Leader-Member Exchange and Transformational Leadership in Chaos and Complexity

Leader-Member Exchange and Transformational Leadership in Chaos and Complexity

Çağlar Doğru (Ufuk University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0148-0.ch019


Since the attribution model of leadership, a long way has been made in the literature of leadership. The newest approach to leadership against the ‘average leadership model', is the leader-member exchange model of leadership (Dienesch and Liden, 1986). Furthermore, being a very attractive topic in leadership transformational leadership is gaining more and more importance. In addition to all these, today's chaotic and complex environment has made changes to organizational mechanisms and relations. As a high need of analyzing leadership in these constructions, here one of the most important issues in leadership literature which are, leader-member exchange and the concept of transformational leadership will be analyzed throughout chaos and complexity. The aim of this chapter is drawing a conceptual framework of leader-member exchange and transformational leadership from the perspective of chaos theory and complexity.
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Exploring Chaos Theory

Investigating the origin of chaos theory, it can be understood that it emerged out of the field of biology in contrast to the Newtonian paradigm, which was tied to the fields of physics and math. (Tetenbaum & Laurence, 2011) Lorenz, while working on weather systems, have made contributions for the ‘Chaos Theory.’ According to him chaotic systems have been defined as: ‘Processes that appear toproceed according to chance, even though their behaviour is in fact determined by precise laws’ (Lorenz 1993) After deveploping a really simple meteorological model which based on differential equations, Lorenz worked this prospective model on his computer, discovering a very small difference in the beginning circumstances which led to prospective changes in the weather predicted by his own model over time (Pritchard, 1996).

The basis for the new science of chaos theory asserts that the environment is full of randomness and uncertainty. While the environment is characterized by surprise, rapid change and confusion and seems mostly out of control. If the meaning of chaos is analayzed, the word itself is not anarchy or randomness. Surprisingly, chaos is order, but it is the invisible order. And also chaos is not merely the result of noise or interference, or even insufficient kowledge. Chaos implies inherent “uncertainty principle’’ not like how we perceive the world but like how the world actually works (Cartwright, 1991).

Based on the stable equilibrium and periodic bahavior, the chaos theory has been widely used in many interrelated disciplines. As the chaos theory was derived form the studies in the field of nonlinear dynamics, social scientists have widely used these nonlinear dynamics in their researches. The reason is that chaos theory provides the basis for understanding the uncertainities and unpredictable figures of social sciences. One of them is especially social sciences. (Kiel & Elliot, 1997) As the scope of this reading section is about leadership, it will be understood deeply that chaos theory is also correlated with leadership studies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Out-Group Membership: A type of leader-member exchange quality in which this group members generate weak relationships with the leader and miss the valuable resources given by the leader.

Transformational Leadership: A leadership sytle which the leader is attached to identify the need of change and with the motivation and inspiration to establish the guidelines for implementing the change through vision.

Transactional Leadership: A leadership style which tends to keep situational factors constant and focus on the role of supervision and transaction based rewards and punishments directed towards the followers.

Chaos Theory: The theory that emerged from mathematics and used widely by other disciplines which concentrates on the dynamical systems.

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX): The theory which studies the relationships between group members and the leader referring higher quality exchanges with the in-group members than the out-group members.

In-Group Membership: A type of leader-member exchange quality in which this group members generate close relationships with the leader and get the valuable resources that the leader is capable of maintaining.

Complexity Theory: The theory which studies complex systems as well as nonlinear and dynamical systems.

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