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Leadership and Motivational Skills

Topic: Leadership Characteristics and Strategic Planning

Submitted by: Bilal Ahmed (110800)

Department of Administrative Sciences Air University Sector E-9 Islamabad

Critical Review: William A. Drago, Christine Clements, (1999), Leadership Characteristics and Strategic Planning, Management Research News, Vol. 22 Iss: 1 pp. 11 - 18 Introduction Strategic planning is process which defines organizations approach to achieve its vision and mission. Whilst strategic planning requires some background framework and set of specialized skills to carry out its apparatus and keep organization focus on track. Top management play a crucial role to formulate short term as well as long term action plans by setting some attainable goals as measurers, the reflection of their approach can be clearly identified by analyzing the final diplomacy. Background The author aims to investigate the link between three leader characteristics: Power/Control, Creativity, and People/Dependence, on plan intensity as well as specific direction-setting tools. Whilst they believe that the three characteristics are strongly interrelated with each other and are best determinant for formulating action plan, short term objectives, and understanding planning intensity. They do believe that these three characteristics missing the long term strategic focus and may lead to some undesirable situation. Arguments and Evaluation To support this idea authors reviewed and inserted some past literature about the same topic and extracted the core findings from their work. Mintzberg (1993, 1979)1 suggest that planning differs according to the structure of the organization. The author believes that the leader characteristics are dependent on organization philosophy, policies, structure, culture, vision/mission, and any other factors which makes organization climate. On the basis of past research and objectives of the study the authors drew some propositions to give their work a track. Proposition includes leadership characteristics as the predictor of planning intensity and direction setting tools. Furthermore the questionnaire approach has been followed to collect the data and some statistical tools are deployed to obtain the results and interpretation. They used seven

Mintzberg,H.(1993,1979).StructureinFive:DesigningEffectiveOrganizations.EnglewoodCliffs,NJ:Prentice Hall.

variables to identify the characteristics based on them and those seven factors are (Aggressiveness, Risk-seeker, New-seeker, Task-oriented, Growth-seeker, Reliance, and People-oriented). On the basis of these seven they entered the data in row to identify the relationship of each of them with leader characteristics: Creativity, Power/Control, and People-Dependant. The results generated from analysis are: 1) Power/Control was significantly and positively associated to the planning index, use of mission/vision, short term objective and action plans. 2) Creativity was positively and significantly linked to the planning index, use of mission/vision, and long term objectives. 3) People/Dependence was positively and significantly linked to the planning index, mission/vision, short term objectives, and action plans. How convincing results that except long term planning all other factors are strongly and significantly related with each other to concentrate on the planning intensity and overall strategic direction setting of the planning process? First of all considering the limitation of the study the literature presented in the paper is not enough to support the idea and some serious deficiencies are there to extract the propositions on the basis of those limited and open ended references. In case of defining leader characteristics on the basis of those seven variable is not proved and there are no concrete evidence cited so a comprehensive research work is required to address the issue whether those defined variables are appropriate measurer for determining characteristics or not, and if yes than to what extent would they contributes. Another shortcoming of the paper is the author to somehow ignore the importance of leadership style and limits its scope only to the upper level management personals. These limitations ultimately narrow down the approach to measure its effectiveness and any practical implication. The need to modify the process due to the unique situation of organization has been suggested (Morrisey, 1996a)2. Despite criticism the article is valuable and need to be judged from the authors perspective and its research purpose. The emphasis placed on which characteristic of a leader play

Morrisey,G.(1996a).Morriseyonplanning:Aguidetostrategicthinking,SanFrancisco:JosseyBass Publishers

strategic role in while setting the direction of planning design and formulating action plans. Furthermore the article put emphasis on influence of personal characteristics on planning process which is not considered important in some previous research and the findings shows that the fact should not to be desert in future work. Learning from the Article Therefore we can understand each of the characteristic and what role each of them plays in the planning intensity. Furthermore the importance of strategic thinking, mindset of top leadership and how their decisions are driven by their personal characteristics. It is also understood that to what extent each characteristic is linked with the process and what kind of thinking produces what results. The issue still exists and no doubt further research is essential to scrutinize the situation and embrace dynamics for complete understanding moreover identify some supplementary characteristics which are potentially influential in the planning design process and direction setting within.