An Exploration of the Background to – and Future of – Leadership Models

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

http://www.theknowledge.biz/

An Exploration of the Background to, and Future of, Leadership Models

Beliefs, Assumptions and Change.

  • We all have beliefs and, on the basis of these, make assumptions
  • Our assumptions shape our behaviour
  • The degree of alignment between our beliefs and reality may contribute significantly towards our effectiveness
  • Self-fulfilling prophecies can have positive and negative outcomes
  • Changing our beliefs and subsequent assumptions is not easy and may take a major crisis

Introducing Models.

  • The beliefs and assumptions we have about leadership are often referred to as models
  • Models are representations of a more complex reality and as such they help us see some aspects of a phenomenon
  • The danger of models is that they oversimplify or blind us to other aspects
  • Because of the complexities of modern life we need to call upon more than one model
  • Models are a product of their age (and maybe our age!)

An Evolutionary Perspective

1900 – 1925: The Emergence of The Rational Goal Model & The Internal Process Models

The Social and Economic Context

  • Exciting economic and technological growth and progress
  • Rich resource bases with cheap labour
  • The age of coal became the age of oil
  • Average level of education was 8 years
  • Social Darwinism (‘survival of the fittest’) was a dominant orientation
  • Little in terms of unionism or government policy to protect workers
  • Henry Ford applied the principles of Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’

–               Car assembly time from 728 hours to 93 minutes

–               Market share from 10% to 50% in six years

The Rational Goal Model

  • The ultimate criteria for organizational effectiveness are productivity and profit
  • Clear direction leads to productive outcomes
  • A continuing emphasis on processes such as goal clarification, rational analysis and action taking
  • Organizational climate is rational economic with all decisions being driven by considerations of ‘the bottom line’
  • Ultimate value comes from achievement and profit maximisation
  • The leader’s job is to be a hard-nosed director and producer

The Internal Process Model

  • The ultimate criteria for organizational effectiveness are stability and continuity
  • Routine leads to stability
  • A continuing emphasis on processes such as definition of responsibilities, measurement, documentation and record-keeping
  • Organizational climate is hierarchical with all decisions being coloured by the existing rules, structures and traditions
  • Ultimate value comes from efficient workflow
  • The leader’s job is to be a structured monitor and coordinator

1926 – 1950: The Emergence of The Human Relations Model

The Social and Economic Context

  • The stock market crash of 1929 in the USA
  • World War II
  • Economies boom, crash and recover
  • Technological advances in all areas
  • Unions become a significant force
  • Heavy emphasis on the production of consumer goods
  • Labour saving machines beginning to appear in homes
  • Lessening influence of the protestant work ethic
  • ‘How to win friends and influence people’ a best seller
  • Rational Goal and Internal Process Models being seen to be less appropriate
  • Chester Barnard highlights the significance of informal organization
  • Mayo and Roethlisberger carry out their Hawthorne studies

The Human Relations Model

  • The ultimate criteria for organizational effectiveness are commitment, cohesion and morale
  • Involvement results in commitment
  • A continuing emphasis on processes such as participation, conflict resolution and consensus building
  • Organizational climate is team-oriented and clan-like
  • Leaders take a developmental perspective referring to complex sets of motivational factors
  • The leader’s job is to be a sensitive mentor and facilitator
  • Early attempts at applying this model often resulted in authoritarian benevolence

1951 – 1975: The Emergence of The Open Systems Model

The Social and Economic Context

  • The shock of the oil embargo
  • Economies staggering under the weight of stagflation and huge government debts
  • The global invasion of Japanese goods across all sectors
  • Western economies move from product to service-based
  • Television
  • Society moves from ‘conventional’ to ‘cynical’ to ‘individualism’
  • Average level of education was 13 years
  • Women move into the professions
  • Organizations became knowledge intense
  • Leadership-speak embodies earlier models (e.g. MBO, MIS and a proliferation of books on motivation and leadership)
  • Managers forced to make rapid decisions as they live in highly unpredictable environments and have little time to organize and plan

The Open Systems Model

  • The ultimate criteria for organizational effectiveness are adaptability and external support
  • Clear adaptation and innovation lead to the acquisition and maintenance of external resources
  • A continuing emphasis on processes such as political adaptation, creative problem-solving, innovation and the leadership of change
  • Organizational climate is innovative and based on ‘adhocracy’ rather than bureaucracy
  • Ultimate value comes from common vision and shared values
  • The leader’s job is to be a highly adaptable innovator and broker

1976 – 2000: The Emergence of ‘Both/And’ Assumptions

The Social and Economic Context

  • Many large Western corporations in deep trouble
  • Western innovation, quality and productivity slump
  • Japanese products make astonishing advances
  • Knowledge work replaces labour work
  • Unions experience major setbacks
  • Organizations downsize whilst trying to increase quality
  • Job security become a major issue
  • ‘Burnout’ and ‘stress’ appear in the vocabulary of organizations
  • Published material includes ‘The Strategy of the Dolphin’, ‘Chaos’, ‘In Search of Excellence’, ‘The Fifth Discipline’, ‘Visionary Leadership Skills’, ‘The Art of Systems Thinking’.

The Model?

  • Simple solutions become suspect
  • No model offers a sufficient answer
  • Sometimes structure is needed, sometimes change – sometimes both at the same time
  • Leadership becomes difficult!

So, where to next with Leadership Models?

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

http://www.theknowledge.biz/

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