A Critical Review of Leadership Research Development

4931 words 20 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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It is thus difficult to identify a universal set of leader traits for various contexts. Even some traits can help differentiate leaders from non-leaders, it is theoretically difficult to link traits to leadership outcomes such as follower motivation and group productivity (Yukl and Van Fleet, 1992). For the weaknesses of the behavioral approach, one criticism is that the two types of behaviors are too abstract to describe complex leadership styles; another refers to the inconsistent link between task- and relation-oriented behavior and outcomes such as morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. It is not clear how leaders’ styles are associated with performance outcomes (Bryman, 1992). The third criticism, being shared with the trait approach, is that the approaches pay too much attention to the leader perspective without considering followers and situations in which leaders exhibit their qualities and behaviors. It seems that leadership effectiveness can not be well understood unless interactions among leaders, followers and situations are studied. The situational approach Incorporating findings obtained from the previous studies, the situational approach assumes that there is no one best way that is transcendent across all situations, and further, the approach tries to discover the situational moderating variables that influence the effects of leader behaviors. The situational leadership model (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982),


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