How is leadership style tied to management theories? Explain your answer.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The historical and the modern theories of management, although different in terms of needs-bases and philosophical foundations, are similar in that they both advocate for the standardization and measurement of tasks.

The standards serve as a rubric that states expectations, procedures, requirements, and direction. The measurement will estimate the impact of the standards on the workforce and, in turn, the impact of the workforce in the organization. A bad score in quality assurance, financial gain, and influence in the market (in the case of businesses) reverts back to the workforce, particularly, the leadership.

Modern management theories include:

  • systems theory
  • contingency theory
  • chaos theory

A manager who follows the systems model will task a variety of members of the workforce to assess and analyze all the aspects of the organization. The leader will also request reports, suggestions, and specific projects within each different area within the organization to keep up a momentum by allowing everyone to work as an essential part of a whole system. An example of a systems leader is a manager at a super-chain, such as Kmart or Walmart. Big organizations and corporations need the consistency of reports made by submanagers that diversify the many tasks required.

The contingent leader lacks the consistency and solidity of the systems leader because latter must have a detailed action plan to evaluate the different working parts of the system. However, the contingent leader waits for changes to occur to revisit goals and rearrange plans. For example, someone working with the money market definitely has to watch for trends and patterns in the market to re-assign duties and assess gains and loses.

The chaotic leader basically "goes with the flow" because the theory states that, as the world becomes more equipped with technology, more accessible due to communication changes, and yet more unstable in terms of finances, the chances of succeeding or failing are impossible to be controlled. The variables of success change as the world changes; it would depend on a number of factors, some very hard to control, to determine the outcomes.

All this being said, leadership style depends entirely on which management theory the leader chooses to embrace. Many times leaders are either not educated or experienced enough to understand what management theory entails. Some leaders inherit their positions for whatever reasons. Therefore, the leader with more knowledge about management theory will more than likely understand what is at stake when being in charge of a large, complicated group.