(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 3 Administrative Behavior – Theories of Leadership (Paper -1)

Paper – 1
Chapter: 3 (Administrative Behavior)

Theories of Leadership

A successful organization has some major attributes that set
it apart from an unsuccessful organization: dynamic and effective leadership.
The success of every organization is depending upon the quality of its
leadership. A business organization can take up several tasks such as
determining the subjective of the enterprises designing the methods to achieve
them; directing and coordinating the activities of various departments, etc. can
be successfully performed only if there is an able leader.

G.R. Terry says, “The will to do is triggered by leadership and lukewarm desires
for achievement are transformed into burning passion for successful
accomplishment by the skilful use of leadership”.

Stodgily observes there are almost as many definition of leadership as there are
people who had tried to define it; but leadership is too complex and too
variable a phenomenon to be captured in any definition.

Peter Ducker defines, “Leadership is the lifting of man’s visions to higher
standard, the building of man’s personality beyond its normal limitations”.

Alford and Beatty define leadership “as the ability to secure desirable actions
from a group of followers voluntarily without the use of coercion.”

Keith Davis – Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined
objectives, enthusiastically. It is the human factor, which binds a group
together and motivates it toward goals.

Koontz and Weihricj – leadership is defined as the influence the art or process
of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically
toward the achievement of group goals. Leaders act to help a group attain
objectives through the maximum application of its capabilities. They do not
stand behind a group to push and prod; they place themselves before the group as
they facilitate progress and inspire the group to accomplish organisational

Ingredients of leadership

Leaders envision the future; they inspire organization members and chart the
course of organization. Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca and General Electric’s Jack Welch
have provided a vision – leaders must instill values whether it is concern for
quality, honesty, and calculated risk taking or for employees and customers.
Every group of people that performs near its total capacity has some person as
its head who is skilled in the art of leadership. This skill seems to be a
compound at least four major ingredients:

  1. the ability to use power
    effectively and in a responsible manner,

  2. the ability to comprehend that
    human beings have different motivation forces at different times and in
    different situations,

  3. the ability to inspire, and

  4. the ability to act in
    a manner that will depend a climate conducive to responding to and arousing

The first ingredient of leadership is power the nature of power and the
differences between power and the authority, how he/she performs. The second
ingredient of leadership is a Fundamental understanding of people. To understand
the motivation forces, nature and systems of motivation but most important is to
apply this knowledge to people and situations. The third ingredient is the rare
ability to inspire followers to apply their full capabilities to a project.
While the use of motivators seems to center to subordinates and their needs,
inspiration also comes from group heads. They may have qualities of charm and
appeal that give rise to loyalty, devotion and a strong desire on the part. of
followers to promote what leaders want. It is a matter of people giving
unselfish support to a chosen champion.

The last ingredient of leadership has to do with the style of the leader and the
climate he/she develops. Awareness of expectancies perceived rewards, the amount
of effort believed to be required, the task to be done etc., have lead to a
considerable research on leadership behaviour. The primary tasks of managers are
the design and maintenance of an environment for performance.

Need for Leadership

Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn give the following reasons for need for leadership.

The incompleteness of formed organisational design: The formal organization is
generally incomplete and imperfect. Its voids are generally filled by informal
organisation. As a consequence the ‘real’ organisation widely differs from the
‘formal’ organisation. Leadership is needed to compensate for the weakness
inherent in these formal designs.

Changing environment conditions: Technological, legal, cultural and many other
kinds of changes necessities corresponding changes to be brought about in the
organisation by leader.
The internal dynamics of the organisation: As organisation grows new
complexities of structure are created, new needs for coordination arise and new
policies must be invented.
The nature of human membership in organization: Human membership in an
organization is segmental in nature. This means that the behavior of a person
on the job is in part determined by several such forces, which are external to
the organisation.
Over these forces the organization has no control. A leader is needed to
introduce such characteristics.

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Functions of A -Leadership

According to Krech and Crutchfied that functions of a leader fall into three
categories as described below:

1. Functions of the leader in the setting of achieving of organisation goals:

  1. Policy making

  2. Planning

  3. Execution

2. Functions of the leader in the operation of the organization are:

  1. Expert

  2. Representative of his group

  3. Controller of intra-group relationships

  4. Motivator.

3. Functions of a leader as a group figure are:

  1. Exemplar

  2. Symbol of the group

  3. Father figure

  4. Scapegoat.

Approaches to study Leadership: Leadership theories are broadly divided into
following categories:

  1. Great man theories.

  2. Trait theories.

  3. Behavioral theories.

  4. Situational theories

  5. Contingency theories.

  6. Management theories

Great Man Theories

This is a traditional theory of leadership and the rest are modern theories.

Great Man Theory assumed that capacity for leadership is inherent. That means
great leaders are born not made. The term G.M. was used because at the time,
leadership was thought primarily as a male quality especially in terms of
military leadership.

Trait Theory

It is similar to Great Man theories and assumes that people inherit certain
qualities and traits which make them better suited to leadership, they identify
particular personality and behavioural character should by leaders. It assumes
that people who make good leaders have the right combination of traits.

People are born with inherited traits. Some traits are particularly suited to
leadership. People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient)
combination of traits. Description
Early.research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day,
which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was
thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but
with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with
these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.
Stogdill (1974) identified the following traits and skills as critical to



Adaptable to situations Clever (intelligent)
Conceptually skilled
Alert to social environment Creative
Ambitious and achievenrent orientated Diplomatic and tactful
Knowledgeable about group task
Assertive  Fluent in speaking
Cooperative Organised (administrative ability)
Decisive Persuasive
Dependable Socially skilled
Dominant (desire to influence others)  
Energetic (high activity level)
Tolerant of stress
Willing to assume responsibility

McCall and Lonmbardo (1983) researched both success and failure identified four
primary traits by which leaders could succeed-or ‘derail’:

  • Emotional stability and composure: Calm, confident and predictable,
    particularly when under stress.

  • Admitting error: Owning up to mistakes, rather than putting energy into
    covering up.

  • Good interpersonal skills: Able to communicate and persuade others .Without
    resort to negative or coercive tactics.

  • Intellectual breadth: Able to understand a wide range of areas, rather than
    having a narrow (and narrow-minded) area of expertise.

It was criticized been of following reasons:

  1. It failed to provide common reduction of leadership trait.

  2. It does not indicate the comparative important of different traits.

  3. It failed to recognize the influence off situated factors.

    1. Visionary
    2. Courage
    3. Conclusion
    4. Moral value.

Behavioral Theories

They are based on assumption that great leaders are made not born. It focused on
the actions of leaders, not on mental qualities or internal states. People can
leaders through teaching and observation. Successful leadership is based on
definable and learnable behaviour.

Behavioral 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 their to adopt the
more ephemeral ‘traits’ or ‘capabilities’.

Behavioral 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’ behaviors with success. You can
also identify behaviors which contribute to failure, thus adding, a second layer
of understanding.

The Managerial Grid
This was developed by Black and Mouton in early 1960’s. It is based on two
important variables concern for production and concern for people.

Based on these two variables leadership traits were divided into 5 categories:

  1. Impoverished Management. This style of leadership has low concern both for
    production and people.

  2. Authority compliance. They focus on efficiency with little concern for
    people. It is high task or production but low on people.

  3. Country Club Management. They have core and concern for people with a
    comfortable an I friendly environment and colloquial style. It has high concern
    for people and low concern for production.

  4. Middle on Road Management. It has big balance of focus on both people and the
    work doing enough to get things done, but not pushing the boundaries of what may
    be possible. It has moderate concern for both people and practice.

  5. Team Management. The people are committed to task and leader is committed
    to gole. Here leadership has high concern for production as well as people.

This is a well-known grid the uses the Task vs. Person preference that appears
in many other lies, such as the Michigan Leadership Studies and the Ohio State
Leadership studies Many otter [ask-people models and variants have appeared
since then. They are both clearly important dimensions, but as other models
point out, they are not all there is to leadership and management.

The Manager Grid was the original name. It later changed to the Leadership Grid.

Kurt Lewin’s Leadership Theory

Kurt Lewin along with his colleagues conducted experiment on leadership in 1939
and had identified and different styles of leadership around decision making.

  1. Autocratic Leadership. Here the leadership takes decisions without consulting
    others. This style works when there is no need for input on the decision and
    also when the decision would not change as a result of output. The motivation of
    people to carry out actions would not -be affected whether they are part of
    decision making process of not. He found that this style of leadership caused
    the most level of discontent within organization.

  2. Democratic Leadership. In this style of leadership, leader involves the
    people in decision making process but the final decision is taken by leader
    himself. This process facilitates consensus within organization and ensures
    active participation by the people. This can be a problematic process if there
    is wide range of opinions among followers.

The laissez-faire style is to minimize the leader’s involvement in
decision-making, and hence allowing people to make their own decisions, although
they may still be responsible for the outcome.
Laissez-faire works best when people are capable and motivated in making their
own decisions, and where there is no requirement for a central coordination, for
example in sharing resources across a range of different people and groups.

In Lewin et al’s experiments, he discovered that the most effective style was
Democratic. Excessive autocratic styles led to revolution, whilst under a
Laissez-faire approach, people were not coherent in their work and did not put
in the energy that they did when being actively led. These experiments were
actually done with groups of children, but were early in the modern era and were
consequently highly influential.

Likert’s leadership styles

Rensis Likert identified four main styles of leadership, in particular around
decision­making and the degree to which people are involved in the decision.

Exploitive authoritative
In this style, the leader has a low concern for people and uses such methods as
threats and other fear-based methods to achieve conformance. Communication is
almost entirely downwards and the psychologically distant concerns of people are

Benevolent authoritative
When the leader adds concern for people to an authoritative position, a
‘benevolent dictatorship’ is formed. The leader now uses rewards to encourage
appropriate performance and listens more to concerns lower down the
organization, although what they hear is often rose-tinted, being limited to
what their subordinates think that the boss wants to hear. Although there may be
some delegation of decisions, almost all major decisions are still made

The upward flow of information here is still cautious and rose-tinted to some
degree, although the leader is making genuine efforts to listen carefully to
ideas. Nevertheless, major decisions are still largely centrally made.

At this level, the leader makes maximum use of participative methods, engaging
people lower down the organization in decision-making. People across the
organization are psychologically closer together and work well together at all

This is a classic 1960s view in that it is still very largely top-down in
nature, with the cautious addition collaborative elements towards the Utopian
final state.

Situational Leadership

Under situational leadership leaders choose the best course of action based upon
situation variables. These variables include motion levels of employees and
capabilities of followers. D.M. styles of leadership may be more application for
certain types of D.M. They also depend on the relation between the leader and
the follower.

The best action of the leader depends on a range of situational factors.

Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership

It is based on assumption that leader should adopt their style to followers
based on how ready and willing the follower is to perform required tasks.
Leaders should adapt their style to follower development style (or ‘maturity’),
based on how ready and willing the follower is to perform required tasks (that
is, their competence and motivation). There are four leadership styles (SI to
S4) that match the development levels (DI to D4) of the followers. The four
styles suggest that leaders should put greater or less focus on the task in
question and/or the relationship between the leader and the follower, depending
on the development level of the follower.

S1 : Telling – Follower: R1: Low competence, low commitment / Unable and
unwilling or insecure Leader: High task focus, low relationship focus
When the follower cannot do the job and is unwilling or afraid to try, then the
leader takes a highly directive role, telling them what to do but without a
great deal of concern for the relationship. The leader may also provide a
working structure, both for the job and in terms of how the person is
The leader may first find out why the person is not motivated and if there are
any limitations in ability. These two factors may be linked, for example where a
person believes they are less capable than they should be may be in some form of
denial or other coping. They follower may also lack self-confidence as a result.
If the leader focused more on the relationship, the follower may become confused
about what must be done and what is optional. The leader thus maintains a clear
‘do this’ position to ensure all required actions are clear.

S2: Selling / Coaching
Follower: R2: Some competence, variable commitment / Unable but willing or
Leader: High task focus, high relationship focus
When the follower can do the job, at least to some extent, and perhaps is
over­confident about their ability in this. then ‘telling’ them what to do may
demotivate them or lead to resistance. The leader thus needs to ‘sell’ another
way of working, explaining and clarifying decisions.
The leader thus spends time listening and advising and, where appropriate,
helping the follower to gain necessary skills through coaching methods.

Note: S1 and S2 are leader-driven.

S3: Participating / Supporting
Follower: R3: High competence, variable commitment / Able but unwilling or
Leader: Low task focus, high relationship focus
When the follower can do the job, but is refusing to do it or otherwise showing
insufficient commitment, the leader need not worry about showing them what to
do, and instead is concerned with finding out why the person is refusing and
thence persuading them to cooperate.
There is less excuse here for followers to be reticent about their ability, and
the key is very much around motivation. If the causes are found then they can be
addressed by the leader. The leader thus spends time listening, praising and
otherwise making the follower feel good when they show the necessary commitment.

S4: Delegating / Observing
Follower: R4: High competence, high commitment / Able and willing or motivated
Leader: Low task focus, low relationship focus
When the follower can do the job and is motivated to do it, then the leader can
basically leave them to it, largely trusting them to get on with the job
although they also may need to keep a relatively distant eye on things to ensure
everything is going to plan.
Followers at this level have less need for support or frequent praise, although
as with anyone, occasional recognition is always welcome.

Note: S3 and S4 are follower-led. Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Model

Decision acceptance increases commitment and effectiveness of action.
Participation increases decision acceptance.

Decision quality is the selection of the best alternative, and is particularly
important when there are many alternatives. It is also important when there are
serious implications for selecting (or failing to select) the best alternative.
Decision acceptance is the degree to which a follower accepts a decision made by
a leader. Leaders focus more on decision acceptance when decision quality is
more important.
Vroom and Yetton defined five different decision procedures. Two are autocratic
(AI and A2), two are consultative (C1 and C2) and one is Group based (G2). Al:
Leader takes known information and then decides alone.
A2: Leader gets information from followers, and then decides alone.
Cl: Leader shares problem with followers individually, listens to ideas and then
decides alone.
C2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group, listens to ideas and then
decides alone.
G2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group and then seeks and accepts
consensus agreement.

Situational factors that influence the method are relatively logical:

  • When decision quality is important and followers possess useful information,
    then Al and A2 are not the best method.

  • When the leader sees decision quality as important but followers do not, then
    G2 is inappropriate.

  • When decision quality is important, when the problem is unstructured and the
    leader lacks information / skill to make the decision alone, then G2 is best.

  • When decision acceptance is important and followers are unlikely to accept anautocratic decision, then A 1 and A2 are inappropriate.

  • When decision acceptance is important but followers are likely to disagree
    with one another, then At, A2 and C 1 are not appropriate, because they do not
    give opportunity for differences to be resolved.

  • When decision quality is not important but decision acceptance is critical,
    then G2 is the best method.

  • When decision quality is important, all agree with this, and the decision is
    not likely to result from an autocratic decision then G2 is best.

Vroom and Yetton (1973) took the earlier generalized situational theories that
noted how situational factors cause almost unpredictable leader behavior and
reduced this to a more limited set of behaviors.
The ‘normative’ aspect of the model is that it was defined more by rational
logic than by long observation.
The model is most likely to work when there is clear and accessible opinions
about the decision quality importance and decision acceptance factors. However
these are not always known with any significant confidence,

Path-Goal Theory of Leadership

The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way the leaders
encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set
by making the path that they should take clear and easy.
In particular, leaders:

  • Clarify the path so subordinates know which way to go.

  • Remove roadblocks that are stopping them going there.

  • Increasing the rewards along-the route.

Leaders can take a strong or limited approach in these. In clarifying the path,
they may be directive or give vague hints. In removing roadblocks, they may
scour the path or help the follower move the bigger blocks. In increasing
rewards, they may give occasional encouragement or pave the way with gold.

This variation in approach will depend on the situation, including the
follower’s capability and motivation, as well as the difficulty of the job and
other contextual factors.

House and Mitchell (1974) describe four styles of leadership:

  • Supportive leadership: Considering the needs of the follower, showing concern
    for their welfare and creating a friendly working environment. This includes
    increasing the follower’s self-esteem and making the job more interesting. This
    approach is best when the work is stressful, boring or hazardous.

  • Directive leadership: Telling followers what needs to be done and giving
    appropriate guidance along the way. This includes giving them schedules of
    specific work to be done at specific times. Rewards may also be increased as
    needed and role ambiguity decreased (by telling them what they should be doing).
    This may be used when the task is unstructured and complex and the follower is
    inexperienced. This increases the follower’s sense of security and control and
    hence is appropriate to the situation.

  • Participative leadership: Consulting with followers and taking their ideas into
    account when making decisions and taking particular actions. This approach is
    best when the followers are expert and their advice is both needed and they
    expect to be able to give it.

  • Achievement-oriented leadership: Setting challenging goals, both in work and in
    self-improvement (and often together). High standards are demonstrated and
    expected. The leader shows faith in the capabilities of the follower to succeed.
    This approach is best when the task is complex.

Discussion: Leaders who show the way and help followers along a path are
effectively ‘leading’. This approach assumes that there is one right way of
achieving a goal and that the leader can sec it and the follower cannot. ‘this
casts the leader as the knowing person and the follower as dependent. It also
assumes that the follower is completely rational and that the appropriate
methods can be deterministically selected depending on the situation.

Contingency Theory

The leader’s ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors,
including the leader’s preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of
followers and also various other situational factors.

Contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that contends that there
is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in
some situations may not be successful in others.

An effect of this is that leaders who arc very effective at one place and time
may become unsuccessful either when transplanted to another situation or when
the factors around them change.

This helps to explain how some leaders who seem for a while to have the ‘Midas
touch’ suddenly appear to go off the boil and make very unsuccessful decisions.

Contingency theory is similar to situational theory in that there is an
assumption of no simple one right way. The main difference is that situational
theory tends to focus more on the behaviors that the leader should adopt, given
situational factors (often about follower behavior), whereas contingency theory
takes a broader view that includes contingent factors about leader capability
and other variables within the situation.

Fiedler’s Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) Theory Assumptions
Leaders prioritize between task-focus and people-focus.
Relationships, power and task structure are the three key factors that drive
effective styles.

Fiedler identified the a Least Preferred Co-Worker scoring for leaders by asking
them first to think of a person with which they worked that they would like
least to work with again, and then to score the person on a range of scales
between positive factors (friendly, helpful, cheerful, etc.) and negative
factors (unfriendly, unhelpful, gloomy, etc.). A high LPC leader generally
scores the other person as positive and a low LPC leader scores them as
High LPC leaders tend to have close and positive relationships and act in a
supportive way, even prioritizing the relationship before the task. Low LPC
leaders put the task first and will turn to relationships only when they are
satisfied with how the work is going.

Three factors are then identified about the leader, member and the task, as

  • Leader-Member Relations: The extent to which the leader has the support and
    loyalties of followers and relations with them are friendly and cooperative.

  • Task structure: The extent, to which tasks are standardised, documented and

  • Leader’s Position-power: The extent to which the leader has authority to assess
    follower performance and give reward or punishment.

The best LPC approach depends on a combination of there three. Generally, a high
LPC approach is best when leader-member relations are poor, except when the task
is unstructured and the leader is weak, in which a low LPC style is better.




Leader’s Position-leader

Most Effective




















High LPC





High LPC





High LPC





High LPC






This approach seeks to identify the underlying beliefs about people, in
particular whether the leader sees others as positive (high LPC) or negative
(low LPC). The neat trick of the model is to take someone where it would be very
easy to be negative about them. This is another approach that uses task- vs.
people-focus as a major categorization of the leader’s style.

Transactional Leadership Assumptions

  • People are motivated by reward and punishment.

  • Social systems work best with a clear chain of command.

  • When people have agreed to do a job- a part of the deal is that they cede all
    authority to their manager.

  • The prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what their manager tells them to

The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby it is
clear what is required of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for
following orders. Punishments are not always mentioned but they are also
well-understood and formal systems of discipline are usually in place.

The early stage of Transactional Leadership is in negotiating the contract
whereby the subordinate is given a salary and other benelie. and the company
(and by implication the subordinate’s manager) gets authority over the

When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are
considered to be fully responsible: for it, whether or not they have the
resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong, then the
subordinate is considered to be personally at fault,-and is punished for their
failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding).

The transactional leader often uses management by exception, working on the
principle that if something is operating to defined (and hence expected)
performance then it does not need attention. Exceptions to expectation require
praise and reward for exceeding expectation, whilst some kind of corrective
action is applied for performance below expectation.
Whereas Transformational Leadership has more of a ‘selling’ style, Transactional
Leadership, once the contract is in place, takes a ‘telling’ style.

Transactional leadership is based in contingency, in that reward or punishment
is contingent upon performance.

Despite much research that highlights its limitations, Transactional Leadership
is still a popular approach with many managers. Indeed, in the Leadership vs.
Management spectrum, it is very much towards the management end of the scale.

The main limitation is the assumption of ‘rational man’, a person who is largely
motivated by money and simple reward, and hence whose behavior is predictable.
The underlying psychology is Behaviorism, including the Classical Conditioning
of Pavlov and Skinner’s Operant Conditioning. These theories are largely based
on controlled laboratory experiments (often with animals) and ignore complex
emotional factors and social values.

In practice, there is sufficient truth in Behaviorism to sustain Transactional
approaches. This is reinforced by the supply-and-demand situation of much
employment, coupled with the effects of deeper needs, as in Maslow’s Ilierarchy.
When the demand for a skill outstrips the supply, then Transactional Leadership
often is insufficient, and other approaches are more effective.
Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory Assumptions

  • Awareness of task importance motivates people.

  • A focus on the team or organization produces better work.

Bass defined transformational leadership in terms of how the leader affects
followers, who are intended to trust, admire and respect the transformational
He identified three ways in which leaders transform followers:

  • Increasing their awareness of task importance and value.

  • Getting them to focus first on team or organizational goals, rather than their
    own interests.

  • Activating their higher-order needs.

Charisma is seen as necessary, but not sufficient, for example in the way that
charismatic movie stars may not make good leaders. Two key charismatic effects
that transformational leaders achieve is to evoke strong emotions and to cause
identification of the followers with the leader. This may be through stirring
appeals. It may also may occur through quieter methods such as coaching and

Bass has recently noted that authentic transformational leadership is grounded
in moral foundations that are based on four components:

  • Idealized influence

  • Inspirational motivation

  • Intellectual stimulation

  • Individualized consideration
    …and three moral aspects:

  • The moral character of the leader.

  • The ethical values embedded in the leader’s vision, articulation, and program
    (which followers either embrace or reject).

  • The morality of the processes of social ethical choice and action that leaders
    and followers engage in and collectively pursue.

This is in contrast with pseudo-transformational leadership, where, for example,
in-group/out-group ‘us and them’ games are used to bond followers to the leader.

In contrast to Burns, who sees transformational leadership as being inextricably
linked with higher order values, Bass sees it as amoral, and attributed
transformational skills to people such as Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones.


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