• Tom Steen Jensen
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The objective of this master thesis paper is to study lay representations of leadership. The research question is how laypeople think of leadership, its content and rationale, the origin of leadership qualifications, and what is good and bad leadership.
This master thesis takes the form of a qualitative study with the onset within an emancipation epistemology and is a constructive critique of any leadership ideology for the purpose of making people and myself capable of a more critical perspective on leadership.
The theoretical perspectives on leadership is presented within five sub-perspectives.
The first is that leadership can be defined as a relation, as a set of specific tasks or as a relation containing a specific set of tasks. Here I draw on Yukl (Yukl, 2013, Leadership in Organisations) and Alvesson og Sveningsson (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2003, The great disappearing act: difficulties in doing "leadership").
The second is that the tasks of leadership can be described as prescriptive or descriptive. Here I draw on Taylor (Hollway, 1991, Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour), Fayol’s (Hildebrandt, 2015, Ledelse - hele historien), Grey (Grey, 1999, We are all managers now: We allways were: On the development and demise of management), Mintzberg and Kotter (Kotter, 1990, What leaders really do), and finally Alvesson og Sveningsson.
The third is that the rationale in leadership are in the same time defined as efficiency, as the political rationale and the elite rationale. Here I draw on Reed (Reed, 1989, The sociology of management), Grey, Borchmann (Borchmann, 2016, Selvransagelser i ledelseslitteraturen og selvransagelse i praksis), and Pfeffer (Pfeffer, 1977, The Ambiguity of Leadership).
The fourth is that the origin of leadership qualifications can be defined as the result of nature, as a result of nurture or as a result of a combination of the two. Here I draw on van Vugt og Ahuja (van Vugt and Ahuja, 2011, Naturally Selected - The Evolutionary Science of Leadership), Kidwell (Kidwell, 1995, Social Darwinism and the Taylor System: A missing link in the evolution of management?), Lewin (Hollway, 1991, Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour), and Artke (Artke, 1984, Lederskab).
And finally, that leadership the last decade has gone through more shifts in the ideology of what good leadership is. This is from the onset of Scientific management over Human relations to more newly opinions and studies of good leadership. Here I draw again on Taylor (Hollway, 1991, Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour), Fayol (Hildebrandt, 2015, Ledelse - hele historien), Lewin (Waring, 1991, Taylorism Transformed - Scientific Management Theory since 1945), McGregor, (Hollway, 1991, Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour), and finally Goleman (Goleman, 1998, What makes a leader; Goleman, 2000, Leadership that gets results).
The used methodology is a qualitative study with group interviews. I have conducted two group interviews with all together nine informers, five women and four men from the age of 28 to 62, and none of them has ever been involved in leadership, in other words, they are the lay representations. The used analysis is qualitative content analysis as described of Hsieh og Shannon.
The conclusions of this master thesis are as follows.
The lay representations of the definition of leadership is primarily defined as a set of distinct tasks.
The lay representations of the content of the leadership tasks are primarily defined as planning and managing and in less manner as coordinating and controlling. The primarily defined tasks point back to the origin of Scientific management which by this is very much alive today.
The lay representations of the rationale in leadership is solely the efficiency, and there is a absolutely blindness of the political and the elite rationale in leadership. The lay representations in the origin of leadership qualifications are partly to the nature as a genetic disposition for leadership at certain individuals and partly to the effect of upbringing and education. But this last statement is in the awareness that the genetic factor can be reinforced or impaired by the upbringing. This does not correspond with the theoretical perspectives of leadership which points out that the nature explanation, the Social Darwinism is solely a theory and by that not empirically founded.
The lay representations of good and bad leadership are that more recently defined and resonance creating leadership styles as democratic and affiliative are defined as good leadership. The dissonance creating leadership style as coercive is defined as bad leadership. This complements Goleman’s studies of this exact field which is part of the theoretical perspectives of this study.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2017
Antal sider79
ID: 258549110