History of leadership

A. The Iowa Leadership Studies by Kurt Lewin (University of Iowa,1930)

  • A series of pioneering leadership studies by Ronald Lippitt and Ralph K. White under Lewin
  • Kurt Lewin is recognized as the father of group dynamics
  • Three different styles of leadership—


  • Very directive and allowed no participation.
  • Tended to give individual attention when praising and criticizing,
  • Tried to be friendly or impersonal rather than openly hostile.
  • Reactions- either aggressively or apathetically out of the frustration


  • Encouraged group discussion and decision making.
  • To be “objective” in giving praise or criticism and to be one of the group in spirit
  • Most successful.

3.Laissez-faire – ‘let them do’

    • Gave complete freedom to the group;
    • This leader essentially provided no leadership.
    • For seniors.

B. The Ohio State Leadership Studies (1945)

  • by E.A. Fleishman, E.F. Harris and H.E. Burtt (1945)
  • Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ)
  • Premise-no satisfactory definition of leadership existed.
  • Assumption – leadership was synonymous with good leadership.
  • Two dimensions/factors of leadership

1.Consideration – recognition of individual needs and relationships

2.Initiating structure – task or goal orientation; focus on performance of employees and meeting of deadlines

  • This two-dimensional approach lessened the gap between
  • A. the strict task orientation of the scientific management movement and
  • B. the Human Relations Movement emphasis, popular that time

C. The Early Michigan Leadership Studies

  • Rensis Likert and his associates(1946)

1.Employee-Oriented Leader:

  • The concern more on the interpersonal relations with the employees
  • More attention on the needs of the employees and
  • Accepted the individual differences among members.

2.Production-Oriented Leader:

  • Attention to the technical aspects of the job or the tasks assigned to the employees, rather than on employees.
  • Least importance to the group members, and
  • Regarded the employees as only a means to achieve the ends,

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