Leadership and Organizational Culture

Article excerpt

(This essay is based in part on material drawn from ''Organization Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein,'' a professor of management at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)

MANILA, Philippines - Readers have been studied throughout history and social psychology. One of the pervading findings of sociologists, historians and social psychologists is that what leadership should depend largely on the specific situation, the task to be performed, and the characteristics of the leader's followers.

A main reason why so many different theories on leadership exist is that different researchers focus on different elements. Despite this, we tend to treat leadership in a vacuum instead of specifying what the leader's relationship to the organization is at any given time.

While the nature of organizations will without doubt change in the future, as we already see it happening today, the challenges of creating, building, maintaining, and changing organizations to new forms will basically remain the same.

Creating: The Leader as Animator

Aunique leadership function is to provide the energy required to get the organization off the ground. A lot has been said about the vision of entrepreneurs, but not enough is stated about the enormous energy they display as they try to create innovative approaches one after the other, facing repeated failures, in their efforts to sustain their enterprise.

Building: The Leader as a Creator of Culture

The moment an organization sustains itself, the leader's beliefs, values and basic assumptions are transferred to the mental behavior of its members. The leader's personality becomes embedded in the entire culture of the organization. It imbibes the subordinates to its way of thinking and feeling.

Maintaining: The Leader as a Sustainer of Culture

History has shown that successful organizations attract imitators, who eventually become successful competitors. …