Brian W. Bridgeforth, M.B.A., M.A. Ph.D. 10.12806/V4/I1/TF1
Following the model of the physical sciences, social scientists have sought a working definition by piercing the mystique to determine the nature of leadership through dissection and identification of leadership’s composition and construction. The respective works of Bass (1990) and Stogdill (1981) offer encyclopedic reference to the history of academic effort in this regard. These works cover concepts, theories, typologies, and taxonomies. Within the pages are the speculations and dichotomous debates of the ages. Conjecture and explorations acknowledged by Bass (1990) and Stogdill (1981) are leadership as the center of group processes, personality, compliance induction, affect, effect, behaviors, persuasion, power, goal achievement, role differentiation, structure initiation, and combinations of the aforementioned. Additionally, Bass (1985) lists autocratic versus democratic approaches, directive versus participative decision-making, tasks versus relationships, and initiation versus consideration as a sampling of the dichotomous study of the last half century. To these lists, one might add situational or contingency and motivational theories. In summary, the history of academic inquiry is a legacy of seeking understanding of leadership as construct and role in social systems relative to human and societal development context. While the common objective is to define an appreciable working definition of leadership that allows for consistent and comparable research and analysis of results, efforts to date have derived “almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” (Bass, 1990, p. 11). The multiplication of definitions has yielded the unintended consequence of compounding confusion perpetuating the myth of leadership as mystical. More importantly, the model of seeking understanding through dissection lobotomizes practice. This is evident in the debate regarding the exercise of leadership. This debate began with Burns’ (1978) lament of a leadership crisis and its echo in time (Bennis & Nannus, 1985; Bennis, Rummler, Gery, Burke, Juechter, & Tichy, 2003; Dalton, 2004; Weathersby, 1998). Mintzberg (2004) argues that the problem is too much leadership and too little management. The unconscious recognition of this debate is, as exercised, leadership is often an illegitimate practice gestated and nurtured of a handicapped base of instruction.
It is with this acknowledgement that this researcher inquires into the past and future of leadership theory development from a systemic perspective to define the concept, propose an initial framework in which literature and inquiry may be framed, and offer a curriculum for leader(ship) training and development. Such an endeavor begins with asking the following questions. To what degree is it appropriate to teach past models? Which models are suitable to carry forward in practice? Which will offer meaningful historical value and future research avenues? Barker (1997) asks a more fundamental question “Is it not presumptuous to teach leadership and or aim to develop leaders when we have yet to know what either is?” The answers to these questions contain unmeasured potential for contributing to system dysfunction through incongruence and misalignment of intent and action between leader and follower(s) when theory is less than ideal for the social systems developmental context and vice versa. In disagreement with Rost (1991) suggesting our collective understanding has not advanced and the present construction of knowledge regarding each is a shambles, this article proposes the history of leadership speculation and research supports this conjecture and future directions of possible research.
Rost (1991) concludes that our lack of understanding and lack of advancement in the study and appreciation of leadership stems from a lack of an appreciable working definition. He goes on to state that the error of many in defining leadership is failure to separate the actor (leader) from the act (leadership). From this extensive and enlightening work Rost offers, “Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes” (p. 102). The first challenge here is that Rost has approached his work under the presupposition that leadership exists – s that it is an objective reality – without question. The second challenge is the question, “Can one rightfully divorce the actor from the act?” It appears that Rost resolves both challenges by asserting the existence of leadership and its definition by identifying the objective reality of the leader. By usage and suggestion, the popular concept of leadership is a nomalization when we say “leader.” This is then is part of the problem to achieving an agreed definition. The root of the definition then is to suggest that it is a set of behavioral and cognitive skills exhibited by one that one or more so called the “follower(s)” recognizes, agrees with, trusts, commits to, and relies upon. To satisfy Barker (1997) we must first as Rost (1991) correctly asserts, we must define. To derive a definition one must first ask the most fundamental question “Is leadership a societal requisite or collective social fantasy?” That is, does leadership indeed exist? Is social action a manifestation of leadership or is leadership a derivative of social action? Is socially constructed reality a limited and potentially misleading labeling (Barker, 1997; Rost & Barker, 2000; Nirenberg, 1998)? After all, perception is the color of reality, not reality itself. Meaning that leading and leadership are social events in which participation is a collective outcome of individual observations, perceptions, and responses.
There are three possible answers to this question. First, leadership is a derivative of social action and therefore collective social fantasy. Next, leadership is a societal requisite to the manifestation of social action. Moreover, finally, leadership is a derivative collective social fantasy requisite to social action in which social action is requisite to sustaining the derivative fantasy.
How one responds to the question determines study, evaluation, and translation of the relationship between leadership and social systems both theoretically and practically. If requisite, then a leader and the act of leadership are objective measurable constructs and there is justification for seeking a definition. If fantasy, there is no justification for seeking a definition and acceptance of such a response will alter our perceptions and acceptance of societal structure. There is a third answer, requisite fantasy. This third answer, both says it does exist and is the root of defining the construct.
“All social and political movements require leaders to begin them” (Bass, 1990, p. 8). From this presupposition, the questions of who becomes the leader and how the leader is requisite arise. Bass (1990), House and Aditya (1997), Stogdill (1981), and Yukl (2002) respectively review and reference literature reviews of myths and legends, the studies of animal social structure, pecking orders, dominance, cross- cultural comparisons, power, legitimacy, task competence, authority, values, style variations, and exchange theory. This host of speculation and research is reducible to a one thesis-antithesis-synthesis discussion – trait versus behavior or combination.
Trait studies have included age, height, weight, appearance, fluency of speech, intelligence, dominance, introversion, extroversion, confidence, initiative, persistence, emotional control, cooperativeness, needs and motivations, values, self- esteem, and charisma. Behavioral studies have included the use of power and authority, contingent reinforcement, leader-follower interaction, and task competence. Yukl (2002) cites the Ohio State and Michigan Leadership studies specifically in which behavioral effectiveness and critical incidents were the focus.
The common denominator and initial synthesis to the trait versus behavior debate is the presupposition of dominance being synonymous with leadership. Efforts to substantiate this presupposition have been through literary review studies of mythology and legend, animal structure, dominance, pecking orders, cross-cultural examination, power, and authority. Recent leadership theory the last one hundred years continues to reinforce the synonym presupposition. Weber (1947) implies dominance is synonymous with leadership describing followers as “those subject to authority” (p. 359). Dominance by power is the foundation of leadership legitimacy in Hersey’s (1984) situational leadership model. Bass’ (1985) transformational/transactional leadership model is leadership arising from managerial (superior-subordinate) authority. Yukl (2002) acknowledges the dominance as leadership presupposition summarizing most definitions of leadership as a process of intentional influence exerted by one person over a group or organization to structure, guide, and facilitate relationships. The implication of dominance identifying and defining leadership is the use of the word “over.” The challenges underlying the reviews of mythologies and legends are the sources reviewed. Mythology and legend are biased and exaggerated accounts of events.
Subsequently the contributory value of mythology and legend to the study of leadership is the expression of anthropological, psychological, and or sociological contextual review of human and social behavior. Barker (1997) refers to the dominance model of leadership as the feudal model because it arose with the hierarchical system of kings, lords, and governors of the middle ages. Let us propose that the foundation of the dominance model predates the feudal period. Presuppositions of trait and behavior are reasonable if one considers the development of the human brain relative to the development of societal structure in light of Bass’ (1985) use of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to underpin his theory of transformational/ transactional leadership. Howard (2000) repeats the identification of the reptilian portion of the brain (fight or flight) as dominating in early humans and in animals. In an environment where survival is the predominate focus those individuals that dominate are more likely to survive than those who do not.
Dominance is a trait according to McClelland’s achievement motivation theory suggests House and Aditya (1997). A trait promoted for its effect in satisfying survival needs as demonstrated in early human and animal societies. Coupled with submission, a learned behavior (Burns, 1978) either voluntary or by force establishes hierarchy. Hierarchy, as the establishment and perpetuation of structure enables control. Control may be a societal requisite to stability but the link to leadership (i.e., one must control through dominance to prompt social action) is unconvincing. Dominance stimulates as well as suppresses social action throughout the environment. Does suppression equate to leadership as equitably as stimulation?
As social systems have developed from collectives of pairs to groups to nation states needs (individual to collective) shift. Weber (1947) recognized this with his theory of charismatic leadership describing the initial selection and identification of the charismatic leader and the subsequent routinization of charisma. This process derives from the increasing pressures of follower needs flowing through the interdependence within societal structure. It is interesting to note that Weber does not recognize or discuss the underlying necessity of routinization. Is this process a manifestation of the human need to control self and the environment? A control that is unlikely and improbable on both the micro and macro scales. While not discussed, the dominance necessity assumption continues. Bonstetter (2000) argues that even in our enlightened time of placing high value on people demonstrated as respect, trust, and emotional intelligence practices, the lower a social system is on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the greater the appropriateness and necessity of the dominance model of managerial leadership.
Collective Social Fantasy
Bass (1990) and Stogdill (1981) report fifteen pieces of work that suggest leadership is a derivative of social action, and therefore, a collective social fantasy. Reasons supporting this position are that organizational and external environmental factors (i.e., collective social action has more to do with outcomes than the influence of a superior over a group of subordinates). Therefore, these critics argue collectively that leadership effects are in the romantic perceptions of followers, and, thus falsely attributed to leaders. Leadership is a symbolic heuristic born of the inclination to attribute a cause and effect relationship to satisfy the human need to be in control of the environment. Gemmill and Oakley (1992), as cited by Barker (1997), project leadership as a mythology preserving existing social structures by allowing constituencies to escape responsibility for their choices and actions.
The small amount of literature promoting that leadership is a derivative of social action and, therefore collective social fantasy does not invalidate the question. Rather, it raises the question does our seeming need for understanding and control to navigate life’s events bias us toward a false identification of cause and effect? Rost (1991) suggests the fantasy is projecting the need for control as a “savior-like essence” leaders offer to a world that constantly needs saving. Moreover, the absence of consensus on a working definition and the plethora of speculation and conjecture regarding leadership’s role in the social system as well as its relationship to the social system indirectly support the idea of a collective social fantasy. The intent may be to objectify the subjective; however, the consequence is to shroud further the concept of leadership in mystery through the promulgation of confusion.
As needs change perceptions of leadership change in practice and consequently so does the focus of scholarly research. Curiously, Burns (1978) argues that it is fallacy to seek a single theory of historical causation in the study of leadership. Specifically arguing that the validity of the assumptions that leaders make history through the occurrence of social action (i.e., the masses acting through leaders and that social action is a reflection of the crucibles of social and economic deprivation) awaits demonstration. Rather “the test of leadership…is the realization of purpose measured by popular needs manifested in social and human values” (Burns, 1978, p.251) in which the leader’s role is largely determined by ideology and strategy. Is this not the proposition of a single theory of historical causation that will inevitably test the validity of the assumptions that Burns challenges? Does not this proposition contain within it a rewrite of those assumptions?
The final perspective is to respond that leadership is requisite fantasy for the design, behavior, and development of society observable through the autocatalytic relationship between social action and leadership. Burns (1978) states, “leaders and followers are engaged in a common enterprise; they are dependent on each other, their fortunes rise and fall together, they share the results of planned change together” (p. 426). Leadership is an emergent phenomenon. According to Bass (1990), findings suggest leadership appears to be acquired status through active relations among members of a group, in which the leader demonstrates capacity to carry cooperative tasks to completion rather than the mere possession of some combination of traits. Bass’ subtle emphasis is that the literature does not discount trait as a factor, rather that it is not predominate. Trait and behavioral attributes of the leader combine with the social context to govern and guide the initiation and limitation of leader and follower behaviors identified as social action. Supporting this conclusion, House and Aditya (1997) cite Stogdill as calling for an interactional approach to the study of leadership in 1948. Stogdill’s call was to explore leadership in terms of how traits and the situational context interact. Subsequent to accepting this conclusion, is to ask additional questions. How do leaders actively participate and relate individually and to the group to demonstrate cooperative capacity? What traits govern and guide the social context of behaviors? What are the inclinations and behaviors we need to identify and nurture as leadership development?
Rost (1991) may be accurate in his description of the state of confusion regarding the study of leadership. This author disagrees, however, that we have not advanced and at the risk of facing his criticism of perpetuating the myth that leadership’s ambiguity lessens with time. Ignorance is the shroud of mystery. Perception is the empowerment of illusion. Enlightenment is autocatalytic interdependence of mapping, modeling, mimicking, comprehension, inquiry, and proposition. There is no complexity so great as to be beyond human imagination. In summary, the fact that collectively we are confused is a statement that collectively, we are paying attention and learning. Mapping began with trait theory. Efforts to model took the form of behavioral studies. Shadowing and training are venues for mimicry.
Teaching and mentoring facilitate comprehension. Inquiry has generated many debates. Fundamentally, these debates answer one question: “Does leadership derive from nature or nurture?” The responding propositions continuously trading places in popularity and study are trait, behavior, power-influence, transformational, and situational (Watt, 2003). The autocatalysis continues because there is no agreed upon working definition of leadership or what good or effective leadership should be (Smith, Mantagno, & Kuzmenko, 2004). It is innate. Humans know what leadership is and each possesses the innate resources necessary to exercise it. “Woyach (1993) claims, that ‘anyone can exercise leadership…young or old, assertive or quiet, a man or a woman’” (Watt, 2003, p. 4). Barker (1997) calls for a shift from viewing leadership as a relationship concept to a process of complex relationships. This is lobotomy by dichotomy again. To use an allegory, in physics the debate underlying light is the polarity of seeing it as particle versus wave. Under both approaches, progress occurs in understanding light and its properties might enhance our lives. To this writer’s knowledge, no one has asked or considered light to be a particle that travels in a wave pattern. Similarly, of leadership, one might propose it to be a relationship dependent activity. These conjectures are supportable through simply observing the inherence of leadership in social action. The objective here is to participate in the autocatalytic loop from an alternative angle by asking, as a relationship dependent act, what does leadership do?
Bridgeforth’s (2004) study of the integration and applicability of living systems theory, open systems theory, and chaos theory to social systems identified purpose, strategy, people, systems, structure, and process as six universal interdependently comprising elements in three-dimensional phase space. The three axes of phase space are ambition, values, and norms. Axes pair these six elements respectively and in combinations of four creating three relationships – generating, sustaining, and replenishing. Titled the Development by Design Social Systems Model (DBD), one of its central constructs is that this macro model is fractal in nature. That is there is a self-similar or repeating pattern unto infinite micro levels. This paper extends that concept with the proposition of recasting social action as a fractal pattern of behavior bound to the strange attractor we identify as leadership. In chaos theory a strange attractor bounds a behavior in an observable phase space, but lacks universal manifestation leaving it unknown and not fully understood by researchers.
Leadership is the strategy element at the first subsystem level of the people element at the macro level. As strategy, leadership is a descriptor of the interactive relations amongst individuals comprising a social system. As strategy element of the people component this strange attractor determines a degree of societal phase space within the social environment by an individual (leader) performing a combination of six interdependent competencies (leadership) along three dimensions. Dimension 1 is Ambition. Along this dimension leadership anticipates, recognizes, and invokes change and influences the social content and the environmental context. It is the visioning or visionary aspect of leadership.
Dimension 2 is Values. This dimension is best identified through credibility, as a measure of the leader’s integrity and worth, and systems – the appreciation for interdependency and patterns amongst events. As the link pin, values govern and guide the vision and behavior.
Dimension 3 is Fulfillment (norms). Norms are the behavioral dimension – the appropriate acquisition, exercise, and preservation of power through the adept utility of politics as negotiation for resources and or their control.
It is a future endeavor of this author to illustrate support for this concept by demonstrating how seeming discrepancy in leadership theory is recognition by scholars of variation of emphasis of the six tactics, both singularly and in combination by practitioners relative to orientation of the theorist or practitioner to the three axes of ambition, values, and fulfillment (norms). In the interim, let us examine the six elements as universal qualities of the leader as manifest in leadership activity.
Change is as simple as choice to alter some need or want deprivation to some degree of satisfaction. From simple rules, arise the complex behaviors of social dynamics and the complicated change initiatives of organizational or societal change. Bennis (2000) sees change as a constant – a metaphysics – of the modern social context.
Hersey (1984) describes leadership as growth and development catalysts through commitment to and involvement in planned change. Burns (1985) conceives of leadership “as the tapping of existing and potential motive and power bases…for the purposes of achieving intended change” (p. 448). In similar tone, Bass (1990) describes leaders as agents of change wherein interaction “involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of the members” (p. 19). Correspondingly, Yukl (2002) identifies change as one of the most important and challenging of leadership responsibilities. With respect to leadership the words make, act, and process are key. The competency here is the anticipation, recognition, or invocation of change as perceived necessity, actuality, and process. Perceived necessity is awareness of environmental factors and any gap between desired and actual states. Actuality is recognition of change as an ongoing process and it may stimulate perceived necessity. Process refers how groups endeavor to achieve of change – the guiding and governing of the process.
Influence is an act. It is something every person who participates in social settings does. Bass (1990) states that influence implies a reciprocal relationship not necessarily characterized by domination, control, or induction of compliance by leader to those led. Yukl (2002) references survey questionnaire studies that demonstrate influence and power behaviors are distinct constructs. It is what Goleman, Boyatzes, and McKee (2002) and Merlevede, Bridoux, and Vandamme (1997) refer to as the social and communication skills under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. The variation is the degree to which we influence. The determinant of variation is the perception and choice of the reactor to the actor. The competence of influence is the act of stimulating without apparent force or authority. The greatest of these types demonstrate charisma – adept ability be it gift or learned skill – to inspire orally and non-verbally (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Conger, 1989; Kouse & Posner, 2002; Weber, 1947). The question is how do we influence? Bennis (2000) identifies influence as a communications competency referring to it as management of meaning. Yukl (2002) concurs citing numerous studies into influence tactics that have identified 11 specific communicative behaviors.
According to Bass (1990), credibility is about trust earned through demonstrations of character in relation to the group. Kouzes and Posner (2003) define credibility as character earning trust and confidence. Bennis and Nannus (1985) and Bennis (1989; 2000) identifies credibility as trust as comprising four ingredients – constancy, congruity, reliability, and integrity. Therefore, credibility is the belief of the observer in the trustworthiness of an actor derived from the actions thereof.
A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent units or elements forming a complex whole that operates in unison toward a common objective comprises a system. The issue of competence with systems is appreciation for the composition and interdependent construction and behavior of systems. This educator incorporates systems as a competency after reflecting on years of scholarly study and practitioner performance. Miller (1978) and later Tracy (1989) reviewed the organization as a living system comprised of systems. However, neither authors referred to systems as a competency of management or leadership. Bennis and Nanus (1985) identified the leader as social architect – one who understands the interdependent organization and its interactions. Senge (1990) suggested that people create their own reality and that changing that reality required appreciation of patterns and offered a set of archetypes to diagram events. Amidst this systems theory and thinking have entered everyday operations through quality management initiated by Deming (1982) in Japan after World War II and Process Reengineering (Hammer & Champy, 1993). Sholtes (1998; 1999) identifies systems thinking as the heart of modern leadership listing four of six as systems specific. The four are: (a) the ability to think in terms of systems and knowing how to lead systems, (b) the ability to understand the variability of work in planning and problem solving, (c) understanding the interdependence and interaction between systems, variation, learning, and human behavior. Knowing how each affects the others, and (d) giving vision, meaning, direction, and focus to the organization (Sholtes, 1998).
Power remains an enigma. On one hand, it appears to be the role of dominance as a coercive relational factor between leaders and social systems. To paraphrase Burns (1978), power lies in the context of human relationships of motives and resources in which two or more persons engage with one another through mutual persuasion, exchange, elevation, and transformation. Hersey’s (1984) leadership practice recommendation prescribes degrees of power reliance to achieve results. Pfeffer (1992) writes of power as the politics of influence. Dominance, authority, and power are interrelated. As an ability or capacity to act, power may achieve dominance, which in turn establishes authority, which enhances power or other variations of the three. For example, Bass (1990) and Yukl (2002) discuss studies into six types of power of which utilization of one or more of three (e.g., information, referent, and expert) may attain authority status and consequently dominance. The remaining three (e.g., reward, coercive, and legitimate) can and are determinants of continued existence of dominance, authority, and power. The hidden competence of power is its appropriate exercise as authority or control affect in the context of the participants and the social system. Bass (1990) describing power as role differentiator identifies power as a determinant of appropriateness when discussing the responses to power holders and the consequences of their respective actions.
Generally, states Bass, more-powerful group members have more appeal and exercise greater influence amongst a group than less powerful members exercise. In contrast, followers shy away from authority figures that excessively rely on or use reward and coercion power. Yukl (2002) emphasizes context when drawing attention to organizational position and the relations between the individuals involved as determinant factors of power. However, “followers can evaporate a leader’s mask of power merely by disbelieving in it. Authority does not reside with those who issue orders; rather authority lies within the responses of the persons to whom orders are addressed…. We willingly give up our power to buy freedom from risk, responsibility, and accountability” (Banuto-Gomez, 2004, p. 147). More emphatically, Greenleaf (1977) advocated the moral principle that the only legitimate authority followers should willing grant be in proportional response to evident service by the leader.
The art and science of competition for authoritative direction or control of a social system constitutes politics. This definition is consistent with Bass’ (1990) conclusion of the literature in which he interprets organizational politics as cooperation seeking though coalition formation and negotiation as member self- interest competes for control to shape the organization’s culture. Mintzberg (1985) recognized politics as a technically illegitimate power system in terms of its means and ends. Succinctly, politics is game playing. Mintzberg identifies 13 games played in four arenas within organizations. Mintzberg’s summary judgmental is one must play to succeed. Mirroring Mintzberg’s recognition and summary judgment two authors have provided rulebooks. Greene (1998) offered The 48 Laws of Power, a text of historical cases, which serves as a guide of to political competence. Z’s (Unknown), The Black Book of Executive Politics, is an abridged version with similar content – the modern setting rather than historical example. Douglas and Ammeter (2004) report literature seeing political (social and networking) skill as a critical competency in the modern organization. Treadway et al. (2004) state that leader political skill is the most appropriate and potentially useful predictor of influence. The question is what the composition of this competency is. Treadway et al. interpret the literature as identifying three elements – comprehension of social cues and attribute accurately behavioral motives of others; influence and control of people and situations with ease; and, build networks and garner social capital to elevate self-status and provide resources. The challenge with this concept is the usual erroneous assumption that one individual can control or prophetically influence another individual’s behavior or the environment. Second is the question of ethics raised by Bedian (2004) equating potential behaviors to acting as a “chameleon.” Set aside the assumptions of control and predictive influence and the investigation of the nature of the political process remains. Under this context, negotiation is at issue and Mintzberg’s (1985) arenas and games become strategy and tactic.
Bass and Avolio (1999), Conover (1996), Curtin (2002), Doh, (2003), Hackman, et al. (2004), and Watt (2003) are a small sampling that either advocate their own belief or repeat those of others that leadership is learnable. Evidentiary support is practice and reference to growing lists and numbers of businesses, programs, and courses oriented to the training and development of leadership skills. Bass and Avolio (2004) offer a program titled, Training Full Range Leadership, in which one may facilitate the appreciation and development of transformational and transactional leadership behaviors. Conover (1996) offers a brief history of leadership training and advocates its value. Curtin (2002) offers an examination of industry practices trends comparing and contrasting the models of teaching versus facilitating and the respective methods employed through each. Doh (2003), interviewing highly esteemed educators offers a consensus that the question is not the trainability of leadership. Rather, is education, training, or a development program the most appropriate methodology?
Certainly one has a plethora of choices as indicated by simple searches repeated on www.google.com on December 10, 2004. Depending on the terminology used, the number of options increased considerably. “Leadership courses” yielded 63,900 hits. “Leadership Education” yielded 142,000 websites or pages. “Leadership Training” offered up 1,740,000 options from which to choose. Finally, “Leadership Development” reflected 3,010,000 web pages. Doh (2003) offers more comprehensible numbers, summarizing in a table 40 examples in managerial leadership education initiatives ranging from courses to fellowships amongst the top 50 U.S. business school’s offerings. Of these the subset of leadership concentration as a major were accessed and reviewed on December 10, 2004 on the Internet. Of these, only details on two curriculums, Yale’s School of Management and Marquette University’s program, were retrieved. Hackman, et al. (2004) describes the University of Colorado’s undergraduate Chancellor’s Leadership Class at the Colorado Springs campus as an exemplary model. Leadership Education: A Source Book edited by Freeman, Knott and Schwartz (1996) offers a catalogue of undergraduate and graduate programs, certificates, and concentrations. Watt (2003) combines years of discussion with Hosford’s (1973) curriculum development model to propose questions that need addressing in the structuring of a core curriculum regarding leadership. The examples uncovered in the literature and accessible on the Internet were valuable for comparison contrast fodder after the curriculum was structured and detailed. To achieve the objective of structure and detail, practitioner experience in business and education commingle with Watt’s (2003) curriculum model recommendation. This combination culminates in a Master’s level program structured to provide organizational leadership career preparation for students regardless of undergraduate education. The envisioned student is one who is experienced and aspires to serve institutionally and communally. The equifinality of this proposed curriculum derives from the universality of skill sets of managerial and leadership professionals knowing no organizational limitations.
The creation of the curriculum is an ongoing process. Stated previously, this schematic has its roots in Toward a General Theory of Social Systems (Bridgeforth, 2004). This work proposes a universal model and fractal composition to the nature of social systems and human behavior. Each, as requisite emergent phenomenon, has a distinct universal composition and fractal pattern.
Born of practitioner experience and scholarly inquiry, this perspective has four premises. First, as functional roles, management and leadership demonstrate distinct competencies. Next, one may manage without leading. Additionally, one must manage to lead. Finally, both management and leadership competencies can be taught and developed.
The curriculum follows the premise that the leadership portion build on the management portion (see Figure 1). The leadership portion of the curriculum derives the previously supported proposition that change, influence, credibility, systems, power, and politics are the competencies of leadership. Specifically, these interdependent elements require and or facilitate the emergence and identification of the leader and contribute to the sustaining of social action relative to the collective agenda exercised. “Change” is the purpose of leadership. Influence is synonymous with strategy. “Credibility” is the element of cohesion in groups. “Systems” is the cognition of the pattern interplay of content and context of the situation and environment. “Power” is the resource structure of the leader-follower relationship.
Of interest, here is the appropriate exercise of power resources to guide and govern social action. Finally, “politics” is the process of negotiated resolution of competition for policy and procedural control of the social system.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’ (AACSB International) guidelines are the utility for examining compliance with recognized standards.
Organizations: Theory & Dynamics
Cognition & Decision Processes
Note: The arrowed lines indicate plan of study – a linear progression of pre-requisites. The management concentration is pre-requisite to the leadership concentration.
Economics & Financial Analysis
Information & Communication
Legitimacy & Authority
Systems: Theory & Application
Psychology of Leadership
Affectivity: Ind. & Organizational
According to these standards, general management degree programs include
learning experiences in such management-specific knowledge and skills areas as:
Ethical and legal responsibilities in organizations and society.
Financial theories, analysis, reporting, and markets.
Creation of value through the integrated production and distribution of goods, services, and information.
Group and individual dynamics in organizations.
Statistical data analysis and management science as they support decision- making processes throughout an organization.
Information technologies as they influence the structure and processes of organizations and economies, and as they influence the roles and techniques of management.
Domestic and global economic environments of organizations.
Other management-specific knowledge and abilities as identified by the school.”(AACSB, 2004, p. 15).
Additional topics cited by AACSB typically found in general management degree programs of supporting interest are:
Global, environmental, political, economic, legal, and regulatory context for business.
Management responsiveness to ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity.
Information acquisition, management, and reporting for business (including information management and decision support systems for accounting, production, distribution, and human resources).
Creation of value through the integrated production and distribution of goods, services, and information (from acquisition of materials through production to distribution of products, services, and information).
Human resource management and development.
Strategic management and decision-making in an integrative organizational environment.(p. 67).
Doh (2003) and Freeman, Knott and Schwartz (1996) were utilized as identifying leadership concentrations offered at various schools to supplement research to support this curriculum (see Table 1). The programs at Yale’s School of Management (Yale SOM), Marquette University (MU), Chapman University (CU), and University of LaVerne (UoL) programs were retrieved. Of these Yale’s SOM is an MBA program emphasizing managerial skill and offering a concentration in leadership equivalent to three courses. MU offers a leadership major with six subdisciplines of which the organizational leadership is included. CU’s offering is a MA in leadership wherein the emphasis is the art in this generalized program. The offering at UoL is a MS in leadership and management with course offerings emphasizing the latter.
In summation, if this sample is representative of leadership programs offered by academic institutions, academic preparation is contributing to the challenges experienced in both the practice of leadership and the advancement of research. It does so by teaching that management and leadership are synonymous and emphasizes the former over the latter. Is academia solely responsible? No. The lack of a working definition of leadership inhibits exploration of its requisite knowledge,
skills, and abilities. Therefore, the necessity of the hour is to understand the role of leader and its relationship to the social context and begin teaching testable practical competence through application in the field. This is the key distinction of the curriculum proposed here in contrast to the general leadership programs seeming to be offered presently. Unlike current programs that teach leadership under the rubric of managerial theory, tasks, and skills, this program trains, develops, and educates leaders regarding the relational exercise of leadership. The structure of the program relates back to the framework designed to assimilate and organize the breadth and strata of literature past, prescriptions present, as well as future speculations.
As stated previously, the purpose of this graduate curriculum is to provide organizational leadership career preparation to students who aspire to serve institutionally and communally regardless of undergraduate education. In support of that purpose, the curriculum identifies two strategic and tactical objectives.
To facilitate the achievement of a working definition of leadership as requisite emergent phenomenon, and
To positively affect social action and change through leadership practice and development based on ethical principles and moral integrity.
Adopting AACSB (2004) goal statements and Watt’s (2003) reiteration of recommended goals regarding leadership education the following program abilities and learner specific outcomes are identified as enhancing practitioner and scholar knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
Establish relationships for the exchange of ideas, information, and research.
Encourage the translation of leadership theory and research into practice.
Encourage the creation of new educational partnerships.
Provide opportunities for personal and professional development.
To develop the practice of leadership through the awareness and enhancement of the purpose and process of leadership.
Explain past conceptions of leadership and discern one’s own.
Recognize the various elements of leadership.
Demonstrate the capacity to lead in social (pair, group, organizational, and societal) situations.
Demonstrate the capacity to adapt and innovate to solve problems, to cope with unforeseen events, and to manage in unpredictable environments.
Apply knowledge in new and unfamiliar circumstances through conceptual understanding the discipline.
Develop an awareness of individual strengths and weaknesses as leader and follower participants in the social system.
Enhance skills of analysis along with the improvement of oral and written communication skills.
Capacity to critically analyze and question knowledge claims in the specialized discipline.
Table 1. Graduate Education in Leadership
University of LaVerne
33 Cr. Hrs
36 Cr. Hrs
33 Cr. Hrs
Financial Accounting Financial Reporting I or Managerial Controls I Data Analysis I: Probability Modeling and Statistical Estimating Data Analysis II: Hypothesis Testing and Regression
Economic Analysis Decision Analysis and Game Theory
The Strategic Environment of Management Leadership
Managing Organizational Politics or Designing and Managing Organizations Marketing Management
This course introduces the role of the organization as a social institution and the essential skills and practices of management (planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling) as role and responsibility from behavioral science theory and research perspectives.
Cognition and Decision Processes
This course surveys knowledge of the brain, decision-making theory, and creative thinking with emphasis on providing students with theories, processes, tools, and techniques to develop a creative and innovative mindset. Students will enhance decision-making skills through practice by applying these tools and techniques in the classroom environment to actual business challenges.
Organizations: Theory & Dynamics
This course examines social exchange theory and action theory to interpret the organization and its culture as emergent. Emphasis is on the interplay of design, behavior, and development as fundamental to change. Students will explore organizational theory, individual and team dynamics, and change as process and model.
This course examines quality management and applied statistics as a decision making tool. Detail study will entail topics such as probability distributions, sampling, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression, and decision analysis techniques. Statistical analysis software will enhance student learning.
Information and Communication
A survey course utilizing theory and case study to explore the ways in which organizations can achieve their strategic goals and support key organizational functions through the design and implementation of information, decision support, and communication resources and systems.
Economic and Financial Analysis
Through this course, learners will study the provision of operating funds and their effective utilization for and by social systems. Topics include markets, financial planning, valuation and the cost of capital, capital budgeting, capital structure, working capital management, and long-term financing. Primary emphasis is on financial analysis and forecasting techniques for financial decision making within social systems. Primary facilitation of learning is through case studies of practical business problems using computer electronic spreadsheet programs.
The course covers and develops the concepts and role of organizational strategy and marketing as applied to the static-dynamic competitive global environment. Learners will formulate, implement, and evaluate global traditional and e-business solutions. This is the capstone course for the management curriculum integrates prior learning into strategy and policy formulation.
This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of leadership in social systems. Special emphasis is on the social construction of reality and the political nature of leadership and their respective applicable relevance to the purpose of leadership – change as vision, model, and process.
Affectivity: Individual and Organizational
This course focuses on influence strategies at the individual, team, and organizational level for appropriateness to both follower and context. Emphasis is on follower perception of consistency of leader action and interpersonal and public communication.
Psychology of Leadership
Follower perceptions of charisma and credibility identify and define leaders. Focusing on credibility as requisite to the leader-follower relationship, this course explores some component aspects. Topics included are the role of perceptions of style, personality, values, integrity, and trust in leader-follower relations as well as motivation theory.
Systems: Theory and Application
This course explores organizations as social systems through the lens of systems theory and thinking. Learners will study living systems theory, open systems theory, and chaos theory. The course will explore and apply the theories, practices, tools, and techniques of systems theory and the learning organization.
Legitimacy and Authority
This course examines the necessity and function of authority and power in social systems. Learners will explore formal embedding of power and authority sanctioned by structure and condoned and perpetuated through leader-follower relations. The technique of case analysis is the primary course tool for examining the legitimate and creative acquisition and use of power and authority. Each learner will complete an analysis of a leader’s deployment of power and authority toward followers within an organizational context.
Politics is the art or science of competition for authoritative direction or control. Viewing politics as culture, this course introduces students to competitive game theory with a focus on navigating the informal organization. The course provides learners an opportunity to practice negotiation strategies and techniques through exercises and role-playing.
This capstone course integrates theory and practice of the skills and tools acquired throughout the curriculum utilizing project management of a transformation of a department, division, or whole organization of an external sponsor. The medium is a development/ transformation project for an external sponsor completed individually as the lead of a team. In addition to a comprehensive written report and reflective journal regarding execution, a formal presentation of the project and lessons learned to members of the department and outside sponsors is required.
Models and Methodologies
What are the appropriate choices for determining model(s) and methods for curriculum delivery? The Law of Requisite Variety and the Law of Limited Variety together state that while flexibility is requisite choice is limited to that which one is familiar (Bertalanffy, 1968; Scott, 1992; Vancouver, 1996). Therefore, having anticipated, recognized, and initiated change in the study and practice of leadership it is necessary to seek maximal exposure to paradigm alternatives. Just as there is a plethora of options available to the curious and interested in leadership regarding what to study, there is a plethora of options as to how to learn theoretical knowledge and develop practitioner skill.
Curtin (2002) splits leadership development models into two options – teaching or facilitation. Teaching may take one of three forms (i.e., mentoring, coaching, and self-study). Facilitation of groups can take the form of action learning, physical activity, or recreating a case study. Professional Development Plans (PDP), boot camps, and 360-degree feedback are recognized individual facilitation techniques. Avolio (1999) describes developing transformational leaders through a one-on-one coaching model directed by the learner’s professional development plan. Finnerty (1996) advocates coaching. Curtin (2002) describes action learning as engaging people as a group in solving real problems in real time. Fulmer and Goldsmith (2001) expound on numerous corporate examples of experimental and on the job development initiatives and corporate university approaches in the corporate environment. Hackman, et al. (2004) relaying the structure and process of the leadership class at University of Colorado program describes a combination of theoretical instruction with practical application through communal service. Rose (1997) describes a six-step plan titled Accelerated Learning. Accelerated learning is a brain-based process approach in which the primary responsibility for progress in on the learner. Having read the text, received training in the process, and practiced for over two years, this writer can state Rose’s accelerated learning is a misleading label. The process and techniques are memory enhancement not learning. A variation of accelerated learning is the popular marketing approach in education, which is about time compression of presenting and studying course material. Under this rubric rather than the traditional 16-week semester, courses lengths are as long as 12 weeks to as little as five and one-half weeks. Then there is the seminar format. Seminars vary from one day to multi-day sessions like Skill Path offerings or may take the form of high immersion periods with application time segments between such as Bass and Avolio’s (1999) Training Full Range Leadership. Townsend (2002), conducting and reviewing studies of leadership awareness and leadership learning, recommends “true leadership education – where behavior changes are expected – should be organized as long-term sustained effort” (p. 38).
There is also considerable variety of tools and techniques to employ through distinct offerings of the traditional classroom, seminar style presentations, and distance education. Case studies, explained by Alden (1996), are a common approach. Case studies offerings are in print, video, life, and software versions. House (1996) expositions the critical variables of the learner centered classroom instruction. Under this model, learner outcomes are the focus of what is instructed and how from materials to the classroom furniture arrangement. Howell and Silvey (1996) recommend the use of interactive multimedia systems because of offering flexibility to meet individual needs and learning abilities, how ever, when ever, and where ever a personal computer is accessible. Piskurich (1996) explains the flexibility of self- directed learning and facilitating the student experience. Rossett (1996) offers job aides and electronic performance support systems. Here the emphasis is providing resources and support in the work context to aid the learner in discerning an appropriate response to a situation. Meetings are yet another option according to Scannel (1996). Significant factors here are the promotion, audience, timing, outcomes, activities, and duration. According to Thiagarajon (1996), games, simulations, and role-plays have been part of the human learning experience since the dawn of civilization. Similar to meetings, promotion, activity, and audience are critical to success.
Watt (2003) recommends that one examine the curriculum and respond to Hosford’s (1973) model in terms of the following questions in designing the package. The answers to these questions determine the appropriateness of models and methods.
Is the program creative enough to allow the students to encounter new learning experiences in a meaningful way?
Does the program include experiential, interactive hands-on types of learning experiences that can enhance the knowledge gained in the classroom?
Are the students capable of handling this particular series of learning experiences at this time in their education?
Are the students likely to be interested in learning the program material?
Are the overall costs and time spent worth the development and adoption of the curriculum?
Does the curriculum provide the students with alternate settings where they will be challenged to learn? (p.7)
This curriculum proposed is under development as a learner-centered model by Development by Design. This model integrates Deming’s profound system of knowledge, self-directed principles, and with brain-based techniques. The methodologies selected draw on the multiple intelligences appealing to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners alike (Maresh, 2000). Learning reinforcement and facilitation is through the utilization of assessment tools, professional development planning, experiential learning methods, role-plays, written papers, individual and group presentations, case studies, and feedback from others in the learner’s personal/professional settings in order to identify variation of leadership styles through the application of competencies relative to organizational needs as recommended (Curtin, 2002; Hackman, et al., 2004; Watt, 2003). Experimental learning is central to design. Therefore, practitioners will focus learning through the development and execution of a strategic initiative in an organizational setting. This initiative becomes the focus of application coaching and review in each topical area. Each portion of the curriculum begins with assessments of managerial competence and leadership style. These assessments are then the determinants for governing and guiding the development of a professional development plan, the course of study, and necessary coaching or guidance for each individual learner respectively.
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