• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Leaders are born not made. To what extent is this saying justified by current research evidence?'

Extracts from this document...


'Leaders are born not made. To what extent is this saying justified by current research evidence?' The phenomenon of leadership is one of the most extensively researched management processes, and inevitably effective leadership plays a fundamental role in the success of any organisation. The fact that no single style of leadership has been found to be universally effective, suggests not every leader exhibits the same type of leadership behaviour. It is possible that this is a result of leaders' personal choices, or due to innate genetic factors, giving rise to the view that 'leaders are born not made'. Being a leader and leadership itself are however, two very different concepts. Fielder (1995) defined a leader as a person who is "appointed, elected, or informally chosen to direct and co-ordinate the work of others in a group". In contrast, leadership is more of a process, and can be considered to be a combination of personal qualities, behaviours and styles adapted by the leader. It is therefore possible that not all leaders will possess effective leadership skills and attributes. With reference to the statement leaders are 'born not made', it may be that people are born with certain predispositions i.e. ...read more.


This development enables leaders to adapt their leadership attributes to context-dependant situations i.e. task function or social-emotional function. This interaction suggests that transformational leadership builds on transaction exchanges (e.g., "augmentation hypothesis" Avolio & Bass, 1995), and may therefore not be mutually exclusive (Bryman, 1992). Bass (1985) developed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) to assess the different leadership styles, and to investigate the relationship between these styles, work effectiveness and satisfaction. He integrated the transformational and transactional approaches, by recognising that both styles may be linked to the achievement of desired goals and objectives. Within this reasoning, any given manager may be both transactional and transformational. Questions in the MLQ assess the four components of transformational leadership, two components of transactional leadership and laissez-faire leadership. Research findings have suggested a high intercorrelation between transformational factors and contingent reward. Den Hartog et al (1997) found correlations of 0.61 to 0.75 between components of transformational leadership, in ratings of 700 leaders from eight Dutch organisations. Similarly Geyer and Steyrer (1998) also report very high correlations (0.69 to 0.75) in their sample of over 1,400 employees in 20 Austrian banks. ...read more.


Research into transformational and transactional leadership, suggests that effective leadership may be achieved through a combination of innate and learnt, personality and behavioural characteristics. It may be that individuals are 'born' with genetic predispositions, which need to be shaped by experience to develop effective leadership qualities. Personality or intelligence alone may not be enough, as leaders need flexibility for context-dependent leadership styles as shown in Fielder's Contingency Model (1967). It may be that personality and intelligence are genetically based, but there is potential for them to be influenced by environment, and for individuals to become flexible in their behaviour without compromising their personality and values. This may enable leaders to be more adaptable, and adopt a variety of context-dependent leadership styles i.e. person-orientated (transformational), task-orientated (transactional). In hindsight, it is therefore true that to an extent, leaders are both 'born' and 'made'. Leaders may be born with genetic personality and intellectual predispositions, which give them the potential to become effective leaders. However, it appears to be the development of these predispositions through life experiences and influences, which enables them to achieve effective leadership qualities. It is therefore an interrelation of both genetics and learning, which builds a multi-dimensional leadership approach (Bass, 1998; Yukl, 1998), which creates great leaders. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Management Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Management Studies essays


    Findings over recent years supported that at least half our traits are inherited. In other words, some people are born with the characteristics of a leader while some people are not. People born with these characteristics made them outstanding among other people and followers usually want their leader contains these traits.

  2. Leadership Theories - this review seeks to determine which theoretical perspectives, theories and schools ...

    Interpersonal Complexity leadership "an interactive system of dynamic, unpredictable agents that interact with each other in complex feedback networks, which can then produce adaptive outcomes such as knowledge dissemination, learning, innovation, and further adaptation to change" (Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber, 2009: 430).

  1. General Management - organisation, leadership and theories.

    Division of work. Managerial and technical works are amenable to specialization to produce more and better work with the same amount of effort. Unity of direction. Similar activities in an organization should be grouped together under one manager. Scalar chain.

  2. Comparing Leadership styles of Western and Asian Managers.

    deliver th? best services, whilst sustaining th? human efforts which will ultimately achieve th? outcomes desired; in other words, t? achieve 'best practice'. Leadership is th? process by which individuals' effectiveness is increased, whilst at th? same time maintaining, if not increasing, motivation, job-related satisfaction and other forms ?f psychological well-being.

  1. Leaders are made not born. Discuss this statement with references to theories of leadership. ...

    At least half our personalities are what they are due to environmental influences (Sorenson, 1999), including what we learn by observing others or are taught by our parents as children. Throughout the past several decades, researchers have established a series of theories to explain the concept of leadership and the characteristics behind it.

  2. Leadership styles and different communication styles.

    The $6 fee was decided upon because it was $1 higher than the fee for diners club. (Massengill, 1999, p.250). Accomplishing the launch on time was a Herculean feat, and it was not without its drawbacks. One senior executive at the time said, "We have made every mistake we could

  1. All leaders differ in the way they implement their leadership. Two leaders selected for ...

    His public speaking skills were so powerful in influencing those who listened, that Batista government allowed him to publish his words, but was not allowed to speak them in public. Castro displayed a transformational leadership style as he was able to influence his followers' values, ethics, standards and long-term goals at a deep emotional level.

  2. Critically evaluate historical, classical and contemporary approaches to leadership theory.

    Building and reinforcing skills like leadership, resiliency and adaptability of change 6. Minimization of any severity of any affect. 7. The desired goals are met by changes within the limitation of time and budget. 8. The application of the method of exact and consistent tracking and reporting.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work