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OA633 Managing Organizational Change

Published : 27-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10


The leadership is a complex concept that is in the debate among the scholars for several decades. This study focuses on the perspectives of the scholars over time. The definitions proposed by the scholars over time have undergone drastic change depending on the view point of the scholars.

The present scholars identify several styles of leadership that are identified in the report. The analysis of the styles proposes the usage of different leadership style under various circumstances to achieve success.

The efficiency of the leadership style represents maximum potential if it is used in the appropriate situation. The report also discusses the effect of gender on the leadership. It concludes that the effectiveness positively varies among the male and female leadership, however, the skills can be learnt by both the sexes to attain the level of efficiency.



Leadership is considered a skill encompassing the individual ability to lead or guide the followers or an organization. The concept of leadership considerably varies between the eastern and western approach. The Western scholars view leadership as a process of social influence where an individual influences and supports the group in achieving particular goals and objectives. Eastern world on the other hand considers the leader as someone who can be moved not only by communitarian objectives but also by the search for personal power. The concept of leadership is nothing new and the existence is evidence in the early historic era. However, the definition has considerably changed over time and the formation of leadership also varies over this period. Some believe the leaders are born and the skills possessed by a leader are not possible to be taught. This view has changed over time and some criterions are set for the individual to become a successful leader. Another complication lies within the formulation of the concept and it is often confused with the role of a manager (Dinh et al. 2014). However, the concept of leadership and management is separate from each other. A person with good leadership skills may not be good in managing things. Similarly an individual with good management might not have the skills to become a good leader. This report studies different theories proposed by the scholar over time and boundaries. Different aspects of leadership is thoroughly evaluated along with various types of leadership exists. The study also stretches its focus in identifying the type efficient in particular field.

Definition of Leadership

Various scholars have defined leadership differently and currently over hundreds of distinguishable definitions exists in the market. A wide change is followed in the definition over time. The work of Northouse (2015) regarding the chronological change of the definitions proposed by various scholars is reviewed in the following:

1900 to 1929 – Scholars of the first three decades of 20th century based their definition of leadership around the control and centralization of power with a common theme of domination. The definition of leadership in the 1927’s conference exemplified it as the position to receive cooperation, loyalty, respect and obedience form their fellow followers.

1930s – The 30s definition on leadership focused on the traits of leadership. The view of leadership shifted from domination to influential. It found the leaders as the individual to have influence over the group of followers of an organization. According to this definition, the leaders must communicate their personality with the other members of the group to achieve the maximum efficiency of the team.

1940s – The scholars of 40s identified the leadership as the behaviour of the leader at the same time his involvement in direct group activities and directing the team. The definition of leader was simultaneously distinguished from the concept of driver-ship.

1950s – The definitions of this era were dominated by primary theme of leadership. The first two them is the continuation of the group theory and the behaviour of the leader from the previous decade. The last theme defines the effectiveness where the concept was drawn from the early theories of leadership where the influential ability of the leader was the primary focus.

1960s to 1970s – The scholars of 60s followed the influential theory of the previous eras; however, they framed it in a single shared direction. In other words, the role of a leader is to influence the followers over a particular shared goal required to be achieved and direct them into a shared direction.

The scholars of the following decade modified the definition and to the organizational behaviour approach. The idea formed among the scholars about the role of the leader is somewhat to initiate and maintain the unity of the group or organization in achieving the organizational goal. This era of leadership theory started to focus more on the organizational culture and related this with the business culture.  This is the time when the role of leadership got confused with the role of the manager. The role of the leader is target oriented that serves to achieve the success in motivating and valuing the employees perspectives and help them in achieving the specific goals set by the business organization.

1980s – The concept drastically evolved in the next decade with the inclusion of several perspectives into one definition. The specific goal oriented leadership idea continued to prevail the definition of 80s along side with the influence concept. The long forgotten aspect of trait in the leadership was brought back and included in the definitions of the 80s which resulted many to think of leadership based on a particular trait orientation. The transformational concept was introduced for the first time in the definition. The leadership is thought to occur at the time of engagement of multiple individuals and the leaders and help each other in motivating and morality building.

1990s to present – The confusion between the leadership and management exists in the definitions of 21st century, however, some new approaches of viewing leadership emerged in this era. They are authentic, spiritual, servant and adaptive. The first one speaks about the authenticity of the leadership; whereas, the spiritual leadership talks about the value and motivation utilizations. The servant approach considers the leaders as the servant that holds the caring approach in dealing and guiding the followers. The leaders of this type take up the caring approach and look after the needs of their fellow group members. The final approach took in this definition is the adaptive approach where the leaders play a role of motivator. They are responsible for encouraging the followers to adapt by confronting and solving problems, challenges and changes.

Approaches of Leadership

The above mentioned definitions of leadership definitions can be put under several approaches that are trait approach, behavioural, contingency, transactional and transformational approach.

Trait approach – The trait approach was mainly focusing on the traits of effective leaders. This approach took a direction to find the similarities and differences of the traits among the individual and leaders to identify the necessary traits to become an effective leader. The scholars tried to distinguish special traits that distinguish the leaders from the non-leader materials (Northouse 2015).

Behavioural approach – This approach looks for the behaviour and style exhibited by the leaders. Similar to the trait approach, it took examples of the successful leaders of recent past like Nepolean, Hitler and identified their personality to understand what it is required to become a successful leader (Antonakis and House 2013).

Contingency Approach – The approach differs from the other and looks for the situation of the external environment the in which the leaders are born. This approach views the situation as th promoter and maker of the leader. The efficiency of a leader according to this approach is as good as the situation permits. The scholars identify the situation as the maker of leader and took example of the famous leaders and their external environment they born in (Chemers 2014).

Types of Leadership

Various style of leadership has been proposed by various scholars that could be summed up as the following well know styles of leadership. Each style of leadership reflects different characteristics of their own and is suitable for operating and guiding the team in different field. Not all types of leadership can achieve success in every field and they are situation specific. Hence, it will be wise to select particular style of leadership for achieving particular goal (Obiwuru et al. 2011; Dugan 2017).

Autocratic Leadership

This style of leadership is popular for its authoritative nature. The power of decision making rests with the manager only and the followers are bound to respond accordingly to the made decision. No one has the authority to challenge the decision made by the leader in this style. As the manager holds the complete authority to impose their decision on the employees, the satisfaction level tends to decrease in the organization. The innovative thinkers and creative ones feel detest and de-motivated working under this leadership style. The Cuba and North Korea are the only countries that follow this leadership style in the country level. However, this style of leadership delivers maximum productivity. The example of Adolf Hitler is best to explain this type of leadership. It is known to all about the dominating nature of Hitler and how his decisions were imposed on his followers. The battle field is the perfect place to implement the autocratic leadership and every army should follow this style of leadership to get maximum efficiency in the field (Bhatti et al. 2012).

Bureaucratic Leadership

This particular style of leadership serves its efficiency in work settings that has fixed official duties under a hierarchical authority. According to Ojokuku, Odetayo and Sajuyigbe (2012), this style of leadership follows a set of rule and guideline in the process of decision making and no innovation is seek in this type. Its efficiency lies within the companies that do not require much creativity or innovation in the process and the leaders can follow the set of pre-described rule. This style is identifiable from some of its particular styles that are fixed official duties, hierarchy of authority, technical expertise, system of rules written documentation and many more. The government officials in most of the countries follow this type of leadership (Amanchukwu, Stanley and Ololube 2015; Van Wart 2013).

Participative Leadership

Dolatabadi and Safa (2010) referred it as a more flexible style of leadership the previous ones. Decision making in this style of leadership undergoes various stages of evaluation where the subordinates takes part in the process and opine their point of view and their suggestions are taken into consideration before taking final decision. The involvement of the employees in this style of leadership is far greater that supplements in the increased commitment of the employees to the organization. This involvement increases the employee satisfaction as they are given importance that results into increase of loyalty towards the organization. However, this increased participation of the employees in decision making process sometimes reduces the quality of the service provided by the organization. Hence, it has some limitations and only some particular types of organization can achieve positive results implementing participative leadership style. The best example of usage of participative leadership is the nursing sectors where the nurses are given a level of authority to make decision when the doctors are absent to provide their expert comments. Moreover, this type of leadership explores a wide range of innovative ideas that can increase the quality level of the service (Miao et al. 2013).

Transactional Leadership

The collaboration between the team members and the manager is greater reflected in this type of leadership where the manager take part in the process. Some of the tasks are also performed by the manager. Moreover, transactional leadership is unique for its performance management as the employees are rewarded or punished according to their performance result calculated in the performance management. Riaz and Haider (2010) pointed out the importance of setting specific goals by both the manager and the employees and their agreement on following the direction and leadership of the manager in the process. However, the power of reviewing result and taking necessary decision of rewarding the employees based on their work. The satisfaction level of this type of leadership among the followers is comparatively high.

Transformational Leadership

This particular type of leadership is popular in the market at the current time. It shows greater efficiency than the rest of the style of leadership and valid throughout fields. This means that transformational leadership style is applicable in multiple industries and reflects success in achieving the maximum efficiency. It reflects a high level of communication from the management in order to meet the goals. The vision of the management is properly communicated to the employees for them to better understand the goals and vision of the organization and the decisions made by the management (García-Morales, Jiménez-Barrionuevo and Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez 2012). The leaders constantly seek to motivate the employees for enhancing the productivity and efficiency through communication and high visibility. Focus is laid on the big picture within the organization and delegate smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals. The satisfaction level of the employees in this style reflects high positive outcome as the motivation of the employees are heightened by the leaders. The needs of the employees are actively looked after and meet if possible. The example of Steve Jobs is the best to understand the transformational leadership in the organizational setting. He held the view of simplicity and sophistication to drive the company and ensured it to be engraved into every single employee at Apple. The employees received constant encouragement from Jobs to think beyond the current achievement and shared vision of Jobs helped them to understand the required outcome from the management (Choudhary, Akhtar and Zaheer 2013).

Gender and Leadership

Gender has a direct impact on the leadership style. The same leadership style hold by a man considerably varies from the one hold by a woman. However, it is not exclusively gender based and men can learn the leadership style of women and vice versa. It is due to the nature of each gender that widely varies from each other. Considering about the efficiency of the leadership of a woman compared to the leadership of a man, both of them reflects the equal potential in achieving the desired goal. The question arises due to the social perspective that we live in where a woman as a leader is seen differently from a male. This facilitates in creating a gap between the two (Ayman and Korabik 2010).


The above discussion clearly identifies the evolution of the concept of leadership over time. The way the concept of leadership perceived by the scholars of early 20th century is different than that of current time. On the other hand, the leadership is divided into several styles and different leaders follow one or another for achieving success. However, the styles of leadership are effective only under certain cases and different situation require different leadership style. The leadership style held by Steve Jobs in running his company brought him success. However, a different style might not have affected the same way. The discussion ends with the identification of the effect of gender in leadership. It is found that the leadership style varies according to the gender. However, it is possible for them to attain the skills of the opposite gender.


Amanchukwu, R.N., Stanley, G.J. and Ololube, N.P., 2015. A review of leadership theories, principles and styles and their relevance to educational management. Management, 5(1), pp.6-14.

Antonakis, J. and House, R.J., 2013. The full-range leadership theory: The way forward. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 3-33). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Ayman, R. and Korabik, K., 2010. Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. American Psychologist, 65(3), p.157.

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