Essay: Leadership by Gayle C. Avery

Pages: 4 (1272 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy for $19.77

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] 17-18). Characteristics of this time period include minimal differences between leaders and followers, or perhaps organizations in which the adaptability and accountability of members is so strong that there either are no leaders or everyone is considered a leader.

The principle basis for the second part of Understanding Leadership is to offer a variety of case studies that effectively demonstrate the varying principles of leadership that the author addressed in the first segment of this book. In doing so, it is fairly noteworthy to mention that Avery has selected examples from international settings that encompass North America, Europe, and Australia as well so that students are able to understand the global application of the concepts the author has denoted. 10 cases studies are used in all within this part of the book. Some of the more interesting case studies actually apply to formal leadership in a political context in which the author provides examples of presidents utilizing some of the same theories of leadership that those in private corporations, such as BMW and Rodenstock (Avery, 2004 p. 279), utilize to establish policy and to incorporate the assets that their followers inherently represent. In fact, the decision making process that the author portrays for both private and public leadership (such as those alluded to in the aforementioned examples) demonstrates the inexorable tendency of leaders to incorporate more input and support from their followers in determining what sort of policy is adapted and decisions are made.

Furthermore, it is important to note that even in this second section, the author fails to vary from her motif of delivering this information and its examples in a didactic manner. To that end, the examples provided by specific case studies are frequently followed by analysis questions that help readers to interpret the cases in the context of the theories provided in the first section. The particular virtue of Understanding leadership lies in Ayer's chronicling of the evolution of leadership theory and its implementation, which began from a fairly autonomous form of leadership in which there was little input from followers, to eventually transform into the leadership characterized by the Organic Period, in which there is a considerable amount of equity between leaders and their followers, and fairly slight distinctions between the two. In depicting this evolution through academic theories and examples via case studies, Ayers is essentially depicting the increase in value of followers, which is widely shown throughout the manuscript to increase the efficacy of the various organizations exemplified in the book.

However, it is not until one has read the entirety of the first section that Ayers' methodology becomes readily apparent to her readers. It is difficult to understand the author's reasons for presenting the myriad theories of leadership until she ties them together in the last chapter of the first part of the book, which provides an integration of both the theories and paradigms previously presented so that the reader can tell how they relate. Also, the stratifications of the different paradigms in leadership as they are codified throughout time are a little curious as well. In particular, it is surprising to see that Ayers has categorized all of antiquity up until the end of the 20th centuries as encompassing just one model of leadership -- one would expect more diversity in the types of leadership demonstrated in all that time.

However, due to the comprehensive nature of this book, and to the vast amount of material covered in it, it is an extremely useful tome about leadership. By choosing to emphasize the evolution of the importance of followers to a leadership and to an organization, Ayers is able to show times are changing and the leadership required to make those changes is changing as well.

References

Avery, G.C. (2004). Understanding… [END OF PREVIEW]

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