Leadership Theory in a Changing Essay

Pages: 20 (5806 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Thus, for principals and administrators, a balance is demanded. Sergiovanni reports that "the unique context for schooling, particularly in a democratic society, raises the question of sources of authority for leadership practice. As important as a school leader's personality and interpersonal skills may be to success, and as handy as bureaucratic reasons may be to use, neither are sufficiently powerful to provide that leader with the sources of authority needed to reach students, parents, teachers and others in powerful ways." (Sergiovanni, p. 2) Sergiovanni therefore goes on to assert that the discretion provided by moral orientation can help to drive this balance and can help to make one's leadership style adaptable to the specifics of any type of system.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Leadership Theory in a Changing Assignment

One reason that this adaptability takes on added importance in discussions on modern business is because of the demographic impact of globalization. As the text by Chhokar et al. (2007) reports, it is increasingly the norm in business to engage partners, employers or other personnel overseas. Today, all manner of cultural and ethnic background are converging on the global trade forum and bringing with them a diversity that challenges the sensibilities of many an experienced leader. That is why, Chhokar et al. argue, it is important to understand that different cultures enter into this forum with their own distinct values where leadership is concerned. By providing an overview of the way that a number of different business cultures perceive leadership, we can see that there are no universal formulas for effective leadership. Again, to the contrary, the ability to remain flexible and adaptable is of central importance. In its review of 25 distinct societies and the way that each addresses the issue of leadership, the text by Chokkar provides a view of leadership as something defined by an extremely wide range of variables and contextualized factors. As with the balance provided by morality in the text by Sergiovanni, cultural sensitivity should be seen as a centralizing force in the face of great diversity and, frequently, in the face of unfamiliarity. According to Chhokar et al., "it is obvious that globalization is the name of the game in business, and no large firms can afford to ignore their overseas markets. Toyota has 39 overseas production centers in 24 countries, Microsoft has offices in over 60 countries, and Nestle operates in over 80 countreis. Even firms from emerging economies are keen to globalize. Haier, a Chinese firm that sells household appliances, conducts business in over 160 nations and operates manufacturing facilities in many countries, including the United States, Italy, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, and Vietnam."

This demonstrates the sheer proliferation of multinational trade and, as a consequence, shows the new frontier before business leaders. Especially in those operational contexts that will call for interaction with overseas markets, leadership which is not adaptable to the positive engagement of other business cultures will be at a considerable disadvantage. So too, then, will be the company that it leads. What most conspicuously emerges from the text by Chhokar et al. is the imperative for the modern organization to prioritize cultural sensitivity, adaptability and flexibility in personnel employed in positions of management, administration or executive leadership. These are the individuals often relied upon to interface with leaders and personnel from different national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. A certain inherent makeup will coincide with training and knowledge of leadership in a multicultural setting.

At its root, this demand helps to restate an important idea bout the versatility of effective leadership. And Chhokar et al. confirm this position which already is articulated here throughout. Namely, the idea that the job of defining leadership should not be left to oversimplification is an essential one and that discourse on this subject necessarily remains in a state of constant evolution. According to Chhokar, "leadership has been a topic of study for social scientists for much of the 20th century (Yukl, 2006), yet there is no universally agreed-upon definition of leadership (Bass, 1990). A large number of definitions have been advanced by scholars. The core concept of almost all such definitions concerns influence -- leaders influence others to help accomplish group or organizational objectives. The variety of definitions is appropriate as the degree of specificity of the definition of leadership should be driven by the intentions of the research." (Chhokar et al., p. 5)

Again, it is impressed upon the researcher in the literature that leadership can not be encapsulated simply or without the exhaustion of a variety of perspectives. Especially in light of the increased probability of interacting with unfamiliar cultures as created by the context of globalization and trade liberalization, preparation for navigating and mediating this variety of perspective may be a determinant of leadership qualification. And from the perspective of much of the literature already encountered, leadership qualifications can be a strong determinant of the performance exhibited by personnel and by the business as a whole. As the text by Charan et al. (2011) asserts in fact, leadership may be the single most important feature driving a company's success. Charan et al. put forth the argument that only through strong, confident, respected and highly centralized leadership can a company be influenced to perform adequately in today's highly tumultuous marketplace. According to Charan et al., therefore, the organization must recruit, train, vet and advance its leaders with clarity, care and judiciousness.

This will depend on the combination of effective evaluation and effective job definition. To the latter imperative, Charan et al. report that the clarity of the roles and expectations before leadership will be tantamount to their ability to navigate the challenges of technology-mediated employment, to weather the unwanted pitfalls of a recession economy and to generally reflect company values in their actions and approach to work. To this end, Charan et al. go on to indicate that "in this rapidly changing environment, leaders are no longer sure of their roles and responsibilities. How are they to treat employees who invest so much time and energy in communicating electronically? How transparent can and should they e when it comes to issues such as downsizing and performance. How can they build trust among employees who are increasingly distrustful of management? No leader at any level can answer these questions effectively without a framework that clearly defines his or her role." (Charan et al., p. xiv)

This forces us to reconsider the theme of balance. Just as we are required to reflect on the need for flexibility, versatility and cultural sensitivity, so too must the organization itself ensure that its core values and ideals are being channeled through leadership. Thus, a clear definition of that which is expected, Charan et al. contribute to our study, can help the leader at the managerial or administrative level to meet and even to exceed the expectations of the firm. Additionally, providing this type of structure for the role of the leader can help to provide the leader with the grounding otherwise needed to engage his or her responsibilities with discretion and autonomy. This is important because, as the text by Daft & Lane (2007) contributes to our study, an extremely critical element of effective workplace leadership is possessing the sense of discretion and entitlement to forge meaningful working relationships with personnel. Through effective communication, motivational tactics and modes of empowering personnel, a leader can influence the dedication and the sense of being able to contribute present in each employee. As the text by Daft & Lane indicates, a leader who helps to create an atmosphere were personnel feel thusly motivated will be more successful in obtaining desired performance levels from said personnel. Daft & Lane make the case that "the importance of motivation is that it can lead to behaviors that reflect high performance within organizations. Studies have found that high employee motivation and high organizational performance and profits go hand in hand. An extensive survey by the Gallup organization, for example, found that when all of an organization's employees are highly motivated and performing at their peak, customers are 70% more loyal, turnover drops by 70%, and profits jump 40%. Leaders can use motivation theory to help satisfy followers' needs and simultaneously encourage high work performance. When workers are not motivated to achieve organizational goals, the fault is often with the leader." (Daft & Lane, p. 226)

Of course, it is a great deal easier to create an atmosphere for effective motivation when a company is experiencing success and a business is moving forward with stability. However, these are conditions which are increasingly scarce in today's sustained era of recession and economic uncertainty. Even for large, sturdy firms with strong performance track records, the imposition of changes brought on by recession and globalization are demanding transformation. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the implications of transformational leadership, a specific style and orientation that is geared toward guiding personnel through the crisis of transition. Astin & Astin (2001) offer a critical discussion on how a leader might most effectively posture… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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