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Teams, Leaders and Flexibility: Implications of Flexible Behaviour in a Leadership Context

Teams, Leaders and Flexibility: Implications of Flexible Behaviour in a Leadership Context

Ratings:

4.6

(5)
|Views: 2,949 |Likes:
Published by Martin Witthoeft
Ashcroft Business School, Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge, United Kingdom
Bachelor Thesis 2008/09

Word Count: 9453

MARK RECEIVED: 75%


First Marker (M1): Dr. Beatriz Acevedo
Second Marker (M2): Steve McDonald

OBJECTIVES
M1: Clear objectives in testing the hypothesis or the assertion regarding flexibility.
M2: The abstract needs to be clearer and more focused.

METHOD
M1: Very good use of primary methods for collecting information. This is a remarkable feature of this dissertation and it demonstrates the student’s awareness and knowledge of research methodologies.
M2: Clear hypothesis, well rounded methodology. Very good primary data.

USE OF LITERATURE/SOURCES
M1: The use of theoretical frameworks is adequate yet it is perhaps a bit wide. The student identifies some frameworks from cybernetics (system thinking) and leadership, however, he needs to go further in clarifying what are the main ‘subjects’ addressed through the research process.
M2: Range suitable, however, more depth of analysis needed in certain areas.

REFERENCING
M1: Excellent referencing process, all the references with pages, etc.
M2: Very good.

ANALYSIS
M1: The student did an excellent job in analysing the data and providing a summary of his findings. However, it is necessary to link this data analysis with the theoretical references mentioned before. This would have enhanced the quality of the research. Having said that, for an undergraduate thesis, his work is good enough.
M2: The information and analysis were linked well for this level of work. Clear depth of analysis has taken place.

CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS
M1: The student offers a number of conclusions and reflections on the potentialities and limitations of his research. This evidences a critical approach and self-examination.
M2: Conclusions line well to the objectives. Limitation addressed well.

PRESENTATION
M1: Excellent presentation. Perhaps some of the results could have been presented in tables aimed to organise and categorise information.
M2: Very good in all areas.

GENERAL COMMENTS
This is a very good dissertation. The student started with a very wide research question and many different theoretical frameworks, and he ended in a relatively coherent dissertation. The topic of leadership is addressed in an appropriate fashion and it remains the core of this paper. However, the structure of the literature review may be a bit confusing. The student starts by introducing some concepts on cybernetics and systems thinking, particularly, Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety. However, later on it seems that the main guideline for the analysis is the issue of leadership and teams.

In the summary of this theoretical chapter, the student highlights the relationship between flexibility and leadership; however the student needs to clarify what exactly are the main points for his analysis in this relationship. This link is not clearly established, thus, the analysis focuses on the findings rather than on the relationship of the findings with the theoretical aspects.

Notwithstanding, the analysis of findings is excellent. Clearly the student did a considerable effort in proposing a question into certain professional forums. In this section, the student may wish to explain the criteria used to select these forums and not others. Although he mentions the ‘voluntary nature’ some other aspects could have influenced his decision that need to be specified.

The question posted in these internet forums produced rich information for the analysis. This is a remarkable aspect of this thesis and it enhances the quality of this research. Further work can be done in identifying variables in the different respondents. For instance, is gender a variable determining certain visions of flexibility and leadership?

In general this is a good base for further research.
Ashcroft Business School, Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge, United Kingdom
Bachelor Thesis 2008/09

Word Count: 9453

MARK RECEIVED: 75%


First Marker (M1): Dr. Beatriz Acevedo
Second Marker (M2): Steve McDonald

OBJECTIVES
M1: Clear objectives in testing the hypothesis or the assertion regarding flexibility.
M2: The abstract needs to be clearer and more focused.

METHOD
M1: Very good use of primary methods for collecting information. This is a remarkable feature of this dissertation and it demonstrates the student’s awareness and knowledge of research methodologies.
M2: Clear hypothesis, well rounded methodology. Very good primary data.

USE OF LITERATURE/SOURCES
M1: The use of theoretical frameworks is adequate yet it is perhaps a bit wide. The student identifies some frameworks from cybernetics (system thinking) and leadership, however, he needs to go further in clarifying what are the main ‘subjects’ addressed through the research process.
M2: Range suitable, however, more depth of analysis needed in certain areas.

REFERENCING
M1: Excellent referencing process, all the references with pages, etc.
M2: Very good.

ANALYSIS
M1: The student did an excellent job in analysing the data and providing a summary of his findings. However, it is necessary to link this data analysis with the theoretical references mentioned before. This would have enhanced the quality of the research. Having said that, for an undergraduate thesis, his work is good enough.
M2: The information and analysis were linked well for this level of work. Clear depth of analysis has taken place.

CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS
M1: The student offers a number of conclusions and reflections on the potentialities and limitations of his research. This evidences a critical approach and self-examination.
M2: Conclusions line well to the objectives. Limitation addressed well.

PRESENTATION
M1: Excellent presentation. Perhaps some of the results could have been presented in tables aimed to organise and categorise information.
M2: Very good in all areas.

GENERAL COMMENTS
This is a very good dissertation. The student started with a very wide research question and many different theoretical frameworks, and he ended in a relatively coherent dissertation. The topic of leadership is addressed in an appropriate fashion and it remains the core of this paper. However, the structure of the literature review may be a bit confusing. The student starts by introducing some concepts on cybernetics and systems thinking, particularly, Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety. However, later on it seems that the main guideline for the analysis is the issue of leadership and teams.

In the summary of this theoretical chapter, the student highlights the relationship between flexibility and leadership; however the student needs to clarify what exactly are the main points for his analysis in this relationship. This link is not clearly established, thus, the analysis focuses on the findings rather than on the relationship of the findings with the theoretical aspects.

Notwithstanding, the analysis of findings is excellent. Clearly the student did a considerable effort in proposing a question into certain professional forums. In this section, the student may wish to explain the criteria used to select these forums and not others. Although he mentions the ‘voluntary nature’ some other aspects could have influenced his decision that need to be specified.

The question posted in these internet forums produced rich information for the analysis. This is a remarkable aspect of this thesis and it enhances the quality of this research. Further work can be done in identifying variables in the different respondents. For instance, is gender a variable determining certain visions of flexibility and leadership?

In general this is a good base for further research.

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Published by: Martin Witthoeft on Jul 06, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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11/14/2012

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TEAMS, LEADERS AND FLEXIBILITY
IMPLICATIONS OF FLEXIBLE BEHAVIOUR IN A LEADERSHIP CONTEXTPrepared byMartin WitthoeftModule Title: Undergraduate Major ProjectSupervisor: Dr. Beatriz AcevedoModule Code: BC330998SAcademic Year: 2008/9Submitted: 24 April 2009
 
 i
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this research, in particular the respondentsin the professional networks of Xing and LinkedIn for their participation and advice. I amespecially grateful to my supervisor Dr. Beatriz Acevedo for her continuous support andfeedback as well as my partner Ulrike for her encouragement and patience during the last fourmonths.Personally I am still amazed about how this project evolved and the twists and turns it took; tome Henry Ford’s self-fulfilling prophecy proves true once again: “Whether you think you can orthink you cannot - you are absolutely right”.This dissertation is dedicated to my father (1951-2005).
 
 ii
Abstract
This research aims to explore the significance of flexibility in the context of team leadership byidentifying the implications of flexible behaviour for leadership in theory and practice. It furtherwants to increase awareness when and how it is beneficial to demonstrate flexible behaviourand introduce flexibility as one of the major impacts on leader and follower relations.In order to achieve the purpose of this research, a compelling guiding hypothesis with the aimto retrieve qualitative data was published in professional online networks. This was followed bya thematic analysis of the 267 personal replies of professionals to identify the respondents’associations with the term flexibility. The results of these practical accounts were then put intocontext and contrasted with findings in academic literature. The findings highlight three mainthemes within the responses; the need for balance between flexible and inflexible behaviour,an exploration of the motivations for flexibility and the significance of flexible behaviour itself reveal a strong tendency towards the need for stability in leadership. In contrast to theliterature, the research results identified a perceived negative side to flexible behaviour. Thisresearch makes provisional theoretical contributions in terms of the underlying implications of flexibility in leader and follower relationships with respect to outcomes within a teamenvironment. In practical terms the findings increase the awareness of the impact of flexibilityfor the choice of a leader in a particular situation or environment. In addition to that, itprovides insights into the outcomes of flexible behaviour which are beneficial on a personallevel. Although there has been research with observations of group participants to categorizedynamics and competency measures for individuals via testing, very little is known about theimplications of flexibility for leadership. This research attempts to clarify these implications.

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