Term Paper: Headless Chickens Describes an Organization

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[. . .] This 360 degree study can help track the evolution of the leadership styles. A few years later, Avolio and Bass (1991) introduced leadership theoretical models which included three styles of leadership.

Transformational leaders are those who guide followers in the direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements, yet leaving employees free to determine the details of how to achieve the tasks. They often are aware of personality traits, and blend their leadership directives with subtle motivational techniques. Transformational leaders are often charismatic and visionary, and can often inspire followers to transcend their own self-interest for the good of the organization.

Barling, Weber and Kelloway (1996) completed a field experiment with 20 managers trained in transformational leadership and compared them to untrained control groups. They found positive training effects, especially on the managers' intellectual stimulation in the performance of their job. Followers' commitments and financial performance also increased as consequences of the managers' training to be more transformational in their leadership style. A transformational leader instills feelings of confidence, admiration and commitment in the followers through his interaction with them. He is charismatic, creating a special bond with followers, articulating a vision with which the followers identify and for which they are willing to work. Each follower is coached, advised, and delegated some authority. The transformational leader thereby stimulates followers intellectually, arousing them to develop new ways to think about problems.

Transactional leaders hold a view of their tasks as a transactional process whereby leaders respond to subordinates' lower level and security needs. Leaders and subordinates are viewed as bargaining agents whose relative power regulates an exchange process as benefits are issued and received.

Unlike transformational leadership, in the transactional relationship, the leader makes no particular effort to change followers' values or involve them in a process by which they internalize organizational commitment. In times of crisis, people become suspicious to the adequacy of their leadership. If they have confidence in the leader, they are willing to assign more than usual responsibility to the leader. However, if they lack confidence, they are less tolerant of the leader than usual.

Laissez-Faire Leaders exercises little influence or control over their group. Leaving them to sort out their roles and tackle their work, this leader does not participating in this process himself. This approach often leaves the team floundering with little direction or motivation. The Laissez-Faire leader's hands off approach often is interpreted as a leader who does not care, or does not really know what is happening in the everyday activities of his or her organization.

Leadership, Management, and Empowerment

As can be seen in the above definitions of leadership, leadership involves empowering the staff of an organization to take control of, and take responsibility for the aspects of their job. Leadership style is the methods by which individuals pass along the motivation from themselves to their staff. The purpose of leadership is not only to get organizational member to do certain tasks. The purpose of leadership is to get members to take responsibility for, and feel committed to the tasks. At this level, the members of the organization will share a high degree of the organizations values as their own personal values, and will likely extend the level of their involvement in order to improve the overall organization.

Empowerment is a term which arose in management literature when there was little transformational leadership practices in organizations. Leadership after it progressed without significant change for an extended period of time will undoubtedly evolve into a transactional style. Thus empowerment was used to describe the process of beginning to break down the transactional relationship between workers and managers. Today, empowerment should be understood as a part of, and one of the tools of transformational leadership. Empowering workers gives them the tools to use to engage, and transform the organization through their own input and contributions.

Empowerment is not a new idea within the business arena. The concept has been around since the 1960's when American car manufactures realized that they were losing to the Japanese producers. An extensive and extremely well-funded investigation for answers to the recurrent question, how do I get more out of my employees while simultaneously lowering my costs, produced implementable and constructive results. Employee empowerment, in its most basic definition, is effective delegation of both responsibility and resources. Management choose to involve employees at al levels in the decision-making process through providing resources and freedom to make decisions while making them directly responsible for the results of their decisions.

There are obvious methods to achieving the results that the stakeholders of an organization seek through empowerment. Increases in profitability, productivity, and creativity, are all feasible results of the empowerment. "Empowerment is an extremely cost-effective means of bringing about desired changes in performance and operational effectiveness" (Robbins, 2001) While empowerment sounds like a wonderful and transforming idea, it requires a stout devotion of the entire organization, from the top levels downward to implement successfully. The following are a few of the key factors to a successful implementation of an empowerment paradigm.

Extensive organizational preparation is needed to make the shift from transactional leadership to employee empowerment. An organizational-wide commitment is needed to prepare both management and its staff for the changes that are about to take place.

Education is a second tool in preparing for change. Psychological studies have determined that individuals are inherently resistant to change when they don't know the results, and are supported in the change process. Education within an organization will help eradicate some of the fear that's associated with change.

Clear role definition is needed to keep employees moving in a productive direction as they expand into new territory.

Management has the opportunity to align employees with corporate direction by disseminating vital information.

Organizational commitment.

Organizational commitment is a measure of the individual's identification with and interest in the overall effectiveness and success of the organization. Over the past two decades, organizational commitment has become an increasingly popular research subject as organizations attempt to identify those factors which activate personal and intrinsic motivation within the individual worker. The recent interest in the concept is a result of its relationship with other important employee behaviors and the overall beneficial effects on the entire organization when members feel a high degree of commitment to the goals, philosophy, and mission of their group. For example, organizational commitment appears to have an impact on job performance and turnover.(DeCotiis and Summer, 1987) Mowday, Porter, and Steers suggested that society as a whole benefits from employees' organizational commitment due to lower job movement and higher national productivity.(Mowday et al., 1982)

As a result, many theories have been generated in an attempt to determine the causes of such an important organizational attitude.

One popular explanation for the development of commitment is the concept of exchange, whereby the individual becomes attached to the organization in return for gains provided by the organization.(Angle, 1983) Researchers have found support for a relationship between commitment and both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.(Caldwell et al., 1980) Some investigators have attempted to determine the relative importance of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for predicting commitment. The majority of research findings suggest that commitment is more strongly associated with intrinsic rewards than extrinsic rewards

Socialization process of change

According to Louis (1990) organizational socialization is "the process through which organizational culture is perpetuated, by which newcomers learn the appropriate roles and behaviors to become effective and participating members (Louis, 1990). The presence of a new leader in the organization catalyzes a process of socialization for the leader as well as the entire organization. The topic has been discussed from various perspectives, such as socialization stages (e.g., Feldman, 1976) socialization tactics (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979) person-situation interactionism (Jones, 1983) newcomer sense making (Louis, 1980) symbolic interactionism (Reichers, 1987) stress and stress management. (Nelson, 1987).

Unless a new leader is raised up, and promoted from within, a new manager, department head, or leader is fundamentally and effectively 'different' in both his knowledge and his behavior culture than the rest of the organization. This difference is evident in his skills, as well as his communication style, his expectations, and his overall motations. It has been said that the behavior reflects leadership, therefore the organization will need to be directed toward taking on the leaders's personal culture as well as the new leader adapting to the existing organizational culture.

Effective socialization has been discussed in the literature at great length (Feldman, 1980, 1981; Schein, 1978). Wanous (1992) considers effective socialization to be synonymous with organizational commitment, although other researchers would more accurately describe effective socialization as an antecedant, and necessary step toward organizational commitment. Effective socialization should be understood as affectively causal toward increasing levels of organizational commitment.

Socialization content refers to what is learned during socialization process, or what is being imparted to the newcomer in the organization (Louis, 1980). Four content categories have… [END OF PREVIEW]

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