Saturday, 16 April 2011

Leadership & Motivation

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Management Style

Discussions of which management style if the most effective date at least from Confucius who in 500BC attempted to persuade the feudal kingdoms of ancient China that the effective leader should be humane, benevolent and just. The first Emperor of China, Chin Shih Huang Ti, 00 years later expressed his disagreement with the idea by having 460 Confucian monks beheaded.

For many years, the search was made for the ideal traits of a leader. The Great Man approach involved studying leaders of proven excellence and attempting to identify what they had in common. However, in the 140s, after an extensive review of more than 100 trait studies, Stogill concluded that

the qualities, characteristics and skills required in a leader are determined ... by the demands of the situation ...

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The work of Rensis Likert, in the Michigan Studies, was directed at ascertaining what conditions would bring about the greatest productivity of workers. In some ways, this was similar to the intent and methods of the Hawthorne Studies.

Both studies indicate that physical elements of management seem to have little effect upon (increased) motivation and commitment. (This was later demonstrated even more powerfully by Frederick Herzberg with his distinction between hygiene and motivating factors.) The conclusion of these studies is that the way that the manager acts has the most powerful effect on motivation.

In another famous study, carried out by Shartle (156) and usually referred to as the Ohio State Studies, these conclusions were codified into a distinction between two factors -initiating structure and consideration. Today, these independent variables are more often called a concern for production and a concern for relationships (Robert R Blake), or task orientation and relationships orientation (Bill Reddin). However, when taken together they produce what are called management styles.

In this simple model, the styles are described by whether they manifest a high or low orientation towards (concern for) relationships or task. Models put forward by Robert R Blake, Hersey, Kenneth Blanchard and Bill Reddin essentially use this four box model.

Robert R Blake is taken to be saying that High R, High T is best.

Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard overlay a fascinating development curve on the model which indicates the maturity of staff, so that the best style moves from Low R, High T, through High R, High T, thence to High R, Low T, and finally to Low R, Low T (delegation).

Bill Reddin uses three layers of the basic model. (Hence the name -D theory.) He shows how each style can be appropriate, neutral or inappropriate dependent upon the situation. However, in many ways, these differences are differences of explanation and application.

The latest thinking, stemming first from Rick Roskin in Canada, and reaching its full development from Robin Stuart-Kotze in Ireland, posits a third orientation. In Robin Stuart-Kotzes terms - a concern for system. He also distinguishes between leadership (value adding) and stewardship (value protecting) behaviours and indeed negative behaviours - called energy loss - which diminish value.

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