2 BEHAVIOURAL THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP (OHIO AND MICHIGAN STUDIES)

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The behavioural theory believes that leadership behaviours could be learnt. That is, individuals trained in the appropriate leadership behaviours could be effective.

A behavioural theory of leadership concentrates on the kinds of behaviour of people in leadership situations.

It believes that effective leadership is a product of good leader behaviours.

Behavioural theory of leadership also believes that leadership abilities and qualities can be learnt, rather than inherited. 

Ohio leadership theory and Michigan leadership theory are two of the most well-known behavioural theories of leadership.

Ohio leadership theory

Beginning in the 1940s, management researchers at Ohio State University researched to ascertain the connection between effective leadership behaviours and the performance and satisfaction of subordinates.

To conduct the research, the researchers created a Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ), which consisted of 150 statements regarding leadership behaviour.

Based on the research, the two principal dimensions of leadership behaviour were identified; namely; consideration behaviour and initiating structure.

1. Initiating structure: This refers to the extent to which a manager demonstrates task orientation by defining and structuring the roles of followers, setting goals, supervising subordinates' work activities, establishing deadlines, and assigning tasks to subordinates. 

Initiating structure behaviour also includes criticizing sub-par work performance and proposing new solutions to organizational problems.

Initiating structure can also be defined as a leader concerned with actively directing subordinates towards getting work.

A leader's ability to imitate structure primarily affects subordinates' job performance and provides clarity for the organization.

2. Consideration behaviour: This relates to how much a leader shows consideration for subordinates by being approachable, kind, encouraging, and expressing concern for workers.

Consideration behaviours are interpersonal behaviour designed to express the affection and liking of followers.

The following are examples of leadership consideration behaviours: listening to employees' problems and concerns, recognizing subordinates' ideas and contributions, consulting with employees before making decisions, demonstrating a willingness to accept employee suggestions, and treating employees on an equal footing.

Consideration behaviour primarily affect subordinates' job satisfaction by showing consideration for subordinate feeling and ideas.

The Ohio leadership studies further suggest that, based on the two leadership behaviour, a leader may display a high consideration and low initiating structure behaviour, a high degree of consideration and initiating structure, a low degree of both consideration and initiating structure, or a low consideration and high initiating structure.

Michigan studies on Leadership

Two leadership dimensions—the employee-oriented and production-oriented leadership styles—were discovered by researchers at the University of Michigan in the 1950s.

1. Employee-oriented leaders: These pay attention to the people side of an organization.

Employee-oriented leaders are mostly concerned with building interpersonal relationships that result in the achievement of group goals

Employee-oriented leaders concern themselves with employee welfare and it is handled in the organization.

2. Production-oriented leaders: These are mostly concerned with the technical elements of the organization.

Simply said, production-oriented leaders are task-oriented and only sees employee as a means to attain production goals.

Production-oriented is mostly concern with explaining work procedures and on how employees perform the job.

Additionally, the Michigan theory of leadership also identified three behaviours that determine the effectiveness of a leader. 

These behaviours are task-oriented behaviour, relationship-oriented behaviour, and participative behaviours.

1. Task-oriented behaviour: This involves a leader spending more time on tasks and less time on subordinates' needs.

2. Relationship-oriented behaviour: This involves a leader showing concern and support for followers.d

3. Participative behaviour: It means encouraging group regulation of each subordinate.

In conclusion, it can observed that the two leadership dimensions identified by Michigan leadership studies (employee-oriented leader and production-oriented leaders) are very similar to the two dimensions identified by Ohio leadership studies.

Finally, it should be noted that the two leadership dimensions (employee-oriented and production-oriented leaders) discovered by Michigan leadership studies are quite similar to those identified by Ohio leadership studies.

So, While the production-oriented component of Michigan studies is similar to the initiating structure component of Ohio leadership studies, the employee-oriented component is more or less comparable to the consideration component of Ohio leadership studies.

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