Analyzing Problems in Schools and School Systems: A Theoretical Approach

By Alan Kibbe Gaynor | Go to book overview

8
Leadership Theory

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

-- Machiavelli ( 1513/ 1942, p. 24)


AN OVERVIEW OF THE THEORY

As much has been written about leadership in one aspect or another as about any other dimension of organizational and administrative theory, with the possible exception of bureaucracy. Comprehensive reviews of the literature include the original classic by Stogdill ( 1974), updated by Bass ( 1981). More concise, but highly informative reviews have also been done by House and Baetz ( 1979), and Jago ( 1982). Other significant reviews include those by Cartwright and Zander ( 1968), Fiedler and Chemers ( 1974), Filley, House, and Kerr ( 1976), Immegart ( 1988), McCall ( 1976), and Schriesheim, House, and Kerr ( 1976). At the date of this writing, the latest and most comprehensive compendium of leadership theory and research is the third edition of what is now called Bass & Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership ( Bass, 1990). As Bass stated in the preface to this work, significant changes have occurred since 1981 in the substance and methods of research on leadership:

The treatment of leadership as a phenomenon in organizational and social psychology has broken out of its normal confinement to the study of the behaviors seen previously mainly in leader-group interactions in the field and laboratory. Cognitive science has provided the freedom to explore leader-follower thoughts and feelings. Organizational science has increased the sophistication of examinations of leadership that are contingent on the context in which leadership occurs. Political science has provided new objective insights into the contrasts of leadership, politics, and administration. Throughout this third edition, the contributions from cognitive social psychology and the social, political, communications, and administrative sciences have been expanded. Methodology has become more sophisticated. More field and longitudinal studies have appeared, along with many helpful meta-analyses. Culture and environment, both inside and outside the organization have taken on a renewed prominence. (p. xi)

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