Sample Research Paper On Leadership Theories

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Leadership, Theory, Leader, People, Success, Development, Psychology, Style

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/12/01


This paper is about different leadership styles and their analysis determining which would be best in the interest of organizations and individuals as well. Problem was identified as there is need of a specific leadership style which would help leaders meet the demands of modern times and conditions like globalization. Then popular leadership theories and models like trait, behavioral, transformational and transactional theories were discussed to see which model is best to use for the development of the organization. But in the end, it was determined that no leadership style is perfect. A mix of different leadership styles is needed to progress at a fast pace.


Leadership is one of the most important characteristics for achieving success. On every level, there is need of a leader whose vision is like pathway for others. Positive leadership is necessary in all phases and sectors of society whether it is political, educational or economical. Nations which are developed and successful have great leaders behind them who are continuously struggling to bring nations on the top. Not before long, leadership was considered an unimportant thing and people never encouraged those who want to be at top and help others in hour of disappointment and need. But two decades ago, new trends took place and changed almost every aspect of life. It included leadership too. Leaders were suddenly given importance all over the world. Different types of training centers were established for training new leaders. Philosophers and scholars started reflecting on leadership behaviors and actions. Moreover, they also analyzed the world’s greatest leaders, their situations and decisions taken by them.

Conceptual Map

Today, we have different expectations from our leaders in different aspects of society. As leaders are from diversified backgrounds, it has been very difficult for scholars to study them and develop new leadership models which are need of modern times. Because we need leaders who could help people as well as nations develop in time of globalization and competition where countries are fighting war of dominance as well as war of freedom. So, we need leaders who have visions, who are open-minded and strong and above all, they are positive with high management skill and abilities (Chemers, 2014).

Problem Statement

With availability of different leadership theories which were made according to the need of old people and nations, we need a mix of all leadership characteristics which are offered in different theories. But our problem here is that we cannot adopt all or most of the leadership theories at the same time. We are in need of one specific leadership theory which will help leaders of modern times grow and evolve on a fast pace. They would take their nation on a new level of progress through perfect leadership model as we are in age of globalization and competition where only those nations will survive which will take right decisions for a right vision.

Diagnosis of Change

As we have discussed above that we are in need of perfect leadership model which would help the leaders of the whole world. But it has not been possible for the scholars right now. But what they can do here is that they can pick a two or three most successful theories and make a new mixture of characteristics and traits which are most important for leaders of modern times. The traits can be found from various researches and surveys and on the basis of them, a new model can be made without heavy complexities.

Analysis of Major Theories and Models

Great Man Theories
This theory leads us to believe that leaders are born with specific qualities and traits which differentiate leaders from rest of the people right from the beginning. It is also believed that these leaders have built in qualities to take over the people meaning they have inherited the skills from their parents or may be ancestors. It states that these types of leaders are destined to do something great in the favor of general public which would class them among heroes due to their work for people. This theory was named as Great Man because most of the leaders who took over the world at that time were men and especially came from military background (Lussier and Achua, 2015).

Trait Theories

This theory is same as Great Man Theory in the way that it states that successful leaders have inherited most of the qualities which differentiate leaders from general public. According to this theory, characteristics like confidence, extraversion and courage are found in almost all the greatest leaders of the world and these traits can tell that people possessing these will become leaders in some of their lives. But the question here is that other people also have these characteristics. So, how these traits can differentiate leaders from rest of the people. This question raises the complexity level of the theory making it unreliable (DeRue et. al, 2011).

Contingency Theories

This theory focuses on number of variables that determine the success of any leader. According to this, successful leaders neither have specific leadership style nor do they face same situations which guarantee their success. But success is dependent on different variables which includes leadership style, the situation of leader, personality and decision making power of leader. It also considers the type, nature and ability of followers i.e. how much followers understand their leader and his leadership style. Do they trust their leader or not etc. So, it means that there is no specific leadership style but there are variables which can do the magic (Lussier and Achua, 2015).

Situational Theories

This theory states that different leadership styles are applied on different nations depending upon the situation in which leader finds himself. For example; there might be a situation where leader is the most skilled and knowledgeable person from a group or a nation then leader would apply different leadership style. He would adopt a style which would show authority whereas leader has skilled and knowledgeable people in his group or nation then he would go for democratic style because being a leader, he would have to care about the feelings of the others as well (DeRue et. al, 2011).

Behavioral Theories

Behavioral theories have their roots in behavioral sciences. According to this theory, leaders are made, not born. People can observe and learn the different leadership qualities from time to time. Leadership qualities are not inherent or internal but they can be learned through external environment by learning through different sources and already successful people. We can consider this theory a flip-side of Great Man Theories. It focuses on actions of a person which transform him into an inspiring leader who would lead other people (DeRue et. al, 2011).

Participative Theories

As its name suggests, this theory encourages group members as well as general public to participate in the activities at the same pace, leader is doing. It focuses on the concept that an ideal leadership is one which takes input from others into account. It suggests that successful leader does not become successful from his efforts alone but he is supported by different groups under hum as well. They give suggestions, criticize him and help him in implementing hi planning and vision. But it should also be noted here that leader is the person who will others to give their inputs (Lussier and Achua, 2015).

Management Theories

Management Theories are also known as Transactional Theories. The focus of this theory is upon organizational and group performances. According to this theory, leadership is the result of transactions made between the leader and the group members. Something on the behalf of both of them is needed to be done in order to develop successful leadership. Alone leader cannot make successful things happen. As its name implies, this theory is majorly used by the managers of different organizations where they reward their employees on doing something better and punish them when they are cause of loss(DeRue et. al, 2011).

Relationship Theories

This theory is also called Transformational Theories. According to this theory, leaders and their group members must have strong relation between themselves. In this relation, leader should be the one having strong control over other people to inspire to work hard for the right path. Leaders following this leadership style are the ones who have high morals and ethical values. Their values motivate others to work with honesty and loyalty. They are also inspired to work on best of their abilities to develop the group or nation. These traits of leadership ultimately transform the whole group or society under the leader (Northouse, 2012).
Despite of all types of leadership theories, leadership is only effective in the case where leader is the person of strong morals and honesty. He needs to inspire his people to work harder and on best of their abilities. Above all, effectiveness of leader is dependent upon number of factors and mix of these factors will rightly assess the effectiveness of the leader (Northouse, 2012). They are the following;
Leader’s planning and vision plays key role in assessing the progress level as well as the effectiveness of leadership. Because planning of leadership and his ability to predict things in right way can do wonders.
The relationship between strategy planning and implementation of the strategy has direct link with success of any leader as it shows that how far have leader gone in the implementing the strategy.
Leaders have responsibility to transform the group or nation. So, level of the responsibility which leader feels determines the success rate and effectiveness of a certain leader and his project.

Development Plan

In the age of modernization and globalization where technology is taking countries and companies on a new level of technology, it is necessary to train our leaders according to the demand of the time. So, we would have enough time to work for the betterment on both individuals and organizations. For this purpose, it is compulsory that we develop a general plan which would help leaders to meet the demands of modern age. We will have best leaders in the way if we focus on training our leaders upon basis of transformational, transactional, behavioral and contingency theories. Because some of the things said in all of these theories are said to be true on all levels. For example; it is true that leaders have built in qualities which cause them to inspire other people. On the other hand, it is also true that qualities of leadership can be learned through observations and learning from different people even though they are not born leaders. Likewise, leaders should have transformational characteristics in order to help to inspire people but they also should have control over those people who are not working whole heartedly (McCarthy and Hammond, 2013). Leader should have control over those who want to give their inputs and leaders should decide that input should be of what level (McCarthy and Hammond, 2013).


We would recommend organizations to follow mixture of most of the models and theories as mentioned above. Because it is very critical and difficult for leaders to survive in the world of competition where there is no space for incompetent people or leaders who are lazy and make wrong decisions on basis of the right details and facts. We would recommend leaders to take right type of decisions by analyzing the information rightly and positively dealing with the people by studying their psychology and behaviors inspiring them to work with more loyalty and honesty (Tyssen, Wald and Speith, 2013).


In short, there have been hundreds of leadership theories all of which were made by the scholars for people of different areas with different needs. Same theory cannot be applied on two different areas with different needs. Also, it cannot be determined that which theory is best or better than other. All theories have something good in them. Organizations should use those which would best fit on their situations.


Chemers, M. (2014). An integrative theory of leadership. Psychology Press.
DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N. E. D., & Humphrey, S. E. (2011). Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and meta‐analytic test of their relative validity. Personnel Psychology, 64(1), 7-52.
Lussier, R., & Achua, C. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Cengage Learning.
McCarthy, A. M., & Hammond, M. (2013, January). Understanding Public Sector Leadership Effectiveness: Do Multiple Perspectives Matter?. InAcademy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2013, No. 1, p. 16900). Academy of Management.
Northouse, P. G. (2012). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage.
Tyssen, A. K., Wald, A., & Spieth, P. (2013). Leadership in temporary organizations: a review of leadership theories and a research agenda. Project Management Journal, 44(6), 52-67.

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