LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS: PAST PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH
Robert J. House University of Pennsylvania
Philip M. Podsakoff Indiana University
Although systematic research into the topic of leadership is a product of the twentieth century, interest in identifying the properties that make leaders effective is almost as old as recorded history. Indeed, Bass and Stogdill ( Bass, 1990) noted that discussions relating to leadership and leadership effectiveness can be found in the Greek and Latin Classics, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the writings of ancient Chinese philosophers, and in early Icelandic sagas. Part of the fascination with the topic of leadership undoubtedly relates to our desire to understand why it is that some men or women are more effective than others at leading groups, organizations, and/or societies. However, another more practical reason for the interest in leadership may be our desire to improve our ability or that of others to become more effective leaders in organizations.
The goal of this chapter is to examine some of the theory and research on the topic of leadership effectiveness. We begin our analysis by first providing a definition of leadership. This is followed by an examination of some of the past and present views on the topic. However, given the space limitations, our primary focus is to provide a discussion of important recent theoretical developments in the leadership domain that we believe will serve as the basis for future research.
Given the amount of attention devoted to the topic of leadership, one might expect that there is common agreement on its definition. However, this is not the case, and as noted by Stogdill ( 1974), there appear to be almost as many