Leadership, Management, and Organisational Theories. A Critical Literature Review

Scientific Study, 2020

35 Pages


I Table of Contents

I Table of Contents

II List of Abbreviation

III List of Figures
1 Introduction
2 Leadership and Management Theory
3 Organizational Theory
4 Organizational Culture
5 Organizational Success Factors
6 Reflections

IV List of References

II List of Abbreviation

I Table of Contents

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

II List of Abbreviation

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

III List of Figures

Figure 2-1 Situational Leadership (cf. Hersey & Blanchard, 1977)

Figure 2-2 A model of leadership: Fiedler (cf. Fiedler, 1964)

1 Introduction

In the context of the Leadership Management and Organisation Theory (LMOT), the present paper is a critical literature review of organisation, leadership and management literature. The evaluation requires to identify, explore and interpret those aspects of organisation, leadership and management theory that cast light on organisational dilemmas, complexities and nuances which are appropriate to my research objectives and identify gaps in the literature to which my research programme will contribute.

It is necessary to make informed judgements that involve a synthesis of relevant fields of leadership, management and organisation theory that are relevant to my proposed area of research.

Furthermore, it is required to demonstrate ongoing development of the appropriate standard of written presentation necessary to be able to demonstrate original thought and to present critical and sustainable arguments to peers in professional and academic domains.

Since the topic has a strong relationship to my research topic it was for logical reason obvious to include also literature review on organizational success factors which relates strongly to start-ups and agile management since the founder has a central role to conduct and implement agile management into the organization.

2 Leadership and Management Theory

Leadership refers to the inter-personal aspects of management since they are subjective and relational aspects of organization and the should be ‘sense-making’ such as influencing and directing the way in which employees see and relate to the organization (and each other), influencing how people think, perceive, feel and behave, envisioning, inspiring, energising, motivating as well as creating meaning, identity and direction for behaviour (cf. Andriopoulos & Dawson, 2014).

In accordance to Daft leadership involves influence, intention, personal responsibility and integrity, change, shared purpose and followers of the leader (cf. Daft R. L., 2011). Further Daft and Lane stated that an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real change and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes (cf. Daft & Lane, 2011). On the other hand Stogdill claimed decades ago that leadership may be considered as the process (act) of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement (cf. Stogdill, 1950).

If we ask about an idealised Leadership we can define that leaders have power over their followers, leaders understand what motivates people because they are aware of their followers needs, ambitions and motivations, leaders are able to envision the future of their respective industries and inspire the rest of the organization to follow their vision in order to achieve common goals as well as a specific style. Not all leaders share the same style; some are more directive; others are more participative in their decision making. Some place an emphasis on performance, others focus on motivating followers and creating cult like environments (cf. Andriopoulos & Dawson, 2014).

In this context we can differentiate between supervision, management and leadership. Supervision is a behaviour on the part of a person in a position of authority concerned with monitoring, guiding and providing corrective feedback and support for subordinates and followers in their day-to-day activities. Management is a rational and analytic behaviour of a person in a position of formal authority directed towards the organisation, coordination and implementation of organisational strategies, tactics and policies. And leadership is a behaviour on the part of an individual which appeals to values, motives and self-perceptions of followers which can result in followers displaying high motivation (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

When organizations have high competencies in management & leadership, they’re able to meet challenges today as well as tomorrow. However, most organizations are usually lacking one or the other. When management exists without leadership, the company is often unable to change. And when leadership exists without management, the company is only as strong as its charismatic leader. Most of the time, organizations are overstaffed with managers, but lack enough leadership to help them deal with constant change (cf. Kotter, 2001).

The Leadership Cadre implies that the ‘new leader’ moved beyond establishing clear goals and structuring activities, need to understand the ‘competitive environment’, identifying needed capabilities to compete and taking appropriate action to undertake transformation. Therefore, leadership needed throughout the organisation (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

‘Only with a strong cadre of leaders – strategically adept and interpersonally skilled – would change of the scope and magnitude to transform a major corporation be possible’ (cf. Conger & Benjamin, 1999).

The leadership myth implies that a distinction is frequently made between leadership and management, which is understood as something closer to bureaucracy and stability. Leadership is often defined as being about ‘voluntary’ obedience. There are assumptions of harmony and convergence of interest and the leader seldom uses formal authority or reward/punishment in order to accomplish compliance. There is a great divide between management/managers and leadership/leaders. The leadership–management distinction further emphasizes the more grandiose aspects of leadership, reserving this term for the more dynamic, inspirational aspects of what people in authority may do (cf. Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003).

However much ‘leadership’ activity is fairly mundane. It differs little from what other people do, at least at a behavioural level. Fairly mundane acts are given a particular aura and appear to be significant and remarkable when framed as leadership. The significance of the formal position as manager is vital for this framing, thus making the distinction leader/manager problematic (cf. Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003).

In Critical Theory terms the distinction between leadership and management creates a division between knowledge and action. Generally, in the German tradition the terms management and leadership continue to be synonymous (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

The trait theory is based on the notion that great leaders are born not made. In favour during early years of the twentieth century, waned in the middle years, has earned new interest through current emphasis on visionary and charismatic leaders" (cf. Northouse P. , 2013).

The five major leadership traits, intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability is very uncertain. The personality tests from which these traits are identified construct rather than discover such traits. The approach implies that the situation is unimportant (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

Problems associated with trait theory are the impossibility to come up with an exhaustive list of qualities when consider all good leaders, if traits do apply across all situations and the implication that we cannot train or develop leaders, because they are born (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

Individual leaders have a distinctive style of leadership. The style theory provides focus on how leaders actually behave as key factor determining effectiveness and a classifications of leadership behaviours or styles. They also concern with identifying which style works best and they look at different dimensions of leadership with different writers choosing different dimensions (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

The style theory regarding personality focuses on leader personality derived from Jung. Basically, there are eight personality positions on four axes. This is the extent to which the person is extravert or introvert, gathers information in a logical sensing way or tends to be Intuitive, makes decisions in a rational thinking way or relies on feeling and likes to live in an organised judging manner or is spontaneous (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

In the Situational Leadership Theory, the leadership depends on the situation. Different situations demand different kinds of leadership and effective leaders adapt their style to the demands of different situations. The theory says there are two factors at play here: directive behaviour and supportive behaviour. There are four states in the situation approach which are delegating (both behaviours low impact), supporting (supportive behaviour high), coaching (both high) and directing (directive behaviour high). Each of these states represents a distinct style of leadership. The model considers the development followers. It is essential the leader knows what the situation is that they are in and when that changes (cf. Hersey & Blanchard, 1977).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2 - 1 Situational Leadership (cf. Hersey & Blanchard, 1977)

To choose the most appropriate managerial style or use of authority, the leader must consider either belief in team member participation and confidence in capabilities of members or subordinates who are independent, tolerant of ambiguity, competent, identify with organizational goals or team has requisite knowledge, team hold organizational values and traditions, teams work effectively or need for immediate decision under pressure mitigates against participation (cf. Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1973).

Effective leadership is contingent on matching a leader's style to the right setting. His/her work based on looking at leader-member relations, task structure and position power. The results obtained suggested a task-orientated leader is the one to have for success in times of crisis or times when everything is going well and people-orientated leaders are best in other, in-between, times. Depend for its effectiveness on self-awareness and situational analysis so that he or she knows when to step into the leadership position, and, crucially, when to step out. Contingency theory is about situational factors that lead to causing the leader to fall back on previous successful behaviour patterns (cf. Fiedler, 1964).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2 - 2 A model of leadership: Fiedler (cf. Fiedler, 1964)

The Leader-Member Exchange Theory focus on the relationship between leader and subordinates. Depending on the nature of the relationship and personalities an in-group and an out-group develops. The leader who works with the ‘in-group' can accomplish more effective work than can be accomplished without one (cf. Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). The leader gives in-group members time and support in exchange for their additional effort and commitment. Out-group members are treated fairly but do not get special attention. This approach has interesting moral and ethical issues around favouritism and discrimination - the "trusted cadre" and the "hired hands" (cf. Bauer & Ergoden, 2015).

Transformational, transactional and team leadership are defined in terms of how leaders interact with followers. There is a strong ethical component transformational leadership but to ignore the dark side of leadership can distort efforts to learn about leadership. The process whereby the leader engages with others to raise the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower. The essential distinction between transformational leadership and transactional leadership is that the latter focuses solely on the exchanges that occur between leader and their followers (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

The transformational leadership theory started to be popular in 1980s onwards. Focus on leadership as ‘management of meaning’ and process of strategic influence in which capacity to sway others by shaping personal goals in line with collective as common culture, leaders as ‘sense-makers’ and sense-givers' by communicating a mission and inspiring others as well as the leader as inspirational element (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

Charismatic Leadership depends on the ‘charismatic’ personality of the leader. The personal and behavioural characteristics of the leader are seen to be attractive to the followers which leads to high levels of dependency on the leader since the leader’s vision is seen to be ‘the only way forward’ (cf. Northouse P. G., 2011).

Leadership is important because members need figures who will act with courage and intelligence in order to solve difficult problems. At the heart of leadership lies a healthy narcissistic impulse, the ability to have a good sense of ‘who I am’. However, it does not take much for this ‘healthy’ narcissism to topple into dysfunction and organizational disadvantage so the leader has to be constantly aware of his/her attitudes and behaviours (cf. De Vries, 1993).

Trust-based leadership recognises that individual’s need to 'belong' and is a process that shifts behaviours to outstanding levels by helping members to be creative. Leader introduces helpful processes that emphasize cooperation not coercion and trusted leader establishes warm, supportive climate as well as non-threatening space (cf. Rickards & Clark, 2006).

3 Organizational Theory

Organization theory involves describing, explaining, and being able to predict the things that people do in organizations and the recurring patterns in which this takes place that lead to the development of different organizational forms. This inevitably involves using social science theory (e.g. theory from sociology, social psychology, psychology, politics, economics, anthropology, natural sciences). In organization theory Kurt Lewin’s idea that ‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’ is frequently cited as providing a link between organization theory and issues of change in organizations (cf. Lewin, 1951).

Organization theory is important due to the fact, that everyone is affected by the existence and what goes on in organizations. We are all members of organizations for most of our lives. What happens in organizations is ultimately traceable to human behaviour. Organization theory helps us to reflect upon and understand who we are, and why we are who we are. It is about us and how we interact with others during our encounters in a vast array of different, often deceptively ordinary and mundane, social contexts. Mainstream organizational theory developed out of social and technological changes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are bureaucracy as an almost universal feature of public and private organization, the idea that as organizations respond to their internal and external environments they develop similar characteristics as well as the interactions between groups of organizations as in discussion of organizations as ecologies (cf. Starbuck, 2006). These modernist and neo-modernist themes continue to be very powerful in shaping our understanding of organizations (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

During the twentieth century other themes become important in Organization Theory. These include post-modernism – a body of theory that proposes that organizations need to take on new forms given the pace of radical social and technological change, postmodernism – a body of theory that asks radical questions about the very nature of our understanding of organizational ‘reality’, the symbolic nature of organization – a body of theory that explores the nature of organization identity and culture as well as critical theory, psychoanalysis and feminist organization theory – a body of theory that explores the nature of organization and our relationship to it (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014). ‘An organization is the rational coordination of the activities of a number of people for the achievement of some common explicit purpose or goal, through division of labour or function, and through a hierarchy of authority and responsibility’ (cf. Schein, 1970). But on the other hand, ‘We can ask an individual about his goals or purposes but it is difficult to approach an organization in the same way. It seems doubtful whether it is legitimate to conceive of an organization as having a goal except where there is an ongoing consensus between members of the organization about the purposes of their interaction’ (cf. Silverman, 1970).

Organizations are social artifacts: They are created and maintained by our collective human social interaction, they have disputed goals: Organizations are created by people to serve some purpose but this does not mean that every member of a particular organization shares those goals, they are social structures: The pursuit of particular purposes usually requires that human activity is structured, coordinated and often controlled by e group, in some way – but others may well resist this structure and they have ambiguous boundaries: It is difficult to identify where organizations start and finish and what goes on ‘outside’ can affect what happens ‘inside’ (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

To talk of organizations as having goals can be misleading since it creates an impression of consensus and it is not clear whose goals are being accorded priority in such a definition. Organizations do involve some groups attempting to ensure that their particular purposes are imposed upon, or influence, the organizational behaviour of others. The pursuit of these purposes usually entails the exercise of power and control by some members. This, of course, can lead to covert and overt forms of conflict as people might resist these attempts at controlling, coordinating, and influencing their behaviour whilst they try to pursue their own purposes (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

Organization Theory is the total body of knowledge to which we can have access in order to develop our understanding of and knowledge about organizations. Within this total body of knowledge exists a number of meta-theories (such as modernism, critical theory, postmodernism and so on) that look at organizations from different theoretical lenses and which may be in competition with each other. Within these meta-theoretical perspectives lie individual theories which provide different explanations for particular phenomenon (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

The double hermeneutic (derived from the Greek hermeneutikos which means interpretation) is the transmission of ideas and practices. On one hand we have the domain of organization theory where social scientists’ interpretations in which the development of organization theory that describes, explains and criticizes the various forms that organizations take place. And on the other hand, we have the domain of organizational practices where social actors’, or agents’, interpretations provide the meaningful construction of action that results in the everyday practical, creation and maintenance of organizations by their members (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

Theories are used to describe, explain, and justify the things that we do and how we do them. Theories also can influence how we see ourselves and others and how others see us. The work of management inevitably deploys theory – especially management and organization theory. The practical activities of managers can affect theory via the double hermeneutic. Therefore, we need to be aware of the theories that inform past and current management and organizational practices (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).

Organization Theory is characterized by an array of different perspectives. One answer lies in how different philosophical positions are embedded in different approaches to Organization Theory. Some form of philosophical commitment inevitable and people adopt different philosophical positions sometimes without explicitly recognizing it. This can lead to disputes between different philosophical positions. We need to understand these philosophical differences in order to understand the diverse nature of Organization Theory.

Schein suggests that basic assumptions enable us, as organization members, to relate to the world in patterned ways, to solve problems and make decisions. Unless we are in deep learning mode, we tend to take them for granted. Basic assumptions lie deep within consciousness - they represent common-sense, the organizational mind-set. There are five main categories of basic assumption, which are the nature of reality, the nature of the external environment, the nature of people (self and others), the purpose of human activity and the nature and purpose of relationships (cf. Schein, 2010).

If we compare Modernist Organisation Theory, Neo-Modernist Organisation Theory and Post-Modern Organisation Theory we can see different aspects clearer. In the Modernist Organisation Theory the reality is a real world of organisation out there which is to be investigated through the ‘facts’, the external environment needs to be controlled, the nature of People are essentially rational and leaving emotions at the organisation gate, the nature of human activity is to make progress and the purpose of relationships is to serve the organisation and be a member of the corporate culture. In the Neo-Modernist Organisation Theory the reality is a real world of organisation out there which is to be investigated through the experiences of staff, customers and stakeholders, the external environment exists to learn and develop, the nature of people is essentially rational but also emotional, the nature of human activity is to learn and develop and the purpose of relationships is to enable growth and development for the individual and the organisation. Last but not least in the Post-Modern Organisation Theory the reality is complex, multi-causal, dynamic and not discovered by rational means, the external environment is unpredictable but with dynamic hidden patterns (like the weather), the nature of people is capable of infinite change and adaptability once the ’old patterns’ are discarded, the nature of human activity is to learn and develop through understanding and dealing with ambiguity and the purpose of relationships is to enable growth and development but to recognise the ambiguity of relationships (cf. McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2014).


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Leadership, Management, and Organisational Theories. A Critical Literature Review
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leadership, management, organisational, theories, critical, literature, review
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Patrick Lukasiak (Author), 2020, Leadership, Management, and Organisational Theories. A Critical Literature Review, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/933684


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