Social psychology and leadership

Leadership psychology courses

The explanations offered often depend implicitly or explicitly on underlying theories of human behaviour. One reason why leaders who are prototypical members of subjectively important groups can be effective is that followers believe that because their identity and that of the group are closely matched, the leaders treat members fairly and must be acting in the best interest of the group, so they are therefore trusted and allowed to be innovative. Eric Hollander coined the term idiosyncrasy credit to describe a transaction in which leaders who initially conform to group norms and therefore serve the group well are subsequently rewarded by the group by being allowed to be idiosyncratic and innovative—key features of effective leadership. This is not surprising. Leaders have enormous influence over their followers—leaders make decisions for their followers and shape the course of their lives and even the type of people they are, and so followers are focused on how effective their leaders are; how they are elected, appointed, and deposed; and whether they lead for good or for evil. Interactionist Perspectives on Leadership However, different situations and different group activities call for different emphases on the task or on relationships—in which case, the relative effectiveness of task-oriented and relationship-oriented leaders may be contingent on properties of the leadership situation. We are speaking here of the social psychology which is a major branch of modern psychology not the field in sociology. One key transactional leadership theory is leader-member exchange LMX theory. It is a science devoted to the study of underlying causality, strongly oriented to abstract basic processes and the laboratory experiment. The key point, however, is that we seek to understand the causal processes which produce such outcomes and judgements. Overall, however, personality does not allow people to differentiate between effective and ineffective leaders very reliably. Autocratic leadership is fast and effective if leader-subordinate relationships are good and the task is well structured. Maybe some leadership behaviors are more effective. There has also been an attempt to identify the different kinds of psychological processes at work in different kinds of leadership and this attempt takes us into the realm of social psychology proper.

Putting things more descriptively, we could say that social psychologists assume that leaders are group members who: exert more influence than others; tend to be seen as more trustworthy, prestigious, valued, credible and fair; and who play the most important role in the group in terms of directing it towards its goals, holding the group together socially and emotionally, and inspiring and motivating members to work towards and live up to a collective vision anchored in a common identity.

It may or may not be the case, for example, that a particular kind of leader or leadership style is more effective than another in some situation but, irrespective of whether leaders are, or turn out to be, effective or not, why do group members follow some people and not others in the first place?

Role congruity theory focuses on gender and leadership. Social identity and self-categorisation theorists have been most vocal in arguing that social psychology must acknowledge the functional interdependence of mind and society in its theorising about the nature of mental processes for example, Turner and Oakes It has tended, since the emergence of the group dynamics tradition, based on the work of Kurt Lewin and others, to think of leadership in terms of relative influence within a group and the leader s as the person, role or subgroup which exerts more influence over the group than others.

characteristics of leadership in social psychology

Researchers, including social psychologists, have looked in an eclectic fashion at just about everything they could think of to do with leadership.

Overall, however, personality does not allow people to differentiate between effective and ineffective leaders very reliably. Personality Attributes of Great Leaders Although leadership is a group process leaders require followersleadership research has a long history of focusing on attributes of leaders alone that make them effective—great leaders.

The argument is that stereotypes of women typically do not match well with schemas of effective leadership, and thus in many leadership situations, women find it difficult to be endorsed as effective leaders.

Because leaders have to relate to many subordinates, they differentiate among them and develop different LMX relationships with different subordinates—the quality of these relationships range from those based on mutual trust, respect, and obligation high-quality LMX relationshipsto those mechanically based on the formal employment contract between leader and subordinate low-quality relationships.

Origin of leadership

Role congruity theory focuses on gender and leadership. The explanations offered often depend implicitly or explicitly on underlying theories of human behaviour. Encyclopedia of leadership. It has tended, since the emergence of the group dynamics tradition, based on the work of Kurt Lewin and others, to think of leadership in terms of relative influence within a group and the leader s as the person, role or subgroup which exerts more influence over the group than others. Researchers, including social psychologists, have looked in an eclectic fashion at just about everything they could think of to do with leadership. Moreover, historically, there has been controversy about how to approach such questions. Effective leadership rests on the development of high-quality LMX relationships with as many subordinates as possible—these relationships motivate followers and bind them to the group. New York: Guilford Press. Maybe some leadership behaviors are more effective. Eric Hollander coined the term idiosyncrasy credit to describe a transaction in which leaders who initially conform to group norms and therefore serve the group well are subsequently rewarded by the group by being allowed to be idiosyncratic and innovative—key features of effective leadership. Higgins Eds. What does social life tell us about the mind, how does the mind make society and social interaction possible, and how is the mind affected by its relationship to social life? They have tried to define who will be leaders and who will not, what leaders do, what functions they serve, how they differ from non-leaders and what kinds of leaders produce what kinds of results in what kinds of situation. What Do Effective Leaders Do?

Hogg, M. When the task is less clear, consultative leadership is best, and when leader-subordinate relations are poor, group decision making is best.

It does not seek primarily to describe or understand social interaction, institutions, or societies in their concrete specificity, but tries to understand the nature of the human mind a mental system not a directly social one at work in social life.

Social psychology and leadership

Stereotypical expectations might affect leadership in two other ways. It does not seek primarily to describe or understand social interaction, institutions, or societies in their concrete specificity, but tries to understand the nature of the human mind a mental system not a directly social one at work in social life. Maybe some leadership behaviors are more effective. One reason why leaders who are prototypical members of subjectively important groups can be effective is that followers believe that because their identity and that of the group are closely matched, the leaders treat members fairly and must be acting in the best interest of the group, so they are therefore trusted and allowed to be innovative. Researchers, including social psychologists, have looked in an eclectic fashion at just about everything they could think of to do with leadership. One reliable distinction that has emerged is between a leadership style that pays more attention to the group task and getting things done task-oriented leadership and one that pays attention to relationships among group members socioemotional leadership. There has also been an attempt to identify the different kinds of psychological processes at work in different kinds of leadership and this attempt takes us into the realm of social psychology proper. There is an incongruity between the attributes of the leadership role and the stereotypical attributes of women. Charisma is central for transformational leadership there is much talk about charismatic or visionary leaders and leadership , which has engaged a debate among scholars a about whether this is a return to older personality perspectives on leadership, and b about how one can distinguish between charisma in the service of evil Slobodan Milosevic and charisma in the service of good Nelson Mandela. Personality Attributes of Great Leaders Although leadership is a group process leaders require followers , leadership research has a long history of focusing on attributes of leaders alone that make them effective—great leaders. A definitive review published in concluded that three of the Big Five personality dimensions are associated with effective leadership: Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness. However, the idea that some people have personalities, however acquired, that predispose them to lead effectively in all situations, whereas others do not, has attracted enormous research attention. People gossip about the boss; airport bookshops bulge with leadership books; current affairs analyzes the actions of leaders; and much of organizational science is about leadership.

Structuring is most effective when followers are unclear about their goals and how to reach them, and consideration is most effective when the task is boring or uncomfortable.

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Psychology and the Study of Leadership