The terminology ‘Leadership’ can be used in multiple context hence must be explained carefully with specific reference to each sector (Bess et al, 2001. P1). A leader is a person who has control over others and everything to get a task done (Yukl, 1994. P3). Just as observed in the previous blog, the leader is responsible for both the organization’s external and internal affairs.
Who are contemporary leaders?
Based on their approaches towards work, leaders are commonly classified into Autocrats, Laissez-faire & Democratic leaders.
While Autocrats don’t let subordinates to participate in decision or strategy making, democratic leaders encourage the participation of subordinates in the process and between these two extremities lie the laissez-faire, transformational, transactional leaders (Eagly and Schmidt 2003, P3).
Sex & Leadership:
Contemporary researches look into the differences in leadership styles between men & women and claim that women have superior leadership skills and are more transformational in nature. They also conclude that women are more effective leaders than men and the raise in double standards would give them a further advantage. (Eagly and Schmidt 2003, P 19).
Contradicting to these results, American Celebrity-media executive, Oprah Winfrey is the only black female to make it to Fortune’s most powerful women in corporate America. Also 2018 saw a dip in the number of female CEOs from 32 to 24(Connley, 2018). This proves that there’s fundamentally something wrong with culture in relation to leadership.
Leadership and Culture:
Culture has a greater impact on the skills of a leader, for instance, it can decide the access of individuals from diverse ethnicity to leadership roles or shape the behavior of leaders who are a member of a particular culture, race or religion, either by birth or by choice. The importance of gender and race on leadership escalated dramatically across the globe when a black man of mixed race contested against a white woman in the 2008 American Presidential election. In 2009, America had a 23% of women, 4% of African American, 4% of Asian and 5% Hispanic Chief executives of all organizations despite being dominated by the whites (US. Bureau of Labor Staistics, 2009).
The relational theory and contingency theory which deals with the relationship between the quality of leader-subordinate relationship and the contexts & situations of exercising leadership, respectively can radiate diversity issues in terms of culture of leaders (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) (Ayman, 2004; Vroom & jago, 2007).
The application of relational theory and contingency theory, together, on today’s leadership environment answers the question why black, Islamic, white & woman organizational executives dominate the African, Middle-East, Western & developed countries, respectively. This could help in deducting a pattern in leadership across the globe. However without deep examinations all these are hypothetical claims (own statement).
Global Impact of contemporary leaders:
The results of a study on the effect of organizational culture and leadership style on job satisfaction and organizational commitment in Australia & Hong Kong showed a promising positive link between the former and the later (Lok & Crawford 2003 P15). The same has been evidently seen in Ricardo’s case study, discussed in the previous blog.
The ‘potential’ impact of contemporary leaders in a global scale, based on Lok & Crawford’s findings, can be explored by equationally relating leader efficiency to the Gross Domestic Product & Gross National Happiness through job satisfaction and the changes, in driving forces, for achieving goals, of both the organization and its subordinates.
My inference: The Most Effective form of leadership:
As for the issue with culture affecting leadership efficiency, I believe that communication is the key to build relationship within organization. Communication and healthy relationship between both the leader and the subordinates as well as subordinates among themselves is very essential for an organization.
I’ve been told by a friend that there’s no particular right thing in a Business Administration and that every act, decision & theory is strongly debatable. I’ve also been told by a lecturer that getting to the top is challenging but to remain on top is a more challenging task. These words made me think deep. It made me question “what kind of a leadership style is the ‘right one’ to reach and to remain at the top?”
My deduction was this: There’s no one particular style that will take a leader through every business situation. Every different situation calls for a different style of leadership. A leader who is dynamic in his approach to make a fusion of or switch between autocratic, democratic & laissez-faire approaches; shrewd enough to identify which approach would best suffice the ongoing situation and in possession of an efficient subordinate team will see through most things. He shall be a situational leader.
- Anon, (2019). Traditional Leaders Vs Collaborative Leaders. [online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Traditional-vs-Collaborative-Leaders-Source-B-Team-Virgin-Unite-2015-24-P-a-g-e_fig2_293530298 [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].
- Ayman.R. (2004) Situational and contingency approaches to leadership, in J. Antonakis, A. T. Cianciolo, & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The nature of leadership (pp.148-170). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Bess, J. and Goldman, P. (2001). Leadership ambiguity in universities and k-12 schools and the limits of contemporary leadership theory. [online] Psycholosphere.com. Available at: https://www.psycholosphere.com/Leadership%20ambiguity%20in%20universities%20and%20K-12%20.%20.%20.%20leadership%20theory%20by%20Bess%20&%20Goldman.pdf [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].
- Connley, C. (2018). Oprah Winfrey is the only black CEO on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list—and it speaks volumes. online CNBC. Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/26/fortunes-annual-most-powerful-women-includes-one-woman-of-color.html [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].
- Eagly, A. and Chin, J. (2014). Diversity and Leadership in a Changing World. [online] researchgate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jean_Chin2/publication/42637962_Diversity_and_Leadership_in_a_Changing_World/links/00b49521cad41441d7000000/Diversity-and-Leadership-in-a-Changing-World.pdf [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].
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