Leadership and Organizational Structure Theories

Leadership style

Each organisation is unique in its own way, meaning that different organisations have different organisational culture, structure, mission and vision. Scholars of leadership have developed theories which explain the nature and style of leadership. The theories are based on traits of leaders, situations of leadership and behavior of those who lead as well as those who are led. A theory which is applicable in organisation A may not be applicable in organisation B due to the uniqueness of the vision and mission of the two organisations. While organisation A may be guided by the philosophy of empowering its workforce as a way of moving the organisation towards the achievement of its mission and vision, organisation B may be guided by the philosophy that employees are people who are not to be trusted, are always negative about work and need close monitoring and supervision in order for them to discharge their duties in the organisation effectively.

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The leadership and management theory which can be used to explain the leadership in the said organisation is Taylor’s scientific management theory. This theory was developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor who was a mechanical engineer in the United States in late 1800 and early 1900. Taylor was a proponent of the application of science to solve problems or increase efficiency and minimize wastage. His philosophy was therefore based on the belief that for organisations to attain efficiency and increase productivity, they had to shift from the traditional practices which he likened to craftsmanship and adopt scientific ways of planning, measuring, quantifying and standardizing work.

The principles of scientific management assumed that the managers were all knowing and were able to accurately plan and set the tasks for their employees as well as make the correct predictions regarding how much an employee was supposed to work for per day. They also assumed that the workers were like robots to be programed and supervised to execute organisational tasks.

The scientific management theory can be contrasted with contemporary theories of leadership and management which have been described as humanistic in nature. One such theory is the contingency model of leadership by Fred Fiedler, who identified two categories of leaders; those who are task oriented and those who are relationship oriented (Smyth, 1989, p. 15). Task oriented leaders are those who concentrate on the task being undertaken, with the belief that their followers would emulate their actions and likewise commit themselves in getting the tasks accomplished (Bass & Bass, 2008, p. 29).

Relationship oriented leaders are those who focus on establishing relationships with groups of people within the organisation and outside, with a view of helping them focus on the tasks to be undertaken. Fred argued that there is no ideal effective leadership approach, but each approach depends on the situation. To this end, task oriented leadership is best suited in situations where there is no good leader and followers relationship, which may be brought about by many factors like the organisational structure and culture.

The relationship oriented leadership is suitable in situations where there is a good relationship between the leader and the followers (employees); which is brought about by the nature of culture of the organisation (O’Connell & Brent, 2009, p. 78).

Motivation of staff

Motivation is the process of encouraging or influencing people to behave in a particular manner, which they would have otherwise not behaved without the encouragement or the influence. Employees need to be motivated so that they may work hard towards the achievement of organisational objectives. Employees may be motivated either by internal or external sources. Internal motivation comes from an individual and is also known as intrinsic motivation while external motivation comes from outside sources and is also known as extrinsic motivation. One way of motivating staff is through the establishment of self managing teams.

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The theory of motivation which is used by the organisation is Mac Gregor’s theory Y of motivation. The theory states that employees are not able to work independently, are not dedicated to their duties and have a negative attitude towards work in general. The theory also assumes that the employees know nothing about organisational development and must be guided at all times. This theory is contrasted with Mac Gregor’s theory X of motivation which assumes that employees are able to operate independently without supervision, like work and are always dedicated to their duties and responsibilities (Schermerhorn, 2010, p. 39).

Organisation structure

This refers to established formal relationships among various units of an organisation. The purpose is to ensure that organisations can get their work done. This is made possible by having some subdivisions in form of division of labour, which bring coherence within the whole organisation. In the structure, each job position relates with others in a parallel or hierarchical manner. All the jobs taken together form the structure, the shape and form of which have strong influence on the character or culture of the organisation as a whole and the organisation’s performance and effectiveness. Starting with how clear the structure is, the nature and structure of the organisation can also affect people’s ability, effectiveness, or willingness to work effectively. When the structure is highly bureaucratic, it may be frustrating to workers due to lack of effectiveness (Murphy, D.J & Willmott, H 2010, p. 64).

Most structures in organisations are hierarchical, with the top management at the apex, followed by middle management, followed by senior supervisors and then the workers. Other structures are horizontal in nature, which is also known as line management. This can have several managers in charge of various departments such as production, operation, marketing, finance, accounting, personnel working as line managers.

The organisational structure in the organisation is what scholars refer to as entrepreneurial structure. This encompasses a centre of power (either a person or group) that is dominant in the organisation. It is from this centre that power stems from. All decisions are made and all behaviours are a reflection of expectations of that centre of power. There are few collective decisions to be made and the CEO has direct links with the personal assistants and all other key departments.

The bureaucratic form also features prominently in the organisation. This structure is characterized by a hierarchical authority, written rules and regulations that specify the exact nature of relationships among the personnel and how tasks are carried out. The entrpreneural and bureacratic structres can be contratsed with The independent form of organisational structure which provides a support system that enables various organisations to work independently with little coordination and control from a more superior organisation.

Intervention

Regarding the leadership style, the organisation should change from mechanistic management and leadership to participative and visionary leadership. In participative leadership philosophy, all members of the team are involved in identifying essential goals and development procedures for reaching those goals. The leader facilitates rather than simply issuing orders or making assignments. Individuals are able to express their creativity and demonstrate abilities and talents. The teams give their suggestions freely and are involved in decision making. Morale, capacity and relations between the leader and team are greatly improved. This leadership style contributes to teamwork and employee performance as well as contributing to productive work environment. If participative leadership style is adopted by leaders, employees are more likely to use their skills and capabilities to their fullest (Furnham & Gunter, 1993, pp. 233-234.).

A good example of a participative leader is Mohammed Ben Rashed Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Through his leadership, the UAE has become very successful in various sectors including education and tourism among others. It has become a business hub in the region to be emulated by other countries. For instance, in February 2007, he unveiled the Dubai vision 2015, which is a blue print for the countries’ financial and economic progress by the year 2015. In April the same year, he unveiled the government’s strategic plan to spur development in the country through investing the federal resources in a more efficient and diligent manner so as to ensure transparency and accountability in all federal organs. In May the same year, he launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation which was estimated to be worth $10 billion. The objective of the foundation was to enhance human development through investing in the development of knowledge, education and scientific research. It also aimed at enhancing business leadership, propagating knowledge, rejuvenating culture, youth empowerment, enhancing understanding among people of various cultures and conserving national heritage (Anheier & Toepler, 2010, p. 969).

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Regarding the issue of motivation, the organisation must adopt theory X as explained earlier. With this theory, employees are able to form self managing teams.The CEO should consider devolving decision making to self-managing teams because it increases efficiency, effectiveness and motivation in organisations. This is because the teams are able to organize their work properly through development of work plans and schedules which are in harmony with the uniqueness of the tasks to be accomplished and the teams’ themselves (Shim, 2010, pp. 847-849). It also increases flexibility among the employee body because they work as per their schedule; which can sometimes give them some time to relax and or do their personal things as opposed to situations whereby the management or the top leadership decides everything for the employees, which may make them alienated by the organisation in decision making thus lowering their commitment and devotion to what they do. Sometimes, this may make employees do their tasks just for the sake of doing, which may hinder the progress of the organisation because the employees do not put their passionate input in their responsibilities (Kezar, A.J 2001, p. 75)

Self-managing teams are able to improve their working environment based on the 5S Japanese methodology which include Sorting the necessary from the unnecessary, Simplification of access by ensuring that everything is in its proper place and time, Sweeping to ensure that their working environment is clean, orderly and safe, Standardization of the work across and within groups to ensure harmony in the groups’ operations and Self-discipline (Cummings & Worley, 2008, p. 96).

Regarding the organisational structure, the management should consider introducing a system of working in which the employees are less supervised, but encouraged to be responsible, flexible creative and innovative in their duties. The organisation should also do away with any rules and regulations which emphasise more on procedures and regulations and replace them with rules which emphasise more on the end product of work irrespective of the means and procedures used to arrive at a particular end result (Murray & Jones, 2006, p. 45).

Reference List

Anheier, H.K & Toepler, S 2010, International encyclopedia of civil society, Springer, New York, NY, p.969.

Bass, B.M & Bass, R 2008, The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, p. 29.

Cummings, T. G & Worley, C. G 2008, Organisation development and change, 8th ed, Cengage Learning, Mason: OH, p. 96.

Furnham, A., & Gunter, B 1993, Corporate culture: definition, diagnosis and change. InCooper, C.L., Robertson, I.T. (Eds), International Review of Organisational Psychology,John Wiley, Chichester, 8, pp.233-234.

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Kezar, A.J 2001, ‘Understanding and Facilitating Organisational Change in the 21st Century’: Recent Research and Conceptualizations, Volume 28, Issue 4.75, Jossey-Bass. New York, NY.

Murphy, D.J & Willmott, H 2010, Organisation Theory and Design, Cengage Learning EMEA, Andover SP10 5BE, p.64.

Murray, P & Jones, G 2006, Contemporary issues in Management and Organisational Behaviour, Cengage Learning, Farmington Hills, MI, p.45.

O’Connell, T & Cuthbertson 2009, Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure: Creating Conscious Groups through an Experiential Approach, Human Kinetics, Hoboken, NJ, p. 78.

Schermerhorn, J.R 2010, Management, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ, p.39.

Shim, M 2010, Factors influencing child welfare employee‟s turnover: focusing onorganisational culture and climate. Children and Youth Services Review,32, pp. 847-849.

Smyth, J 1989, Critical Perspectives on Educational Leadership, Routledge, Hoboken, NJ, p. 15.

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