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The Game of balancing leadership behaviors : a qualitative study to disclose how leaders tailor leadership styles to be effective leaders in different kinds of situations

Rikkink, I.A.S. (2014) The Game of balancing leadership behaviors : a qualitative study to disclose how leaders tailor leadership styles to be effective leaders in different kinds of situations.

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Abstract:Leadership is studied very often by different researchers. Many theories are used to describe leadership effectiveness; these numerous theories can be divided into traits theories, behavioral theories and situational theories. In the last years the focus switched to more situational theories of leadership. Researchers argue that the nature of leadership varies according to the context. Although, there is done much research at this concept of leadership, there are still many questions to be answered. One of these questions: ‘How do leaders tailor their leadership behavior to be effective leaders in different situations?’ is addressed in this study. To answer this question 23 interviews were conducted. Leaders from ten different health care institutions in the Netherlands voluntary participated in the study. In the interviews the leaders were asked to describe critical incidents and their behavior during these incidents. The results of the study indicate that leaders change their leadership behaviors. The most used leadership styles are relation-oriented and task-oriented. Those two leadership behaviors were used by all the participants, change-oriented and passive leadership styles were used to supplement the task- and relation-oriented styles. Leaders reported preferring relation-oriented behavior, but it is not always possible to stay relation-oriented. In some cases a leader deviates from his or her preferred behavior. There are four different categories that give reasons for changing leadership behavior; (1) event-related, (2) depending on personal feelings, (3) depending on subordinates and (4) a power issue. In the event-related category (1) switches are made between relation-oriented and task-oriented behaviors, one of the things that should be noticed is the use of change-oriented behavior when another way of working is introduced. In that case the leader has to give an appealing description of desirable outcomes that can be achieved; therefore he or she has to motivate people to do their work in another way. In the second category; depending on personal feelings (2) the use of passive behavior is standing out. Leaders switch to this kind of behavior when they feel injustice. When it is about subordinates (3) the leaders reported using task-oriented behaviors when dealing with low educated people and relation-oriented behavior when dealing with high educated people. The last category; a power issue (4) is about setting rules and making decisions. In that case leaders reported deviating from their preferred behavior to task-oriented behaviors.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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