Leadership Portrayed in the Movie Twelve O’ Clock High

3317 Words Dec 2nd, 2008 14 Pages
TWELVE O’ CLOCK HIGH: LEADERSHIP

TWELVE O’ CLOCK HIGH:
LEADERSHIP ALONG THE CONTINUUM—
TRANSACTIONAL AND TRANSFORMATIONAL PARADIGMS IN PRACTICE

Introduction

The movie “Twelve O’ Clock High” is a case study in the application of leadership theory during World War Two. Gregory Peck portrays Brigadier General Savage, a United States Army Air Force officer thrust into a situation that requires a maximum effort both on the ground and in the air as he attempts to re-invigorate an undisciplined, anxiety ridden, and ineffective combat unit. Throughout the movie we observe Peck’s character employing a variety of leadership methods, but ultimately discovering that true combat effectiveness and cohesion is accomplished through a
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Path-Goal Theory assumes that leaders are flexible and that they can change their style, as situations require. The theory proposes two contingency variables, such as environment and follower characteristics, that moderate the leader behavior-outcome relationship. The leader must consider follower’s valences, instrumentalities, expectancies, equity of rewards, and accuracy of role perceptions when assessing the requirements of his followers. Additionally, personal characteristics of subordinates determine how the environment and leader are interpreted. Effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers achieve organizational goals and facilitate the journey by reducing roadblocks and pitfalls. This approach assumes that there is one right way of achieving a goal and that the leader can see it while the followers can not. This casts the leader as the knowing person and the followers as dependent, thereby limiting the development of the follower. While the path-goal theory has some validity, Bass argues that better leaders integrate a task-oriented and relationship-oriented approach (Blake & Mouton, 1964) as well as demonstrate their ability to clarify the path to the goals (Bass, 1960, 1990). Furthermore, this transactional

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