have motivated values and can influence others,
d. Charismatic and culturally adapted,
e. Able to coordinate group people.
Currently the gap is being bridged by some academics which explore a dynamic leadership. We can find out that theory is developing with time and global interactions. Not one can look to the entire process at one time. According to Day (2000) that leadership development is important as a source of competitive advantage. Majority of companies face the urgency of the transformation of existing leader style, a dynamic and diagnostic model is the cure.
Figure 1 presents the model designed from both individual leader and organization’ perspectives.
Organization’s Leader’s Learning
Learning and and Continuous
Development culture Development
Characteristics of Organizational
Leader/Potential Leader Characteristics Driving
(Self-Insight, Self-Efficacy Leadership Development and Self-Determination) (Leadership Competency
Motivation and Capability, Requirements, Leadership
Readiness to Change Theories)
Adapted from: Manuel London, Todd J. Maurer, Leadership Development, 2003
a. The organization’s perspective holds the characteristics of the task and
contingencies which were argued as the key factors previously. These factors
influence development strategy, competencies and processes for learning.
Culture issues have been enfolded, too. The Contingency theory and
Stratified Systems Theory can be analysed into the left path for a company’s
version or practical research.
b. The Individual sight focuses on the characteristics of a leader or the potential
leader within organization. It as well as pay attention to self learning and
development. Charismatic, Motivation, Behaviour and Power Theories can be
applied in this process.