Home > Creativity, leadership, Teaching > Reflections on competing theories of leadership

Reflections on competing theories of leadership


Any survey of leadership theory will acquaint you with concepts like: leadership traits, leadership behaviors, transactional leadership styles, transformational leadership styles and organizational culture. The interplay of these different schools of thought offer a rich source of insight into human behavior organizational performance. Here are some notes to get you started down this path from one manager’s perspective:

Culture is an extraordinarily powerful aspect of organizational dynamics. I’m beginning to think is the most important thing of all, perhaps because it’s the aspect least under our own control.

The idea of the Epiphany in the Carpool is an excellent metaphor for creative brainstorming. The members of the carpool are taken out of their normal cultural setting and placed in an area where conversation and cross talk is inevitable and this can lead to extraordinary results.

The story of Bill Gore and his application of leadership principles to create a very creative culture shows the potential that can happen when the right ingredients come together in terms of culture and leadership and business market.

The aspects of the socialization process of strong cultures from page 435 in the Organizational Behavior Workbook by Osland (et. al.) is an accurate map of this college’s culture. The discussion of the importance of stories and storytelling as a reinforcing mechanism is directly applicable.

The use of symbols, and jargon language, rituals and ceremonies are an important part of any business culture.

Many college curricula are still treating culture as something that other groups have, not us. And we look at it as a set of external handles enabling us to get a grip on the other or as a set of buttons we can push to go to the right floor.

Edgar Schein is one of the great original thinkers in the area of organizational culture. His work figures prominently in my research. His mechanisms for influencing culture correspond directly to most situations. Reviewing his work would surely be of benefit to most organizational thinkers.

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