Organizational Leadership Theory Taxonomy

Published: 2020-11-26 13:27:59
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The term, Taxonomy stems from two Greek words, Taxis, which simply refers to an arrangement, and nomos, which refers to law (Bass & Riggio, 2006, p.67). There are different definitions of this word, taxonomy, depending on diverse scholarly fields. However, the general meaning implies an arrangement or evaluation of a specific presumption or premise. This hence leads to the definition of Organizational Leadership Theory Taxonomy; it is the study and evaluation of various presumptions or theories for organizational management. Leadership theories cover various traits and behavioral characteristics that are pertinent in leadership. Different scholars have formulated numerous leadership theories and models, which differ depending on their primary variables. This is essay is a comprehensive organizational leadership theory taxonomy of four theories; situational theory, contingency leadership theory, transformational leadership and servant leadership theory.

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Situational Leadership Theory

Hersey and Ken Blanchard, the founders of this theory, argued that leadership cannot be standardized. As explained by McCleskey (2014), these two scholars believed that managers should learn to treat each leadership situation separately from the other, in order to attain efficiency. This is based on the fact that different leadership scenarios are influenced by dissimilar variables, hence the need to engage adaptability in management. This theory assigns either of the two variables, supportive or directive behavior, to leaders according to their traits and functional abilities. Hersey and Blanchard formulated four management styles that are dependant on the magnitude of a leaders supportive or directive behavior. They are; delegation, coaching, supporting and directing. A leader is expected to employ the use of these four leadership models depending on the characteristics of his or her followers.

Followers are evaluated based on their task and psychological maturity. Task maturity, in this case, simply refers to the proficiencies of a follower and abilities to effectively deliver on work. On the other hand, psychological maturity is defined as the willingness and attitude of a follower to perform tasks when assigned. Situational leadership theory hence requires leaders to take time and evaluate their employees and determine their level of attitude, and then adjust to fit into the maturity level of the staff (Martynov, 2009). A novice staff will require coaching and support, while one who has started advancing will need more direction than coaching. Delegation involves very little support and directions, and hence it is only suitable for employees that have started mastering as certain task. It helps boost their sense of importance and sharpen their experience. As McCleskey (2014) argues, the leader should not try to force a change in the maturity of the employee, but rather adjust his behavior to fit into the employees level in a manager than will effectively manage personnel to produce optimum results.Contingency Leadership Theory

There is some similarity between situational and contingency theory. The developers of this theoretical model, Fiedler and Chemers explain that the traits of a leader are highly dependent on the behavior of the followers (Lunenburg, 2010). This means that there is no specific leadership style that is ideal, but rather each situation calls for a unique leadership technique. This model asserts that the members of a leadership team, the structure of the role at hand and the position power in relation to the least preferred co-workers determine the leadership style that prevail in any given context. Identifying the Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) is usually the first step of using this model (Northouse, 2013). One is supposed to think about any person they have worked with in the past resulting to the least memorable moment.

Fielder, based, on his belief that leadership is fixed and that it can be measured developed a scale that is supposed to be used ones feelings about the LPC in an attempt to find out ones leadership style. See appendix 1. Using the scale, a leader will rate the LPC and add up the scores at the end of the test. A high score indicates that the leader is relation-ship oriented, while a low score is a sign of a task oriented leader. According to Fielder, as cited by McCleskey (2014), relationship-oriented leaders give their LPC high scores because they view them positively. Such leaders are very good at managing employee relations, solving conflicts and maintaining a calm working environment. On the other hand, task-oriented leaders rate their LPC with low score because they view them negatively. As cited by Northouse (2013), these leaders are the best when it comes to completing tasks, organizing groups and creating a powerful force for meeting the goals and objectives of the organization. Because of these two divergent personalities, task-oriented leaders would make better managers in situations that require optimum production of work, while relationship-oriented managers are good at making critical and strategic management decisions (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 2011). For both situations, however, high power, high levels of trust from the team and knowledge in handling tasks are highly preferred.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a management model that focuses of leading people by making them to adopt and believe in the goals and objectives of the organization (Bass & Riggio, 2006). It concentrates of managing people in a manner that will eventually change their behavior and transform according to the desires of the leader. It was first developed by Victor Dowton in the year 1973. As Grenway (2011) argues, the major concerns of this model include the ability to inspire and motivate employees, as well as, help them understand the vision at hand and pursue it. Bass and Riggio (2006) purports that this model seeks to improve the commitment and consequently performances of the followers by helping them explore their full potentials. Such leaders have perfected the art of convincing their staffs to lay down their personal goals for the sake of the success of the firm. However, as purported by McCleskey (2014), transformational leaders do not just ask their employees to leave their personal goals, but rather compensates them by elevating them through the five levels of Maslows hierarchy of needs.

It is essential for transformational leaders to develop unique attributes for leading people in the desired direction with a minimum level of conflict. Northouse (2013) stipulates that most transformational managers have great charm, and a high thinking capacity. They are easily able to pinpoint the likes and dislikes of a person after interacting with them for a short while. This stunning ability enables them to know the kind of motivation and inspirational techniques that will be most effective in winning the trust and respect of their followers. Transformational leaders are hence notorious for cultivating change and renovating the traits and culture of the company. It is hence common to find followers trying to imitate the behavior of such leaders because they are considered admirable and intellectually superior.

Experience as a Transformational Leader

A personal experience, I will Insert 1 2 paragraphs.

Servant Leadership Theory

Servant Leadership Theory was coined in the year 1970 by Greenleaf. As cited by McCleskey (2014), this theory expects leaders to serve others rather than sit and wait to be served. Incidentally, servant leaders lay down their own goals for the larger interests of the organization and their followers. Such leaders place great emphasis on values like personal development of their members and the unity of their followers. Servant leaders, as (Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman (2011) put it, are likely to engage in a lot of corporate social responsibilities since they value their environment and the entire community that hosts them. Unlike the traditional manger, these leaders distribute power across the organization and mentor other leaders to come up strongly and grow successful. McCleskey (2014) cites that Robert Greenleaf in his second article, The Institution as a Servant, was utterly convinced that this type of leadership can change the entire world and make it a better place, if it were adopted by various leaders from across the globe.

Researchers have compiled several characteristic that make up servant leaders. They include the ability to carefully listen to followers, have empathy on their team, advice and educate, as well as, persuade their followers. They are people who know how to best approach and talk to people in a friendly manner. They are also able to foresee the outcome of different actions before pursuing them, as Northouse (2013) elaborates. One of their greatest strengths is the ability to effectively conceptualize the aims and goals of the firm into strategies that fulfill both the needs of the organizations and those of the workers therein. These type of leaders are most preferred in organizations that require good people management.

Experience as Servant Leader

A personal experience, I will Insert 1 2 paragraphs.


It is without doubt that leadership is an essential factor for the success of an organization. Without good leadership, even the most proficient employees or rather team members cannot produce peak results. A good manager is always required to organize, and lead his team effectively for success. Although some leaders have the natural flair for managing people, it is recommended that all leaders should familiarize with the various management and leadership models so that they can build their skills along proven and well structured models.


Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership (2nd ed.). New York: Psychology Press.

Grenway, B. (2011). The Relationship Between Employee Motivation and Job Satisfaction of African-American Human Service Employees. Michigan: Proquest.

Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. ( 2011). The Motivation to Work. London: Transaction Publishers.

Lunenburg, F. C. (2010). Leader-Member Exchange Theory: Another Perspective on the Leadership Process. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 13(1), 1-5.

Martynov, A. (2009). Agents or stewards? Linking managerial behavior and moral development. Journal of Business Ethics, 90(2), 239-249.

McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, Transformational, and Transactional Leadership and Leadership Development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117-130.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice. New York: Sage Publications.

Appendix 1

Figure 1 Retrieved from:

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