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留学生MBA essay:领导者在组织管理中的作用

时间:2016-06-03 17:06:47 来源:www.ukthesis.org 作者:英国论文网 点击联系客服: 客服:Damien
留学生MBA essay:领导者在组织管理中的作用
The role of leaders in organisational management
 
本文探讨了关于领导者的关键要求。有抱负的员工应该评估自己是否能承担领导角色带来的责任的高水平。他们认为,通常与领导一样,在商业上,与人和技术上有能力的素质也是必要的,但不作为核心,行使以及保留权力。这是因为一个领导者需要能力带来变化,通常是针对追随者最初的欲望。我认为,权力应该被视为这是一种工具,领导者实施的组织的目标。因此,我认为一个领导者应该行使他/她的权力来带来变化,不是通过竞争获得和保留权力。而且,我不相信权力是领导最重要的要求。这不是领导者的定义,因为有其他特征,行为和情境因素,可以同样作为关键。这包括能带来变化,获得来自追随者的自愿支持,对他们的职业和热情。但首先什么是权力?
 
有两家主要的学校的思想,试图定义权力。传统观点认为,权力是一种资源,人可以拥有和行使别人。路克(1974)说明了三个方面的权力。第一个“脸”是一个开放的脸,这是类似于传统的观点认为,一个有权作为一个可以得到乙做某事但乙不想做。
 
"Whatever else a leader must do, a leader must gain, exercise and retain power." (Bottger and Barsoux: Wall Street Journal, November 30 2009). What does this mean and to what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement? Why?
 
Introduction——介绍
 
The article explores key requirements to be a leader. Bottger and Barsoux claim aspiring employees should assess themselves if they can undertake the high level of responsibility which leadership roles bring. They believe that qualities usually associated with leadership like being good at business, with people and being technically capable are also a must but not as central as gaining, exercising and retaining power. This is because power is required by a leader to bring about change which is usually against the followers' initial desires. I feel that power should be viewed for what it is, a tool by which leaders implement the goals of the organisation. Thus, I believe a leader should exercise his/her power to bring about change but not compete to gain and retain power. Moreover, I don't believe power is the most important requirement for leadership. It is not something which defines a leader since there are other traits, behaviours and situational factors which can be equally as key. This includes the ability to bring about change, attain voluntary support from followers, a passion for their profession and . But first what exactly is power?#p#分页标题#e#
 
Power——权力
 
There are two main schools of thought which try to define power. The traditionalist view argues that power is a resource which one can possess and exercise over others. Luke (1974) illustrates three dimensions of power. The first 'face' is the open face, which is similar to the traditional view that A has power over B as A can get B to do something B does not want to do. The second face occurs behind the scenes where power is used to exclude items from the agenda in order to prevent certain decisions being made. The last face is about power being used to influence the rules of the game. For e.g. in influencing what people want through advertising and marketing campaigns. The post-traditionalist view argues that power is found in institutions, structures and ideas rather than something which individuals can possess. Foucault (1980) believed that a system became power when its agents considered it to be true and unquestionable, for example marriage and team-working. Numerous studies have illustrated that leaders have a strong desire to influence and lead others.
 
Power and Leadership——权力与领导力
 
Power should be used by effective leaders as a tool to achieve the organisation's goals rather than for their own benefits The reference article seems to take the latter view since an 'appetite for power' is required 'above all', implying that . David McClelland (1965) illustrates that there is a personalised power motive or 'power lust', where an individual wants to become a leader just for the power and status that it would bring. Such individuals are usually impulsive and insecure about themselves. The second type is the socialised power motive or having a genuine desire to lead. Here power is used as a tool to achieve desired goals such as developing networks, gaining cooperation and resolving conflicts in a constructive manner. Burns (1978) makes a similar argument using the relationship perspective. He suggests that power is not used by leaders for their own goals but power occurs in relationships. It is used by leaders as well as the followers to promote the collective goals of the entire organisation. Thus, this motivation is likely to make the organisation more profitable and with happier employees rather the personalised one.
 
Bottger and Barsoux suggest that leaders derive power through 'posts' in an organisation. Thus, they espouse to Weber's rational-legal authority. Weber (1946) cited by Clegg et al (2005) argue that this is a belief in standard rules and that those who rise to authority in these rules are allowed to give orders. However, they may not be a narrow source from which leaders can derive power. French and Raven (1959) suggest that there are 'five bases of power': reward, coercion, legitimacy, expertise and reference. Reward and coercion refers to an agent's capacity to please or hurt people physically, economically or emotionally. Legitimate power is same as Weber's rational-legal authority. Expert power is derived from the agent's special knowledge or skill which followers are aware of. Lastly, referent power is the capacity of making subordinates voluntarily want to please the agent.#p#分页标题#e#
 
Gitlow (2004) argues that authority of position is insufficient as it only temporarily commands the obedience of followers. Over time, they inevitably start to dislike what the leader wants them to do. Bottger and Barsoux suggest leaders must look to themselves and review what they have been doing wrong in order to deal with these setbacks. Gitlow (2004), on the other hand, argues a need referent power at this stage. Leaders must 'win' the voluntary support of followers as only then will they be willing to support unpleasant decisions. For example Community-based police work requires making the police friendly and approachable so that the community would be willing to help them in order to achieve common goals. It will also cost less to lead if the leader incorporates this source of power with legitimate power. Nohria & Khurana (2010) argue that leaders can save on "carrots" and "sticks". For instance devoted Catholics may adhere to the teachings of the pope on capital punishment out of respect rather than a threat of excommunication. Furthermore, leaders must balance the use of these powers or in other words use "smart power".
 
Power may not be a fixed resource which leaders have to 'fight' to gain and retain as the article suggests. Bennis (1989) argues that effective leaders view power as an 'expandable pie' that can be distributed by the leader to its followers without influencing his/her own power. Using French and Raven's sources of power, one can argue that individuals across an organisation can mobilise power through some of these sources. This implies that power is not something which a few individuals in an organisation can possess. It can in fact be seen as an asymmetric relation where some individuals are more powerful than others but no one is powerless. This leads to a shared leadership framework. Pearce and Conger (2003) claim that this works by distributing leadership work across the network of employees regardless of their position in the organisation. Thus, it is a social process that occurs in and through social interactions where individuals learn from each other through the sharing of skills and knowledge. This, in turn allows them to achieve the common goal of the organisation.
 
However, critics argue that in order to create less hierarchical systems, you often require strong leaders who wield high levels of power.
 
What must leaders do?
 
One way of answering this question is to study the difference between leadership and management. Carroll & Levy (2008) take management to be a 'default' identity, as it is well known and well defined by the senior and middle managers in their research relative to the ambiguous and rhetorical 'emergent' identity of leadership. By understanding the relationship between the two, one can better understand what leadership is about. Traditionally, leadership is thought of as being separate from management. Heifetz (1994) claims that this is because management usually requires technical work that has known solutions. Leadership, on the other hand, is needed for 'adaptive' work with unknown problems that require innovative solutions. However, the literature reveals that the separation isn't watertight; the two can overlap. Northouse (2000) states that this overlap is based upon how they both leadership and management involve influencing a group in attaining the goals of the organisation.#p#分页标题#e#
 
Being a leader could be more about the vision leaders must have rather than the power to implement their vision. Burns (1978) state that there are two types of leadership; transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership is what a successful manager does. They adhere to organisational policies, plan, budget and meet the deadlines to get tasks done. Transformational leadership is all about change. These leaders are visionaries who provide the energy and support to their followers whilst carrying out the goals of the organisation. This is what defines a leader since a transactional leader does everything that an effective manager would do. Gabriel () develop this argument further by stating that leadership is about 'storytelling' in order to mobilise sentiment. Leaders rather than managers are able to provide a convincing narrative about what the organisation is about, why it is that way and where it is heading. Bennis (1989) suggest having a vision as the 'first basic' requirement to be a leader. A leader should have a clear idea of the change he or she wants to bring in the organisation and why they want to do this. If leaders are not completely sure of this, then they will never able to get there.
 
An ability to get people on your side, the ability to mobile sentiment and bring about change can only be possible by having passion. Bennis (1989) believes that leaders love what they do in organisations. They take a positive perspective on life and are passionate about their profession. Thus when they communicate this passion to their followers, it lifts and inspires them to take an active role in their work. This espouses numerous qualities of positive psychology. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) cited by Clegg et al (2005) describe it in individuals as someone who is satisfied with the past, is optimistic about the future and happy in the present. John Lennon is usually seen to be such a leader, who used his celebrity status to inform his fans about issues of peace. Critics argue that in practice there are no individuals who are able to act in this ideal way. However, they forget that such leaders can make mistakes or unintentionally do things wrong but they take the responsibility and look to improve the scenario.
 
Zaleznik (1977) points out that the differences between what managers and leaders do lies in the conceptions they have of order and chaos. Managers embrace process and want control and stability and try to solve problems immediately, even before they fully understand its implications. Leaders on the other hand, are able to work in chaos and a lack of structure and take their time in making decisions by understanding the aspects involved. Majority of organisations today are still dominated by conservatism, where they embrace 'tradition and inertia' or tried and tested ways rather than take the organisation into new paths and undertake the greater risk. Zaleznik & Abraham (2004) cited by Nohria and Khurana (2010) imply that due to this, the succession of power in organisations is done through managers rather than individual leaders. In other words, a bureaucratic structure suits managers rather than leaders.#p#分页标题#e#
 
In new forms of organisations such as Heckscher's (1994) post bureaucratic organisations, the organisation is fundamentally not bureaucratic. This is similar to the shared leadership framework discussed previously. This is an ideal type where there are no formal rules as decisions are based upon dialogue and consensus. This dialogue is based on the influence of an individual rather than his/her status. There is no hierarchy in place but an open network as shared values can be developed intra-organisationally. A leader is needed here rather than a manager since a leader is able to deal effectively with abstract ideas. A leader is not assigned but emerges from among the employees with the highest competence or skill level. He/she would have to gain trust of other employees based upon the shared values of the firm and through this can influence dialogue and consensus on decisions. Critics would argue that there shouldn't be leaders in this kind of organisation since everyone has shared responsibility and decisions are reached based upon consensus. However, an organisation still requires a leader to offer a clear direction and means through which to implement such features of such an organisation.
 
As employees increasingly work together in teams, this group dynamic reflects psychological needs and processes. Zaleznik & Abraham (2004) argue that business has established a new power ethic that ranks the 'cult' of the group over that of personality. Procter and Mueller (2000) state that individuals assume the role of a leader in a group due to their unconscious anxiety of losing control if they didn't do so. Such anxiety comes from two sources. One source is existential anxiety which comes from a realisation of the inevitability of death. Another source is social anxiety which is derived from a realisation that we are dependent upon the judgement of others to sustain our own identity. This is clearly different to the conscious desire to take on a leadership role as the article points out. There Bottger and Barsoux believe that an individual should want to become a leader in order to fulfil his/her 'potential'. This decision to become a leader is based on choice rather than on an unconscious anxiety or a need to take up the role.
 
Foucault says that power can not be used by individuals but it is infact found in discourses/systems which become power when others hold them to be true and unquestionable. Thus, a leader can not really exert his/her power but in fact it is something else that involves leaders which people believe to have power.
 
Conclusion——结论
 
Leaders need power to influence their followers in order to bring about change. However, this power should not just be derived from the position they are in. Leaders must also actively try to gain the voluntary support of their followers so they understand the reasons behind the difficult changes that leaders have to make. Also, power is not the most essential requirement for leadership. A number of different equally important qualities are need for leadership. Leaders must also have the guiding vision, a passion for their work together with an understanding of their followers. Thus, leadership is a relationship between leaders and followers rather than a contract where leaders at the top direct and control the process. This leads to a shared leadership concept which fits well in post-bureaucratic organisations. Here there is no rigid hierarchy where individuals have more power as you move towards the top, but rather a network where decisions are made on consensus.#p#分页标题#e#
 
However, research shows the difficultly in defining leadership. () suggest the interpretation depends upon one's perceptions etc. For example in Carroll & Levy (2008), the managers that were interviewed would state that they are leaders rather than managers but when asked to define leadership, they would become confused and resort to terming it as something unknown. Kodish (2006) cited by Carroll & Levy (2008) illustrates that ambiguity and paradox in leadership data and research does not necessarily mean a bad thing. Infact, it could be a sign that we are trying get to grips with a complex idea whereas before we used to understand it in a na?ˉve and simple way.
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