Understanding Organizational Culture

Leadership is defined as the social influence process through which an individual supports others in order to accomplish the required goals. It is a process of organizing a team and leading them towards achieving common objectives (Giuliani & Kurson 2002, p. 27). There are different leaders, including autocratic, charismatic, democratic, autocratic, task oriented, people or relation oriented and many others. In leadership, a leader should guide and lead as an example in a cohesive and consistent manner. Leaders lead other individuals through applying knowledge and skill of leadership. A principled leader should act as an example to others and should possess exceptional qualities that would be emulated by the followers. Moreover, leaders should have traits that can influence actions of other people, which will contribute to a successful performance in the organization.

Excellent leaders are made but not born. In case an individual has the desire and determination, one may become an effective leader. This is because reputable leaders do not evolve naturally but develop through a process of effective training and experience. Hence, superior leaders do not rest. However, they work continuously, study, and attend training programs in order to advance their leadership skills (Daft & Lane 2011, p. 69).  A leader should be honest, understand himself/herself and know what he or she can perform. It is the followers who determine a successful leader. This is because a superior leader can be noticed because of his or her exceptional traits. Thus, an excellent leader should be someone who the followers trust and have confidence in. Additionally, this should be someone who inspires each and every one of the followers. In order to become a successful leader, one should understand his/her followers and convince them that he or she is worthy to be followed.

A superior leader should have excellent communication skills. Communication concept in leadership is vital because it is the key element towards successful leadership management. A leader may lead in two different ways of communication, which include verbal and non-verbal. For instance, when setting an example, it reveals that the followers are supposed to do something through copying that example without being told. This is an indication of nonverbal communication. In leadership, excellent communication is emphasized because it is through better communication that organizational goals can be achieved. Poor communication may cause conflicts in an organization, thus contributing to poor performance within an organization (Robbins 2005, p.122). Therefore, a leader should learn the ways of communicating with the followers. Nowadays many organizations are being impacted by poor communication, which is usually the result of the multiculturalism on the workplace: many organizations carry different people with varied cultural backgrounds. Better communication across the organizational levels promotes better performance. Therefore, a leader should understand that the way he or she passes across information may either build or damage the relationships with the followers, thus contributing to poor organizational performance.

There are leadership models that help leaders to understand what makes one act as a leader in different ways. This model does not encourage leaders to lock themselves into a particular model. However, they help leaders to understand that every situation requires a different approach to be taken (Northouse 2010, p. 120). The models are divided into two different models, including the managerial grid and the four framework approach. The managerial grid is a framework that is also referred to as the leadership grid framework. This framework has two axes, which is the horizontal and the vertical axis.  The vertical axis covers the concern for individuals and the horizontal axis covers the tasks or results of a particular concern. Both axes have arranged of digits starting from 0-9 as indicated below on the diagram one.

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The two dimensions are drawn as a graph and they are used to describe a managerial behavior. Many leaders fall in the midst of the two axes. Others score to the extreme far end within the scale and the rest remains in the midst of the road. From the leadership grid, one may come up with varied ways of scaling leaders. One of them is the authoritarian leader who is strong on task but weak on individual skills. Another one is the team leader who is strong on tasks but weak on people’s skills and many other aspects of leadership. The goal of the team leader is to be at the middle of the road. The aim is to score at least 5, 5 or 9, 9 (Clark, 2010). Thus, an excellent leader should operate at least to the extreme end of each scale depending on any situation that a leader may find himself or herself in.

From the diagram below, one may conclude that the authoritarian leaders are high task oriented and maintain low relationships. Therefore, leaders who achieve the above ratings qualify to be at a higher rate of providing better leadership. This type of leaders are task-oriented and they concentrate more on ensuring that the tasks are performed well rather than on relationship  building with others in the workplace. Team leader performs high in a relationship but low task.  These are such leaders who work and lead others being perceived as a role model or an example. Therefore, they try to foster a team environment. They work tirelessly in ensuring that they have created mutual relations with their followers meanwhile trying to balance the tasks. Another type of leader is country club leaders who concentrate on building the relationships but have low task performance levels. They use reward power in maintaining discipline. This is done in order to encourage team members to accomplish their goals. The last leader type is the impoverished leader. These leaders have both low tasks and low relationships. These leaders are not committed to maintaining relationships neither to encouraging their followers to accomplish the tasks. They allow the team to carry out whatever they prefer, thus promoting poor performance in an organization.

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Diagram one showing an illustration of a leadership grid

By Clark (2010)

The second framework is the four framework approach. Argyris (2010, p. 56) argues that leaders demonstrate their leadership actions in one of the four frameworks, which are the following: political, symbolic, structural and human resource framework as shown in the diagram two below (Clark, 2010). These frameworks reveal that leaders can be placed in either one of these framework approaches. Sometimes one approach may be applied and may not. This is one of the reasons that reveal an effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the framework depending on the environment. Leaders should not rely on one or more of the approaches because it may be insufficient. One of the effective frameworks is the structural style and it is effective especially when the growth in an organization is needed. Therefore, leaders should be careful when choosing the type of framework to use.

Additionally, the structural framework is essential in leadership management. This is because it enables leaders to analyze and design organization behaviors. In this framework, leaders focus on the structure, situation analysis, implementation, or copying strategies. The second framework is the human resource framework. This framework is vital because it advocates and empowers leaders. The third one is the political framework whereby a leader is considered as an advocate whose task is to build a partnership (Pillai & Northouse 2000, p. 132). Leaders exercise this type of framework through poor distribution and interests. In this framework, leaders should use persuasion when carrying out their tasks. The last one is symbolic framework, whereby leaders should inspire others. The symbolic leaders view organizations as a center for various activities. They should perform their roles well in order to increase the organizational performance. They should use symbols so as to be able to capture the attention of people in an organization.

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Diagram two showing an illustration of a four framework approach

By Clark (2010)

There are varied leadership theories categorized into different types. One of them is the Great Man theory. It assumes that leadership capability is intrinsic and that leadership capacity is inborn. This means that the top leaders are born but not made. The theory assumes that outstanding leaders arise when the need arise (Zagorsek, Stough & Jaklic 2006, 183). The theory portrays the foremost leaders of the past when leadership was believed to be for male. This is a mythical theory that speaks about earlier people like, for instance, aristocrats who were great leaders of the time. This was proposed by Thomas Carlyne, and during an earlier period, most leaders were men. It was called the Great Man theory.  Most researchers were men and their concerns about the andocentric created bias. This theory became popular in the early 19th century. The founder of Great Man theory believed that effective leaders are those with right characteristics and gifted by the divine nature through inspiration. Even in the contemporary society, people describe leaders as people with right qualities for a specific position. They reveal that inherent leadership features are what makes someone an effective leader.

Contingent theory is another leadership theory that focuses on variables associated with the environment, which may determine a certain leadership style best for that environment. According to Van Wart (2005, p. 201), there is no leadership that is best in the entire environment. This is because one’s success depends on varied things, including the traits of the followers, environmental aspects or factors, and leadership styles. This theory falls under the class of behavioral theory, which asserts that there is no clear way of leading and that some leadership styles may prevail in some situations (Argyris 2010, p. 102). The contingency theory reveals that leaders who are successful in leading may become unsuccessful in case being transferred to another environment. This is because of the environmental changes in a different situation. This theory is very similar to the situational theory. However, the only difference is that situational theory takes into consideration the behavior of the follower, whereas the contingency theory takes into consideration the behavior of a leader and the environmental variables.

Another theory is the trait theory. This theory is somehow similar to the great man theory because it assumes that people inherit certain leadership qualities that they utilize in leadership. This theory identifies certain personality or behavioral features that are commonly shared among leaders. The traits are the main features that identify leaders. However, the theory becomes difficult to apply especially when some leaders may show up the traits for leadership but they are not leaders (CoticcSvetina, Jaklicc & Zagorsek 2005, p. 64). Moreover, it assumes that leaders inherit certain traits suited for leadership. It argues that individuals who become superior leaders are those who have the right traits combination.  Researchers focused on the psychological behaviors of individuals in order to determine successful leaders; hence they came up with the trait theory. Attention was put on discovering the traits of leaders and skills that are essential for successful leadership. These skills are processed by a leader and then influenced by the followers as illustrated in the figure 1 below. Researchers came up with different leadership traits like self-confident, stress tolerant, cooperative, assertive, and ambitious, etc. The skills inherited include creativities, persuasiveness, being socially skilled, diplomatic, knowledgeable, and organized.

Behavioral theory is a leadership theory based upon the beliefs that leaders are made but not born (Hiebert & Klatt 2001, p. 57). It assumes that successful leadership is based upon learning behaviors. It focuses on the actions of a leader but not the mental qualities of a leader. Hiebert and Klatt (2001, p. 58) argue that in behavioral theory, people learn from others through the observation or training programs. Hence, they believe that anyone will become an extraordinary leader through emulating an example of other leaders or through learning the main processes. This theory does not seek for any inborn leadership capabilities but rather takes into consideration the performance of a leader. It emphasizes more f learning process through effective training programs and copying examples of other leaders. Behavioral theory is somehow similar to trait theory because it assumes that outstanding leadership can be achieved through learning processes.

Participative theory of leadership argues that the ideal leadership style results from taking into consideration other people’s actions. In other words, it assumes that prominent leaders emerge through participating in group discussions or working together as a team in decision making processes. This theory emphasizes the importance of team work because it is through taking actions of others that one may become a successful leader. Yang Yang and Konrad (2011, p. 17) argue that the involvement in relevant decision-making contributes to a successful leadership. Therefore, leaders are encouraged to work together as a team rather than independently in order to arrive into better decisions that would benefit the organization. This is crucial because it will contribute to better overall performance of the company. It creates beneficial relationships between leaders and their followers. This contributes to better organizational management. Daft (2010, p. 243) points out that people are less competitive when they work independently rather than when they collaborate. This is because collaboration contributes to effective decision-making. It enables individuals to arrive at the conclusion faster. The participative theory involves other individuals in decision making process in order to achieve common goals.

Situational theory suggests that leaders should choose the best action against the course of actions in situational variables. This theory reveals that different factors in a certain environment depend upon the cause of action that a leader takes. For instance, when there is a need for a decision making, an excellent leader does not use only one style in making a decision. This is because different factors affect the decisions made in a particular environment. The factors may include motivation, capability, or motivation of the followers. These factors may, in turn, be affected by different factors due to situational variables. The relationship between the leader and the followers is another factor that may be affected depending on a particular environment. Situational variables may affect the behaviors of a leader; for instance,  stress and organizational culture may hinder the leader from attaining organizational goals. For instance, a good leader should understand the culture of people in a given environment. This is because culture may impact the performance of an organization (Ashkanasy, Wilderom & Peterson 2000, p. 98). Organizational culture varies from one environment to another, and it will impact the performance or success of a leader if it is not taken into considerations.

Management theory is anther leadership theory, which is also known as a transactional leadership theory. It focuses on the supervision role, performance of the organization, and teamwork. This theory is mostly used in business entities. It is based on the leadership system of punishing and rewarding employees. For instance, in case employees in the organization become successful, they get rewarded. However, if they fail in terms of performance, they are punished for their failure. In management theory, leaders work in a chain of command. Transactional leaders create a clear structure and formulate strategies that should be followed in an organization. They allocate work to their subordinates and authorize them on what they are supposed to do. The transactional leaders use management through exemption, which requires reward in order to exceed expectation. In this case, some corrective actions are applied for better performance of work below expectation (Bush & Bush 2003, p.112).

The last theory is the transformation theory, which is also termed as the relationship-leadership theory. It focuses on the connections or relationships formed between the leader and the followers. Transformational leaders inspire individuals through helping the team members to see the significance of better performance. These leaders always work hard in order to enable the team members to perform better. They encourage each member in a group to work hard in order to fulfill their duties. The transformational leader works hard towards achieving extraordinary things. Transformational leader begins with the vision and mission development. The leader develops a vision that guides a particular organization. These leaders have to create trust and exercise high integrity in order to achieve the required objectives. Additionally, transformational leaders seek for the ways in which others would follow them. This is done trough using the vision and strategies in order to accomplish their required goals of an organization. They are always visible, meaning that they stand in front to be counted rather than staying behind the troops. Transformational leaders are people result oriented and they believe in themselves in everything they perform (Zagorsek, Stough & Jaklic 2006, P. 186).

One of the leadership concepts that are useful to business organizations in Hong Kong is the ethical theory. Ethical theory is one of the fundamental theories in business. This is because it creates trust and promotes confidence in leadership management; thus creating employee satisfaction and better business performance in an organization. According to Dolenssek (2007, p. 298), business ethics applied ethical and moral principles used in business environment. They employ all relevant individual conducts and entire business environment in order to create a better business environment. Many business organizations in Hong Kong employ ethical theory in business because it is through moral principles that a successful business is achieved. For instance, many corporations in Hong Kong employ ethics codes in order to enable them transact their businesses successfully. They apply ethics implicitly in regulating organizational behaviors that lie beyond the control of the government.

Ethical issues include human rights and responsibilities between employees, suppliers, and clients. This theory is crucial because it enables organizational leaders to perform better. This is because the followers may create trust and confidence in their leader. This will enable them to build strong relationships and work together as a team in or order to achieve common goals of the organizations. For instance, in the sector of accounting within the organization, employing codes of ethics or ethical principles is crucial. This is because it will enable the accountant to handle business transactions effectively. This will, in turn, contribute to successful business performance, thus accelerating economic growth (Gargouri & Jaziri 2010, p. 79).

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Another concept that is crucial in business organization in Hong Kong is the communication concept. Effective communication concept is inevitable in organizing one’s business. Leaders should communicate effectively because communication wins organizational confidence and assurance. Communication is rather flexible and enables an organization to carry out its business effectively (Jusko 2010). In communication process, the theory of social responsibility is crucial. The reason why this theory is important is because it motivates, mobilizes, and educates employees in an organization. Through social responsibility theory, leaders can motivate workers to contribute more to better organizational performance.

The above concepts are crucial in varied ways. First, ethics in business is significant because it enables business to carry out the transaction effectively. Business ethics enables corporations to have trust and confidence towards one another. For instance, customers will have confidence in the distributors and the services provided to them. Ethical codes are vital because they govern organizations in order to achieve success in their business (Jones 2010, p. 34). Ethical theory is vital because it creates trust among employees and their leader. This will contribute to the achievement of organizational objective. Ethical principles are emphasized in many organizations because successful organization performance is achieved through following ethical codes and conducts of an organization.

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Communication is significant in an organization because it creates success in terms of performance. Leaders who are able to communicate effectively to their employees have high chances of becoming successful. Effective communication will enable leaders to create mutual understanding as well as will stimulate workers to achieve their common objectives. Through effective communication, employees will be able to understand the overall organization’s needs and business strategy. In addition, it will help employees to understand the ways of contributing to the achievements of major objectives in an organization. Lastly, communication is crucial because it will enable employees to understand organization’s culture. Understanding organization’s culture is vital because it will contribute to the economic business growth and development (Schermerhorn, Osborn & Hunt 2000, P. 211).

In conclusion, effective leadership is crucial because it leads to successful performance in the organization. Leadership poses varied traits that enable one to lead successfully. Communication concept is the key concept that helps leaders to lead effectively. This is because poor communication will hinder effective performance of the organization. There are different leadership theories, which are: the transactional, trait, behavioral, situational, participative, transformational, contingency, and great man theories. These theories try to explain the ways in which leadership is achieved. Some theories emphasize that superior leaders are made but not born. There are leadership models that help leaders to understand the way in which they should act in order to achieve success. These include the grid framework and the four approach framework. Communication concept and ethical theory are the key concepts that are crucial in business organization in Hong Kong. This is because they contribute to better organizational performance, thus promoting organizational growth.



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