Book Review: Leadership Theories Change in Response to Changes

Pages: 4 (1242 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper

Leadership theories change in response to changes in the business environment and organizations within it. Leadership styles that worked in the past, are no longer a valid means for meeting the needs of today's organizations. Many Leadership theories exist today, which can appear to be confusing for the business student as they attempt to sort out the appropriate leadership style. Gayle Avery attempts to integrate this hodgepodge of theory into a coherent whole that can be applied to today's organizations.

Avery provides a framework to build upon in the development of a consistent and coherent theoretical basis for modern leaders to utilize in their professions. "Understanding Leadership" provides a clarification on the poorly defined area of leadership theory. The first part of the book lays out the foundation of Avery's theory. The second part consists of 10 case studies that integrate this knowledge and provide an example of its practical application.

Any student in pursuit of a career that involved leadership is presented with the many current leadership theories that exist. One must agree with Avery that the field of leadership lacks cohesion, as far as theory is concerned. Therefore, her presentation of the first part of the material is essential. One of the most difficult aspects of understanding leadership theory is how to apply it to the situations that one will encounter in their field. The second half of the book provides examples from Europe, Australia, and the United States. Her examples demonstrate how diverse leadership and leadership styles can be in different organizations. Her examples demonstrate that there is more than one way to look at a specific problem from a leadership perspective. Avery's presentation integrates theoretical knowledge with practical knowledge.

Avery uses simple language and explains the theories presented in such a manner that anyone, regardless of their background, could understand them. The discussion is not in-depth and could be considered an overview of the topic. Her purpose was not to present a detailed exploration of any specific topic, but rather, delve into each theory just enough to provide the reader with a basic understanding of leadership principles. Although, Avery intended the book to be targeted towards the MBA or advanced undergraduate, its simplistic approach is geared more towards the undergraduate. However, it could be useful for the Graduate student that needs a summary of leadership theory.

Avery compares and contrasts the four types of leadership categories; classical, transactional, visionary, and organic. She compares them on fourteen different points that are used to define leadership roles within an organization. This is a logical approach to the subject matter. The organization of the text is easy to understand and leads easily from one topic to the next.

As one reads the theoretical portion of the book, it is difficult to see how the author will tie the concepts together as a whole. One does need to understand the theories before they will be able to absorb the full impact of the case studies. Her last chapter in Part One, " Integrating Theories and Paradigms" ties the theories together nicely so that the reader can begin to see the entire picture. It provides a good summary of the contents of the previous sections.

Avery provides an excellent summary of the major leadership theories and presents real world examples for comparison. However, the real question that leaders will face is as of yet, still unanswered by Avery's book. The most important question is which of these theories will be the most important in the future.

As organizations evolve, they undergo a transformation that reflects the changing views of society and the forces that drive modern business. Avery gives equal weight to each of the theories and attempts to demonstrate how each… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Book Review:

APA Format

Leadership Theories Change in Response to Changes.  (2008, May 28).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Leadership Theories Change in Response to Changes."  28 May 2008.  Web.  24 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Leadership Theories Change in Response to Changes."  May 28, 2008.  Accessed July 24, 2019.