Understanding the leadership definition and theories

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Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to achieve an objective and directs the organisation in a way that makes them more integrated and logical. Leaders carry out these processes and apply their characteristics, they belief, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills to achieve the goal. Peter Drucker, a renowned management commentator, known for his to the point insight stated that a leader is someone who has a follower. Leadership all has to do with directing. (Buchanan, D and Huczynski, A. 1997, Organizational Behaviour, P 125-128)

Leadership Theories

In the management field, leadership has been described in terms of many theories. It is worth noting that leadership qualities are greatly influenced by the "Great Man" theories: that assumes that the capacity for leadership is inherent; that great leaders are born not made. Other theories are, Trait Theories: Similar to "Great Man" theories, assumes that leaders inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Contingency Theories: A contingency theory of leadership is, there is no ideal personality, nor one best leadership style. It provides the basis for developing people as leaders. The style, followers' qualities, and situation determine success. Situational theories a modern theory, based on task behaviour and that situation determines the course of action a leader takes. Behavioural theories emphasized the function and style of the leader based upon behaviourism belief. A participative leadership theory takes the advice and suggestion from others and find out the solution and then give suggestion.

Decisions Management theories (also known as "Transactional theories") base leadership on a system of reward and punishment and examine the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. Relationship theories (also known as "Transformational theories") show the relationship between leaders and followers.

Leadership may vary, skills may vary, and style may change, however the basic qualities of leadership does not change. Some of the basic leadership qualities are listed below;

Good communication skill



Visionary outlook

Selecting a good team

Action speaks louder than words

Ability to motivate people around

Consistency Ability to stand against critics

(Y Ambekar 2004 Learning Ability P 55 - 58)

What are those things that motivate employees to work? Are they getting job satisfaction? Motivation refers to the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity, and persistence of voluntary behaviour. (Buchanan and Huczynski 1997) define motivation as the internal psychological process of initiating, energising, directing and maintaining goal-directed behaviour and believe.

Douglas McGregor (1906 - 1964), an American social psychologist, a fore-father of management theory and a top business thinker of all time. In 1960, McGregor created and developed Theory X and theory Y based on Maslow's hierarchy HYPERLINK "http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/maslow.html"of needs which grouped the hierarchy into "lower order" (Theory X) needs and "higher order" (Theory Y) needs (Clark, 2000) These are theories of human motivation that are still referred to commonly in the field of organisational behaviour, leadership styles, and human resource management. The theories explain two attitudes toward employee's motivation. According to McGregor; Theory X leadership assumes the following:

Most people are lazy, hate work and will avoid it whenever they can.

Most people are not ambitious, irresponsible

Have counterproductive goals

Selfish and cannot be trusted.

Not very intelligent.

Can be motivated monetarily, followed by assurance of job security

The proponent of this theory use 'authoritarian or hard management' style.

In contrast to, Theory Y leadership assumes the following:

All efforts in work is as natural as play and rest.

Under favourable condition people will readily accept, take and even seek responsibility.

Creative and imaginative

Selfless and committed, do not need to be threatened or punish to work.

Employees can be motivated by high order need.

The proponent of this theory Y uses 'participative or soft management' style.

KBR; an 'X' or 'Y' Theorist in terms of its leadership style

The Y theory on the other hand is most suited for professional organisation like KBR with professionals, experts and high level employees.

The diagram 1.1 shows the 'X' and 'Y' theory.

Figure 1.1

Organization's organisational culture.

Organisation's culture influences the people working for it towards the achievement of a vision or set of goals. (John Kotter, Harvard Business School).An organisation's culture needs to be able to provide opportunities to change things, exercise of initiative and has the ability to facilitate with experiments and correct mistakes. ( M. W. J. and High F. 1998, 'Developing the Next Generation of Leaders'. (Harvard Business School Press) In KBR's organisational culture, clear vision and a vivid picture of where to go is quite obvious, as well as a firm understand on what success looks like and how to achieve it. Just as KBR's organisational structure is designed to deliver its business goals and strategy, the organisational structure of Aspire Defence Services Ltd (ADSL) is designed to reflect the intended outcomes of the project.

Integrity is also prominent in KBR's features of organisational culture. It is the integration of outward actions and inner values. With integrity, the organisation is more approachable by all working with it.

By setting an excellent example, KBR has showed and proved it to all to follow; only dedication and struggle to achieve something are great. Magnanimity that means giving credit where it is due is one of the essentials of KBR's leadership style. As it has been clarified that KBR is structured to deliver the most efficient, high quality service they can to meet their client needs. Employees have specific tasks and different levels of responsibility. In this way KBR are able to develop talent and continually attract the best candidates for positions both within closer/internal and the wider KBR organisation.

( Rhydderch M, Elwyn G, Marshall, M and Grol, R (2004), Organisational change theory and the use of indicators in general practice, Quality and Safety in Health Care P213-217 ).

culture of the organisation impacts

Anthropologist Redfield (1948) defined culture as;

''shared understandings made manifest in act and artifact'' (p.vii). Research project is consistent with the definition used by the world, which examines culture as practices and values. Practices are acts or (the way things are done in this culture) and values are art facts because they are human made.

Schein has written best book on organisational culture, according to him '' Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organisation, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic 'taken for granted' fashion an organisation's view of its self and its environment." and Hofstede defines, "Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values."  ( Dr. Robert J. House, Dr. Paul J. Hanges, Dr. Mansour Javidan, and Peter Dorfman 2004 Culture, Leadership, and Organizations P XII )

Culture theory

Anthropologists Mary Douglas, Michael Thompson, and Steve Rayner, has developed a Grid group culture theory with contributions of political scientists, Aaron Wildavsky and Richard Ellis, and others. It was designed to show how native rituals and practices were relevant to modern society. Thompson offered several suggestions, like;

The compatibility condition.

The impossibility theorem.

The requisite variety condition.

The theory of surprise.

There are also distinct roles and positions within the group with specialisation. There are also different levels of rights, depending on the position. Grid-group cultural theory is also known as grid-group analysis, the theory of socio-cultural viability, or just Cultural Theory (which is often abbreviated to CT).Grid group model: Fatalism, Collectivism, Individualism, and Egalitarianism.

Organisation culture:

The way of shared fundamental assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems. ( Schein, E. 1990. Organizational culture and leadership P373-374) Positive organisational cultures are linked to increased staff alignment that gives in enhanced organizational strategic direction, increases employee efficiency, and competitive level of employee commitment (Barney, 1986).


(Schein, E. (1987). A new vision of leadership: P 19-28). Researched on organisation cultures with culture strength and type the strength and type of culture impact the organisation's success and survival. Leaders should concentrate on developing a strong organisational culture. So, they can support the following; managing change, achieving goals, coordinating team work, and customer orientation in organisation (Schein, E. (1987) A new vision of leadership: P 6-4). Denison, D. 1990 Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness. P54). Stated successful organisations are likely to possess a strong and well-defined culture. Organisational culture must support activities to the mission of the organisation. (Golden, K. 1992 The individual and organizational culture P 1-21)

A leader can change and present the culture of an organisation (Weese, J. 1995. Leadership and organizational culture.P:119-133).

The leader can alter or impact the organisational culture. ( Bryman, A. 1992.Charisma and Leadership in Organisations: P-23).

Cultures impact leaders' vision; they have the ability to get their employees to accept ownership for that vision. (Oakley, E. & Krug, D. 1991) Enlightened Leadership: P78).

Issue of motivation theories, the motivational policies used in the organisation performances.

As we know, there are three basic and successful motivation theories. They are:

Maslow's Theory of Hierarchy of Needs

Hertzberg's Two Theory Model

Vroom's Expectancy Theory of Motivation.

The success behind the KBR and Aspire Defence Services Limited is that it follows the theories and policies defined by Maslow, Hertzberg and Vroom. According to Maslow, the psychological needs have to be met first and follow the hierarchy. These needs are:

1. Psychological (sustenance),

2. Safety (job security),

3. Social (acceptance),

4. Esteem (internal respect /external recognition & reputation) - applied to workforce. (Maslow's Hierarchical theory, Pateo Consulting)

If we review the case study of KBR, we see that all the needs of the employees are being met starting from the basic needs to the job security and the freedom.

Motivation Theories and Policies on Individuals and Organisation's Performance:

From the case study, we observe that at all levels of employment in this Organisation has a huge impact following the motivation Theories. They are:

As a low level staff employee, the individual gets the opportunity to do variety of jobs, make his own decisions and is given the freedom to solve the problems using his own judgement.

Brings good leadership skills with good communication skills and technical competencies

(O-Bass, Bernard 1989. Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership. P-800)

Employees take up challenges and put in their best efforts to achieve the desired outcomes.

Nature of team, its structure and how it has impact on the organisation performances.

KBR has a flat structure team; it has only a few layers within it. In this team there is transparency, easy access of the staff to the Senior Management Team (SMT). Here there are not many managers and intermediaries and because of this it doesn't take too long for the changes to be made and decisions can be made quickly.

From the case study it has also been noted that the Allen /Connaught project for the UK military is moving towards the matrix structure. Here in this structure a team of professionals is created by picking up specialists from all departments across the business.

The Impact of nature of above mentioned structure on the ADSL performances are listed below:

We know that ADSL is presently following the flat structure and it is gradually moving towards the matrix style of working. Where as ADSL has a project based design working for the Allenby/Connaught and this structure suits the organisation as it involves specialists from all departments.

The Employees in the organisation gets the degree of freedom to make his own decisions.

The managers of ADSL are specialists in their departments and are graduates from reputed institutions.

ADSL which is a part of KBR chooses the best candidates for the company and inspire the young graduates to join such a reputed organisation, which gives them the opportunity to show their talent and progress personally.

(Davis, S., Kohlmeyer, James M, 2005 The Impact of Employee Rank on the Relationship between Attitudes, Motivation, and Performance. P 233 -252)

Management ensuring improved results and enhancing the change management process

People Management:

It can be defined as the process of controlling and managing people (individuals) within the organisation. Every organisation has the Human Resource Team which recruits, reviews and rewards the employees depending upon their capabilities and their achievements to benefit the company.

ADSL uses the 'Competency Framework', which was defined for the first time in 1982 by Richard Boyatzis, in his book 'Competent Managers: A Model For Effective Performance', it states that it is the behaviour that employees must have or must acquire to recognise the situation in order to achieve high level of performance.

(Hersey, P.,Blanchard, K. H. & Johnson, D. E. 1996. Management of Organisational Behaviour: P113 -115)

In this organisation, there are predefined set of general management capabilities and job description. The managers within ADSL have to meet the required guidelines as mentioned below:

Be technically competent with a thorough understanding of the area of responsibility.

Provide Strategic and Operational Leadership.

Enhance the capabilities and encourage the employees.

Be Approachable and flexible to ideas

Be loyal and Integrity.

Managers not only bring technical competence but also good interaction with the employees. It gives the examples of the managers like Dan who used to work with Royal Navy wanted a change and joined ADSL for better opportunity.

Change management:

There are three levels of change management, they are

Individual Level

Group Level

Organisational Level

(Field, L. 1997 Impediments to Empowerment & learning with Organisations: P149 -158)

ADSL employs highly qualified and experienced staff who had worked in different environments that are adaptable to different conditions and can handle the pressure and deliver the best at the first time in any kind of situation. This will help in enhancing the change management process and attain the goals in the defined time periods and make profits to the company.

Impact on the organisation's change process.

Macro Organisational Behaviour

This involves the understanding, prediction and control of human behaviour and the factors which influence the performance of people as member of an organisation.

Micro (Individual) Organisational Behaviour

It is also the study of micro behaviour which refers to individual and group of behaviours, patter on structure in order to improve organisation performance and effectiveness. (Barney, J. 1986. Organisational culture: P 656-665).

In KBR each and every employee have the degree of freedom, employees have the specific tasks and clarity in their roles. Company much focus on employee's career development and provides the opportunities to grow. The company values focus on transparency, accountability, financial responsibility and discipline.

Impact on Organisational Change Process

As we already discussed earlier, it is the system that concern with the individual and group behaviours. As early the employees accept it as early the company grow because in this process company change all its processes to compete in the market and up to date as per technological and customers requirement.

Organisation Change process and benefits

Organisational change process is the transitioning of individual, team and organisations from present state to a desired future state. Organisational management change is needed for continuous economic performance and competitiveness new ideas and innovations should not be perceived as threats by members of the organisation.

It can be describe as

New and better services to customers and better appearance

Rest ruction of the business and change its shape with the idea of what the business should do

Improvement of the business works, organizational structural, skills process and technology.

Changing process can be plan and controlled. With Management Process Company can improve,




Customer satisfaction

(Organisation Development Journal, 2009. from Emerald Journals: P 402-404)

It also benefited in management of company new operations, aligns with and supported by the vision, mission & values of the organisation.

Organizational Effectiveness

Determining Criteria of Effectiveness

There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of an organization. Campbell (1977) lists over 30 different criteria from productivity, profits, growth, turnover, stability and cohesion (Scott p. 343). Different theoretical perspectives can account for the diversity in usage of effectiveness measurements.

Rational perspectives emphasize goal attainment and focus on output variables such as quality, productivity, and efficiency. Natural system perspectives focus on the support goals of the organization such as participant satisfaction, morale, interpersonal skills, etc. Open system perspectives focus on the exchanges with the environment -- this includes information processing, profitability, flexibility, adaptability. 

Effectiveness criteria also vary with time, and often subgroups have different effectiveness criteria. 

Also often there are different evaluation criteria applied by those who assign tasks and those who evaluate performance (Scott p. 346). Often effectiveness criteria involve self-interst, are stated as universalistic and objective, and cause conflict and disagreement among subgroups. (Scott p. 348).

Market and Non-market Organizations

Many people emphasize the difference between market and non-market organizations (Scott p. 349). The traditional view is that in properly functioning markets, effectiveness can be readily measured in the marketplace and are directly influenced by customer satisfaction. Fligstein (1990) argues however that markets, like all structures, are socially constructed and vary over time and space, so that conceptions of efficiency or effectiveness also vary. 

Public organizations often operate in non-market conditions. Often this means that there is no direct link between the services an organization provides and the income it gets for providing them (Downs, 1967). Controls over these organizations emphasize control over process than over outcome (Scott p. 350). While there have been attempts to evaluate goverment agencies, it proves very difficult, and there continues to be rising discontent with the performance and responsiveness of public agencies. Many of these services have been "privatized" and contracted out to independent businesses. 

High Reliability Organizations

Complex organizations that require a high level of reliability are vulnerable to "normal accidents" (Perrow, 1984), inevitable failures due to the overly complicated and tight control mechanisms in some organizations. 

Assessing Effectiveness

To evaluate peformance, criteria must be selected and then work sampled and compared to developed standards (Scott . 352). 

Setting Standards

Cyert and March (1963) use an aspiration level perspective and argue that organizational goals are a function of previous goals, experience with these previous goals, and other organization's experience with these previous goals. Thompson (1967) notes that the appropriate effectivess criteria depends on how clear the standards and cause-effect relationships are known. 

Selecting Indicators

There are three basic types of indicators-- those based on outcomes, on processes, and on structures (Scott p. 353). 


Outcomes focus on materials or objects on which the organization has performed some operation (Scott p. 353). These are the most common effectiveness measurements, but can be the most difficult to define and measure and are not immune to ambiguity and measurement error.


Process measures assess effort rather than effect (Scott p. 355). Some measure work quantity or quality. Though they are in some respects a more pure measurement of organizational performance, they are an assessment of conformity of a given objective that can be decoupled from output performance (and ultimately survival itself). Substituting process criteria for outcome criteria can compromise service in some situations though.


"Structural indicators assess the capacity of the organization for effective performance" (Scott p. 357). These are often include organizational features (equipment age or type) or participant characteristics (degree attained, liscensing, etc.). Structural indicators form the basis for accreditation reviews and licensing systems, those these criteria can displace the goals of the organization sometimes.

Selecting Samples

Selecting samples requires proper definition of the organizations, it's work, and it's ultimate organizational goals. Is the organization doing things right, and is it doing the right things? 

Participants, Constituents, and Measures

We would expect different groups to prefer different measures Organizational managers may emphasize structural features because they are more under their control. We would expect workers to emphasize process measurements. Clients and customers will naturally focus on output measurements (meets, needs and expectations, promptness, courtesy, sensitivity, etc.). It seems there is a bias in the literature toward structure and process measurements. 

Explaining Effectiveness

Because many of the proposed measures of effectiveness are negatively correlated, we shouldn't expect to "find general explanations that will distinquish effective from ineffective organizations" (Scott p. 360). Given the complexity of organizations, we shouldn't find a simple set of factors that accout for effectiveness either. Much of the popular management literature indentifies simple factors that only partially explain effectiveness (and thus the prescriptions based on them are only partly effective as well).

Scott notes that "we are too often in thralldom before a general principle, applying it mindlessly to situations whose complexity swamps whatever truth might have been revealed by a more thoughtful approach. Let us not be misunderstood. We need the guidance of general principles". But we also require sufficiently detailed knowledge of the organizations and their technologies and environments to be able to select valid indicators of the variables to be assessed."

Ultimately, organizational effectiveness is not based only one path nor purely on technical, rational processes, but also a function of sociology and politics. 

Recommendations for future improvement.

In today's tough business environment of rising costs, increased regulation and stiff competition, firms in almost all sectors including the construction sector are under mounting pressure to find new ways to grow. Complicating this has been a growing list of regulatory requirements in countries around the world that further add to their cost burden and slow speed-to-market. (Laurie J.Mullins. 2002. Management & organizational Behaviour, 8th edition, P 837)

KBR's vision should always include be a leading business giant that delivers long-term, sector-leading services and profit growth for the company itself. Key elements of its strategy needs to be always included: developing world-class, low cost sourcing capabilities that enable the KBR to deliver even greater value to customers, and delivering end-to-end solutions that give its customers/clients convenient ways to get the services of the company.

The corporate objective of the KBR should be to deliver sustainable returns for all its stakeholders. It essentially needs aiming to deliver growth in total shareholder return that not only matches but also surpass the top quartile of comparable listed companies/competitors over the medium to long-term. KBR might better aim to achieve this by delivering services, sales and profit growth throughout the world, supported by investment programmes that give returns in excess of the cost of capital. We recognise that these objectives can be affected in the short-term by external economic, social and political factors. However, we believe that consistent investment in businesses with competitive advantage will provide sustainable returns to stakeholders.

The KBR should always be strengthened with a firm belief in achieving its greatest potential and value by becoming independent businesses. Increase in the cost of projects primarily because of the hike in prices of raw materials, interest rates and transportation costs may pose a challenge to the company. In the present times of recession, the increased costs might depress sales for the company along with affecting the top-line and bottom-line. Furthermore, KBR should keep its focus increasingly diverted towards innovation, new designs and maintenance of its services quality in order to keep its customers/client base intact. In order to maintain its success, creativity and research for higher quality should lie at the core of KBR' projects development policy. Feed back from clients and employees, good salaries packages coupled with bonus incentives for the employees, using clients data can be of great help for KBR.

KBR's markets are expected to continue to be highly competitive. Its leading market position, together with its successful formats should always be successful in representing attractive opportunities for its staffs as well as its clients to stay successful against its competitors. By maintaining the strengths of its businesses and by delivering on its strategy for growth, the KBR needs always struggling utmost hard and keep continue to strengthen its competitive position.

The KBR's market-leading position means it has the scale of merchandise procurement that has enabled it to develop important and long-term relationships with clients, utilising KBR's services both on individual or collective levels. This leads to enhanced cost benefits and the ability to source exclusive products/services or to obtain advantageous quantities/qualities of services that are in supply.


KBR is a quality organisation that success in their excellent business in the market. According to the case study; we have explored how successful of KBR in their organisational management and behaviour. Open management style makes the organisation possessed with the ability to listen to all concerned with the organisation at all levels. The KBR's leadership style emphasis on motivational leadership, the ability to motivate people and get the best out of them.

The success behind the KBR and Aspire Defence Services Limited is that it follows the theories and policies defined by Maslow, Hertzberg and Vroom.

From the case study it has also been noted that the Allen /Connaught project for the UK military is moving towards the matrix structure.

In KBR each and every employee have the degree of freedom, employees have the specific tasks and clarity in their roles. Company much focus on employee's career development and provides the opportunities to grow. The company values focus on transparency, accountability, financial responsibility and discipline.

In order to keep improving in the future industry, we have some recommendation for KBR.

KBR should keep its focus increasingly diverted towards innovation, new designs and maintenance of its services quality in order to keep its customers/client base intact. And KBR also needs to be always developing world-class, low cost sourcing capabilities that enable to deliver even greater value to customers, and delivering end-to-end solutions that give its customers/clients convenient ways to get the services of the company.