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Case Study on Leadership Styles

1. Devon seems for me to have task-oriented or transactional leadership style. His opinion about
being a leader is that the one who is successful should be able to exert power. The transactional
leader is provided with the power for particular task performance, as well as for the reward and
punishment of his subordinates. And Devon considers that leadership constitutes predominantly
actions the person takes with his employees. For him it is everything about appropriate
punishment and reward. He insists on making the job and tasks of the employees less
complicated and challenging by assigning them exact amount of those with definite instructions,
and then just ensures that his subordinates possess adequate resource base for task fulfillment. It
is how transactional leader acts- he leads the group of people by setting particular goals to it to
accomplish, and then possess enough power for evaluation, correction and training of the
employees when the expected goals are not reached and rewarding them in the opposite
case(Burns, 1978). Devon can be called to some extent a servant leader as well (Greenleaf,
1977), as this kind of leader facilitates objective accomplishment by providing team with all
necessary resources so that it be productive. As a task-oriented leader, Devon would focus on the
specific tasks and job that should be done assigned to each employee to reach some goal. This
leadership type presumes close supervision of the team to ensure that all expected results are
achieved. Devon also insists that his key feature is being a leader who is guided with the sense of
fairness, and he would reward and punish justly, as well as he also claims that his employees
would perform on the high levels and be satisfied with their jobs.

On the other hand, Isabellas leadership style is quite different. Even though she acknowledges
the necessity in setting appropriate goals to employees and giving them guidance, as well as
rewarding and punishing them in accordance with the performance, she also sees that in the
situation of quickly growing business environment it is not enough to be the proactive successful
leader. Isabella considers that the true leader should motivate its team beyond formal job
requirements and it is not enough that employees just complete automatically their tasks. She
claims that in order to survive, the strong leader should challenge employees to look ahead and
contribute with their ideas. Sharing vision with employees, having the same goals with them are
her main strategies that would allow achieving and sustaining competitive advantage at the
market. She insists on motivating each employee to be creative and innovate and impact the
companys performance the best they can, as only when the staff is highly motivated, the
company can reach outstanding results and be company leader. She tends to be the
transformational leader who motivates its employees to be efficient and effective.
Communication for such leaders is the most important thing in achieving goals.
Transformational leader is also very visible and involves the chain of command to get the job
fulfilled. He also focuses on the greater picture, and therefore needs to be surrounded by people
who are very attentive to details. Transformational leader also is always looking for new ideas
that help the whole organization reach its vision.

2. Speaking about the effectiveness of leadership styles of both Devon and Isabella, I would like
to mention that in different situation frames they could be both effective, but I would like to give
my vote for effectiveness to Isabella. In the situation of rapid economic and social changes, rapid
growth of competitive market, having the job properly done is not enough. The company should
be proactive and think a decade ahead in order to sustain the competitive advantage at its market
niche. When the job is well-done it is very good for the company, but when employees think of
companys future and of their own future as of one common thing- they are more motivated to
perform better the set performance standards. When employees think outside their box and
participate in generation of ideas and solutions for companys development, they feel themselves
the integral part of the company and feel that their efforts are appreciated and they not just
mechanic workers. Of course, there are different kinds of people with different wants and needs,
but in general people do work to be valuable to society and to feel that their existence, their job
and their ideas and solutions means something to the company and its successful development.
But on the other hand, speaking of situational factors, I would say that in the situation of
financial and economic crisis, Devons leadership style can appear more effective. During
economic crisis, peoples ideas and solutions are in most cases not working, as the whole picture
at the market tend to be negative and they can do nothing unless situation changes. And if
employees be still motivated to generate ideas and solutions and they see that they do not
improve the overall situation, it can decrease their motivation to have the job done with extras.
Therefore, I would suggest that in financial crisis, employees should be tightly supervised so that
the job be done, and accordingly awarded or punished when the performance is correspondingly
expectedly high or low.

3. If I were Paul, I would hire Isabella, as nothing is said in the case study about the time period,
and Isabellas approach to the matter is more effective. As the leader, according to Paul, will be
responsible for companys future development, a successful development, then Isabella can lead
the company far behind with her approach. One head is good, and having multiple-even better.
When the leader involves employees in generating ideas and solutions, they are not just more
motivated to impact, but the company can simple have more profound vision of what should be
done, or how the problem can be resolved in the most effective way. Being proactive, with
simultaneous concentration on the details and short-term performance, Isabella would understand
what her employees and the market needs, develop creative solutions. Isabella possesses the
vision that is, along with other traditional leadership qualities, is the most important quality.

4. As I have already mentioned, Devons leadership style lacks vision, he seems to be more
concentrated in the present picture and does not see far in the future. I dont claim that it is the
bad quality, but also in the organizational structure he better appear as Isabelles subordinate,
that still have his own subordinates. He would be the good task performer and not the true leader
within the frame of rapidly growing markets. Devon, being also task-oriented leader, would need
to spend much of his time for close supervision and control to ensure that the job is properly
done. He seems that he will show no involvement in teams needs and motivation, as providing
people with punishment and reward is not quite enough. The employees commitment will also
be lower, then that of with transformational leadership style.

As to the drawback of the Isabellas transformational leadership style, I can mention that she can
become very much dependable on the intellectual capabilities of her subordinates in order to be
successful. In other words, employees should be smart enough to generate those ideas and
5. Let me start with the question why employees are motivated? And the answer will be
simple- in order to survive. People are changing their workplaces very often- they are interested
in better conditions, better attitudes, better job, friendly environment, better salary (though I
mentioned it the last, it is one the min motivational factors). When employees in an organization
are motivated to do the job- the organization will survive at the market, as if employees are
motivated they show better results and are more productive, then those who just do their job
without personal involvement to the matter. In order that the organizational performance is
effective, the leader or manager should primarily understand what motivates his or her
subordinated to have the job done, within the job they do. Motivation issue is very complex, as it
involves analysis of numerous factors. But in general, according to James Lindner (1998) there
are ten motivational factors that include job security, sympathetic help with personal problems,
personal loyalty to employees, interesting tasks, good working conditions, discipline that is
tactful, merit wages, promotion and growth, feeling of being in on things, and finally full
appreciation of the done work. Three main motivation factors are (in the order of importance)
interesting work, good wages and full appreciation of done work.

In order to understand whose employees can be more motivated to do the job, lets assume that
they all have rather high salary. In other words, they are equally motivated to have the job
effectively done, as, according to Maslows need hierarchy theory, their physiological factor is
taken into consideration and satisfied (Maslow 1946). And lets assume that all work that
Devons and Isabellas subordinates would be assigned is interesting , then employees would be
also equally motivated to do best with their job, as their self-actualization factor will be also
considered. As both Devon and Isabella agree that good performance should be appreciated, then
esteem factor will also be taken into consideration and subordinates of both leaders will be
equally motivated. But I am still sure that Isabellas subordinated will be more motivated not just
to have the job done, but also it will be done faster and better. Her employees will envision
themselves as the part of the mechanism, as they will be communicated in such a manner. As
they will be able to generate ideas and thoughts, they will no longer feel themselves as simple
performer. Employees will feel they the organization cannot survive, as they will have the
common goal and vision with it.

Both Devons and Isabellas employees can be very satisfied with what they are doing for job.
As job evaluation is the positive feeling regarding the job that results from its evaluation, in both
cases they will be awarded for achieving successful results, but in Isabellas case, employees can
be more satisfied, as they get not just financial reward for their efforts (which is already a huge
satisfaction factor), but also feel that they have done something outstanding. They are more
satisfied as they can perform beyond their standard duties and be rewarded for that, they can be
more proud of themselves and of the successful company results in general. Devons
subordinates can also feel that, but in much less extent as they are not motivated to impact more,
they are doing what they are assigned to do (Smith 1994).

Depending of the personality of the person, s/he trusts in the particular leader type. Devon and
Isabella can be equally trusted as leaders, and it predominantly depends on the personality types
and essence of job of the subordinates whom to trust in the greatest extent. My opinion that
Devon can be more trusted by conservative people or by employees that dont have a lot of
experience. On the other hand, Isabella will be trusted by proactive people, as she is proactive
and will attract people who share her values and vision as a leader.

Organizational commitment is said to be the state in which the employee identifies himself with
the particular company, and maintains its wishes and objectives to be its member. This notion is
tightly connected with job involvement, which is generally referred to as the degree to which
people psychologically identify with their position and job and consider their level of
performance essential to self-worth. Isabellas subordinated will definitely have greater job
involvement and in the long run will care more about what and how they are doing. Isabella also
involves in her leadership approaches what is called psychological empowerment that is said to
be the beliefs of the employees in the extent to which they affect and impact their work
environment, meaningfulness and purposefulness of their job. By involving subordinates to the
decision making, generating ideas and finding solution for harsh situations, Isabella will make
her employees feel that their work is significant to the whole organizational mechanism.
Returning to the organizational commitment, it has three dimensions: affective commitment,
continuance commitment and normative commitment. Affective commitment is emotional
attachment to the company, sharing its vision and believing in its values. As Isabella is going to
communicate employees vision and everything, her subordinates can have greater affective
commitment. Continuance commitment is the perceived economic value of staying with
company for a long time period (Smith 1994). Even though salary issues here are very important,
the appreciation of the performance plays not the least role here. Devons subordinates can be
paid well in any organization, but it is the question whether Isabellas employees will share
values and vision and be so important in the other company. Of course, different people have
different value and can care for wages only, and there are varying situations, but I am speaking
of average most probable situation.

Normative commitment is the employees commitment that s/he is obliged to stay with the
company for moral and ethical reasons. Due to the fact, that Isabellas subordinated are supposed
to have greater job involvement, they would correspondingly have greater normative

6. According to Devons leadership style I would suggest he can more effective in the centralized
organizational structure. In centralized organizational structure decision-making authorities are
assigned to higher levels of organizational hierarchies. Also, information, knowledge and ideas
are concentrated at the top and it is the leader who assigns tasks and supervises the performance.
Centralized organizational structure has many advantages. First of all it has emphasis on top-
down control, strategy and leadership. Decision-making process is authoritarian, visionary and
charismatic. Organizational changes are shaped by top, which is not that good when the leader
doesnt possess vision. Execution is also said to be fast and coordinative, and people are able to
respond rapidly to main changes and issues. And finally what is truly good is that there is a low
risk of conflicts and misunderstandings between organizational parts (Judge 2007).

Isabella can be also a successful leader within the frame of centralized organizational structure,
though I would suggest more effectiveness to her leadership style in decentralized on.
Decentralized organizational structure presumes transferring and assigning decision-making
authority to lower levels of organizational hierarchy. The, knowledge, ideas, solutions and
information are moving from the bottom to the top. Lower level managers are more autonomous.
As to the decentralized organizational structure advantages, they include emphasis on political
and learning dynamics, and democratic, detailed and participative decision-making process.
Organizational changes are emerging from interactions and execution is emergent and
evolutionary. This type of organizational structure is also flexible to adapt to minor changes and
issues, and is also emphasizes on accountability and participation. There is also the low risk of
not-invented here behavior (Judge 2007). It is obvious that not everything in the decentralized
organizational structure matches Isabellas approach to leadership; therefore mixed
organizational structure is also suggested, as the attempt to take what is best from both structures
and achieve compromise.