Compare Four Types Of Leadership Theory Management Essay

From 2007 to 2009, the global financial crisis was breaking out. During this period, more and more companies began collapsing and more and more people faced of unemployment. However, there have still many companies have been living. According to analyse, it was found that these companies generally had a good leader who has an excellent leadership. Hence, more and more leaders concern leadership theory. It is to study the factors which a leader can improve his effectiveness of management and production efficiency. It is also one of the most important issues of management theory. Therefore, it as the core of the theory is worth to be considering that what kind of leadership can improve the production. People will divide the leadership theory into four aspects, which are trait theory, behavioural theory, contingency theory and transformational leadership. The aim of this essay is to analyse and compare them to exhibit people the similar and difference about these four types’ theories of leadership.


Firstly, according to the time sequence, it can be find that the research of trait theory began from 1950, the research of behaviour theory began from 1960, the research of contingency theory began from 1970 and the research of transformational leadership began from 1960. It has shown people that with the development of The Times, the research of leadership is expanding and deepening. Secondly, trait theory is aim at research characteristics of personal attributes of a good leader; behaviour theory is concentrate on researching the influence of a leader’s style and behaviour on efficiency; contingency theory purpose is research any work situation in any relative environment which can influence leadership effectiveness; and transformational leadership is emphasize that a visionary leader should encourage subordinates beyond personal interest, in order to promote efficiency. According to analyse it can be found that these four theories have a common feature, that is their purpose of research is to improve efficiency despite their subjects are different. In addition, people can also discover that trait theory and behaviour theory are both devote to purely research the situations about a good leader. However, contingency theory and transformational leadership begin research relative environment and other situations as regards the influence of leadership.

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1. Trait theory and Behaviour theory

Trait theory and behaviour theory both concentrate on personal characteristic and behaviour to promote effectiveness. They need not to consider about other situations, which are excluded from personal leadership.

Trait theory is research the qualities that a leader should have. It is a complicated study that required people must have to consider many aspects which are physical attributes, such as energy, height, appearance; social background, such as social economic status and education; intelligence, such as judgment, decisive force and the depth and breadth of the knowledge; personality, such as flexibility, aggressive, self-confidence, clever, integrity and emotional stability; focus on tasks, such as responsibility, perseverance, working initiative and pay attention to the achievement; social participation, such as communication, friends, participate in various activities and cooperate with the person. In brief, trait theory of leadership is aim at both inherit and training.

Behaviour theory is research how does it can helps people recognize wether their leader styles are efficiency or not. One of the best studies is leadership grid of Blake and Mouton who publish a framework to dimension different styles about concern between people and production. It is displaced people five basic characteristic styles by 1 to 9 notional scales. By studying the five Leadership Grid styles, it can be find that country club management (1, 9) is focusing on positive, satisfying relationship and comfortable aspects of work; Authority-compliance management (9, 1) require operational efficiency comes from production and enforce rules so that ignore human factors; Impoverished management (1, 1) uses a minimum effort and take a passive situation to get work done; middle-of-the-road management (5, 5) acquire balancing both production and people, but may take unnecessary risk; team management (9, 9) is similar with middle-of-the-road management, but more efficiency than it.

According to compare these two theories that they have many difference. Nevertheless, they cannot divide to research. For example, there have a person who named Barack Hussein Obama II, the president of the United Stated. He is considered a good leader by people, because they think him that has some personality traits, such as smart, clear expression ability and attractive, and the important thing is he has political talent. However, exclude these traits, his rich experience and receive good education also training him become a president. His smart help him find his leadership style quickly and govern the country efficiency.

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2. Contingency theory and Transformational leadership

These two theories both concentrate on researching factors of relative environment, which may influence the efficiency of leadership. They base on other two theories to extend the research of leadership. Therefore, they are more objective and profound than trait and behaviour theory. In brief, the core of these theories is research the influence situations between leadership and environment.

Contingency theory is research the factors of different situation have some sort of leadership style is most effective. There have three types of contingency theory, which are Fiedler, Vroom and Yetton, and Path-goal theory. Fiedler’s contingency theory, the key element of influence the leadership is the situations, which include the relationship, task structure and position power between leader and subordinates. Vroom and Yetton contingency theory is thinking the leadership behaviour should be based on the environment change, so the leadership style is divided into three aspects of decision (performance quality, group acceptance, and time for make decision) and seven dimensions (decision of significance, importance of commitment, leader’ specialization, possibility of commitment, groups of supportive, groups of specialization, and the strength of the team). Path-goal theory, developed by House who think the effective leaders should be through the specified path and the way to help the subordinates to realize their work target, and provide support assistance what they lack to fulfil the job objective. Therefore, House puts forward four kinds of leadership behaviour, which are supportive leadership, directive leadership, participative leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership. This theory points out that the leader should be according to the different environmental characteristics to adjust leadership and the attitude.

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Transformational leadership theory is famous known as Burns who describe a leader should encourage subordinates endeavour to attain higher objective. Then it base on this theory to summarize as four aspects, charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, individual consideration. With these factors leaders usually have strong values and directions; and they can successfully encourage employees beyond personal interest, in order to increase the production and improve efficiency.

There have an example about Ryoji Chubachi, president and Electronics CEO of Sony Corporation. After several years ago, the corporation’s achievement had decreased and employees had lost their confidence. Hence, Ryoji began consider how to encourage subordinates to promote the morale and improve the production. He said, “We are now implementing structural reform initiatives that will enable us to provide clear direction, and create a working environment that draws out the unique talents of our employees and helps them achieve their full potential”. In the ultimate, he comprehensive the environment situational factors to made a practical goal, and effort attain this purpose with his staff.


As people see from this essay, it has shown us the similarities and differences about these four types of leadership theory via analyse and compare. Trait theory and Behaviour theory both research the personal characteristic and behaviour, that means a good leader should not only inherit leader characteristic but also training leadership ability, so they can not be divided. While as the research more and more deeply, Contingency theory and Transformational leadership began extend the range of leadership theory. They concentrate on the environment situations of leadership and make the theory become more robust. Nevertheless, an entirety leadership theory consists of the four theories. Because they can supplement each other to make the theory become more complete. As the increase of experience and deeply research, the leadership theory will develop and some other types of theory may be finding to complete it.

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