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Business Managment - Trait Theory

Essay by   •  September 1, 2011  •  Case Study  •  3,585 Words (15 Pages)  •  1,411 Views

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Table of Content

1. Question One Page 3 - 6

"In any organisation, people model their behaviour on 'significant others': those they see in position of influence." Analyse this statement using the various leadership theories.

2. Question Two Page 7 - 9

Provide an analysis of an individual's attitude, ability and perception.

3. Question Three Page 10 - 13

3.1 The different theories of motivation to determine the role of financial and non - financial rewards or incentives

3.2 "When a company's goals for new behaviour are not reinforced, employees are less likely to adopt it consistently" Discuss in terms of re - enforcement theories.

4. Question Four Pages 14 - 15

Explanation of how organizational change will alter the intergroup dynamics of an organization.

5. References Page 16

Question 1

Trait Theory

Trait theory attempts to identify what personal characteristics leaders' exhibit. Fortunately physical characteristics are not predictors of good or bad leaders. Height, weight, age, personal appearance, or physique has not been found to be systematically related to leadership performance.

The trait approach to personality is one of the major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are composed broad dispositions. A trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic that causes individuals to behave in certain ways. Unlike many other theories of personality, such as psychoanalytic or humanistic theories, the trait approach to personality is focused on differences between individuals. The combination and interaction of various traits forms a personality that is unique to each individual. Trait theory is focused on identifying and measuring these individual personality characteristics.

The traits approach gives rise to questions: whether leaders are born or made and whether leadership is an art or science. However, these are not mutually exclusive alternatives. Leadership may be something of an art; it still requires the application of special skills and techniques. Even if there are certain inborn qualities that make one a good leader, these natural talents need encouragement and development. A person is not born with self-confidence. Self-confidence is developed, honesty and integrity are a matter of personal choice, motivation to lead comes from within the individual, and the knowledge of business can be acquired. While cognitive ability has its origin partly in genes, it still needs to be developed. None of these ingredients are acquired overnight.

Behavioural Theories

Behavioural theories of leadership do not seek inborn traits or capabilities. Rather, they look at what leaders actually do. If success can be defined in terms of describable actions, then it should be relatively easy for other people to act in the same way. This is easier to teach and learn then to adopt the more ephemeral 'traits' or 'capabilities'.

Behavioural theories of leadership are based upon the belief that great leaders are made, not born. Rooted in behaviorism, this leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on mental qualities or internal states. According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation.

Behavioural is a big leap from Trait Theory, in that it assumes that leadership capability can be learned, rather than being inherent. This opens the floodgates to leadership development, as opposed to simple psychometric assessment that sorts those with leadership potential from those who will never have the chance.

A behavioural theory is relatively easy to develop, as you simply assess both leadership success and the actions of leaders. With a large enough study, you can then correlate statistically significant behaviours with success. You can also identify behaviours which contribute to failure, thus adding a second layer of understanding.

Contingency Theory

Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that might determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for the situation. According to this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation.

Contingency theory attempts to provide a perspective on organizations and management based on the integration of prior theories. Contingency theory starts with the theme of "it depends," arguing that the solution to any one managerial problem is contingent on the factors that are impinging on the situation. For instance, where little variation in materials exists in the production process, it is appropriate to break down the work into highly routine tasks. However, where variation is high, requiring many judgments concerning which material is appropriate and which is not, managers will want to avoid making tasks routine.

While the contingency approach is useful in recognizing that the complexity involved in understanding human and organizational systems makes it difficult to develop universal principles of management, there have been several criticisms of the approach. For one, it has been pointed out that the logical extension of the contingency approach is that all situations are unique. By applying contingency theory to the study of management, you will be able to identify and to solve problems under different situations. You will recognize that the successful application of a technique in one situation does not guarantee success in another. Rather, you will be able to examine each situation in terms of how it is affected by the contextual, organizational, and human dimensions. As a result, your overall ability to correct problems and to become more effective as a manager will increase.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its

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