Introduction

Introduction

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2277-5.ch001
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1.2 Status Quo Of Leadership Research In General

The development of leadership theories and leadership styles has been come across several prominent stages. Such development and the research on the development and evolution of leadership theories and practices are itself a refection and miniature of the social and economic development of the world. As early as at the turn of the 1950s, trait theory was very popular in this research field. Trait theory is trying to identify either a common or universal set of characteristics that distinguishes between:1) Leader – Follower; 2) Effective leader - Ineffective leader. As its main theme suggests the fatal weakness of trait theory is trying to pinpoint universal leadership characteristics. Between 1950s and 1970s, behavioral theory was dominant in the research of leadership styles. The main features of this theory is trying to identify various leadership styles and try to find a general most effective leadership style across all situations. (Bass, 1981; Kerr et al.1974). The drawback of this leadership in general was a simple-minded approach. Since 1980s, in the field of leadership research, there emerged contingency theory which features in 1). Focusing on the dynamic interplay among the leaders, the followers and the situations in which both find themselves (Bass, 1981; Yukl, 1981); 2). Focusing on not only how the leader behaves, but also how the situation and context shape the leaders activities (Bell & Chase, 1995).

The drawbacks of contingency theory are also obvious. To be specific, in this development stage, it ignores the broader managerial roles which leaders must perform; it also ignores the fact that leadership is inherently a process of interpersonal influence.

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