November 3, 2009

Comparison of Leadership styles of Business Administration and Public Administration

1.0 Brief Background

According to Antonakis, et al, leadership is fundamental for effective organizational and social functioning. The very nature of leadership is its influencing process and its resultant outcomes. Such process is determined by the leaders and followers characteristics, dispositions, behaviour perceptions, attributions and the context wherein the process of influencing occurs. The moral purpose of leadership is to create an empowered follower that leads to moral outcomes that are achieved through moral means (2004, p. 5). As a universal activity, leadership refers to purpose-driven that result in changes that are based on values, ideals, visions, symbols and emotional exchanges.

There are two theories on leadership that shape leadership aspect of most organisations of today as transactional and transformational theories. Transactional theory is also known as management theory. The transactional nature of leadership deals with the task-oriented leaders. They tend to focus on role of supervision, operations and group performance in achieving finite goals. A system of reward and punishment is the basis of this theory; hence, the relationship is very dependent. Many economists believed that the integration of transactional with the transformational leadership is more favorable instead of just substituting the former with the latter (Martin, 2006, p. 47).

Transformational leadership, also refer to as relationship theory, builds upon the connection between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders have a strong sense of mission and an ability to influence subordinates. They lead the group from "what is" to "what is describable" to "what ought to be". The main functions of transformational leaders are idealized leadership, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration (Martin, 2006).

2.0 Problem Statement

Leadership styles and practices in commercial context receive significant attention in the literature but limited on the comparisons of business-centered and public-administered organisations. The advantages and disadvantages as it applies to government organisations and other commercial competitive businesses and multinationals are not known. Leadership is one of the most pressing issues and one of the least understood concepts in the corporate world. If this is the status of leadership within the paradigm which it was originally created and developed what more on alternative settings. The key question to be answered is: How is leadership is practiced in business-centered and public-administered organisations? Other research questions are:

1) What are the roles and qualities of leaders in business-centered and public-administered organisations?

2) Under what circumstances leadership styles can influence the performance of business-centered and public-administered organisations?

3) To what extent does leadership styles in an organisation has an influence on employees?

3.0 Study Objectives

The main aim of this study is to identify major differences on leadership practices in terms of their effect on performance and service delivery efficiency and recommendations on possible improvements or changes between government organisations and commercial business setting. One of the objectives of this research is to investigate various leadership practices and strategies in business-centered and public-administered organisations and to determine the commonly used style of leadership. Another objective is to draw conclusions and to provide benchmark practices on leadership styles in business-centered and public-administered organisations. Other objectives would be:

1) To outline the qualities of the leaders that generally affects performance of business-centered and public-administered organisations

2) To distinguish conditions and situations that leaders contribute to such performance

3) To analyse the degree of influence of leadership styles on business-centered and public-administered organisations operations

4.0 Methodology

The research will be approached based on an interpretivism view. Interpretivism is the necessary research philosophy for this study because it allows the search, of the 'details of the situation, to understand the reality or perhaps a reality working behind them. It is necessary to explore the subjective meanings motivating people's actions in order to understand their actions.

The study will be exploratory in nature because it aims to determine the present facts as well as facts that are not yet explored about the phenomenon. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. It will look into the problem by exploring the views of different sets of respondents, as well as by exploring different literatures related with the study.

Primary and secondary research will be conducted in the study. In primary research, the study will survey leaders and employees for the purpose of determine various leadership styles within business-centered and public-administered organisations. A structured questionnaire will be developed and it will be used as the survey tool for the study. It is planned that the questionnaire will have a 5 point Likert Scale, as well as ranking questions.

Questionnaires will be used as the survey instrument. The questionnaires will be divided into two parts, the first part being demographic profile and the second part on the basis of strong leadership characteristics. Strong leadership includes aspect of personal credibility, clear expectations, clear communication, engagement and involvement, develop people and team, responsible and accountable, manage change and recognition.

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