Understanding Leadership Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1494 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Leadership Gayle Avery attempts to create a concise understanding of the often confusing concept of leadership through a progression of leadership issues and then a collection of case studies that apply leadership in different contexts. The base of the work attempts to effectively answer some long standing questions about the nature of leadership and its study and in doing so demonstrates a breadth and depth of knowledge about the field. Avery begins by discussing the variations and conflicts that have occurred over the years with regard to leadership study and then supplies the reader with a template of paradigms to help discover the varied leadership research levels.

The paradigms that Avery uses include a timeline sort of feel where the varied historical ideas are discussed. This was actually not what I was expecting, as a reader, as most of the lasting focus of the book is on the modern, looking at the past as if it was simplified and narrow. The paradigms are Classical, which she attributes to the period from antiquity to the 1970s, transactional which covers the period form the 1970s to 80s, Visionary which covers the mid 1980s through 2000 and Organic which begins in 2000 and is viewed as ongoing by the author. Each paradigm is described first briefly in a table on page 19 and then in greater discussion throughout chapter 2.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Understanding Leadership Assignment

Classical leadership paradigm is linked to respect, power and unyielding fear and respect of the leader and is marked by a vision that is unnecessary as the leader should not be questioned. The Transactional period offers slightly more personal influence aspects and subordinates are utilized through a reward system with certain expectations but again vision is unnecessary, the Visionary period is marked by emotion and inspiration as a model for leadership and vision is central and lastly the Organic paradigm where the system is reported to be based on mutual goals and understanding, with leaders emerging rather than being appointed and shared values and vision emerge with buy in. (19) Each of these subsections seems to be discreet which in reality might be very oversimplified, (given that oversimplification is one of the author's biggest complaints about leadership studies in the past). One issue that I find with the paradigms is the inclusion of the last two, Visionary and Organic as two discreet leadership styles and options when I do believe, like the author of the original paradigms (Drath) (5) that they influence and interact much more fluidly than Avery implies with her discreet system. The work does not give a broad description of how Drath changed the system other than to say he went from 4 paradigms to 3 and Avery chose to return to 4. (5) I believe that the 3-4 split that I brought up is the most likely focus of Drath's changes, but again this is not clear from the reading.

The work does have a historical basis but does tend to give the impression that a huge period of time between antiquity and the 1970s was a blanket and rather antiquated period, and most historians would likely think this exceedingly simplified and misleading. The idea that each of these paradigms is honestly discrete is problematic, even in the case studies that close the work, as through time it can be said that leadership understanding, style and expectations have evolved from power-based hierarchical systems to more organic egalitarian standards but this emphasis of evolution seems oversimplified to say the least as it would likely be clear that if one was looking at older models there would be variation that looks very much mike more modern patterns of leadership, and in fact some imply that more successful models of leadership employed even organic paradigm standards far before their time.

One message that Avery stresses in her work is that the research base for leadership study has been broken down into areas of study that made it more measurable and repeatable, which she explains makes the field seem to simplified to reflect the diversity and complexity which actually exists in the real world of leadership. (2004, 5) This is the reason given for the development of the second section of the work, which is a series of case studies from different real world applications of leadership in business as well as in public administration. This case study approach allows the reader to detail real world applications, in their respective contexts and then provides questions that help the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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