A Critical Review of Leadership Research Development

4941 Words20 Pages
International Journal of Business and Management

August, 2006

A Critical Review of Leadership Research Development
Jun Liu Business School, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China Xiaoyu Liu School of Labor Relations & Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China Abstract Leadership research has gone through several phases of development in the past 80 years or so. The paper identifies the major theories in each phase, and investigates the strengths and weaknesses of the research. Among those theories, transformational/charismatic leadership and leader-member exchange (LMX) are heavily discussed. The paper also discusses the future trend of research in leadership areas. Keywords: Review, Transformational
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The theories have somewhat different emphases regarding their basic arguments. Specifically, situational theory emphasizes leadership flexibility – leaders should find out about their subordinates’ maturity (job and psychological) and task characteristic and then adapt their styles accordingly (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982). In the contingency model, however, leader behaviors are much more consistent and less flexible. Leadership effectiveness is
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International Journal of Business and Management

August, 2006

primarily determined by selecting the right leader for a certain situation (characterized by assessing leader-member relations, task structure, and position power; Fiedler, 1967) or by changing the situation to fit the particular leader’s style. House’s path-goal model, being more complex than the other two, assumes that leadership styles vary not only with different subordinates but also with the same subordinates in different situations. On the other hand, the theories clearly share some common points. First, all the theories contain situational moderating variables. Second, they implicitly assume that leaders can properly assess pivotal follower and situational factors. Third, leaders make their behaviors contingent on the followers and the situation. Compared to the former approaches, situational models conceptualize leadership as an interpersonal process, concern with follower, task, and situational variables rather than focus
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