College Essay Examples

Leader Research Paper


Leader Research PaperCommunication is an essential skill that should be possessed by every person working within any organization. Despite the importance attached to communication, different employees in organizations fail to uphold this critical virtue hence disposing an organization into problems (Luthra & Dahiya, 2015). For individuals working in the healthcare sector, safety is a crucial concern for most institutions since unsafe behaviors are often related to human and financial costs. Most safety issues within organizations could be prevented if leaders should effectively communicate to their subordinate members (Newnam & Goode, 2019). Leaders and team members within an organization should learn how to effectively communicate since this will lay a foundation for successfully completing projects (Newnam & Goode, 2019).  When one has the necessary communication skills, it assists them to have a better understanding and beliefs, hence influencing them to follow and adhere to the stipulated principles within an organization. For one to grow into a successful leader or manager, they should effectively and accurately communicate. This essay seeks to expound on organizational communication and leadership.

Description of French and Raven’s Bases of Power.

According to a study conducted by John French and Bertram Raven, findings indicate that power is divided into five dynamics. The five bases include legitimate, reward, expert, referent, and expert power. Different scholars give distinct definitions of power. However, their overall summary is that power denotes the influence that one has over a person or a group. When a leader in a group project posses an unfavorable influence, employees within an organization will often feel intimated and unappreciated (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). This will, in turn, lead to unwelcomed emotions among team members. However, a leader who exhibits a favorable influence is likely to make all employees feel motivated, valued, and essential contributors to a project’s success. When an employee experiences such feelings, they will desire to be successful due to their supervisor-employee relationship. Out of the five bases of power identified by French and Raven, four have a relatively positive influence while one has a negative influence (Kamal & Kumar, 2017).

Power can be divided into formal and informal categories. Referent and expert power fall under the informal category since they do not need a formal position of authority. On most occasions, referent powers are often founded on respect and admiration that a person gets from people after interacting several times (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). Most leaders who pose referent power are considered attractive and social adept due to their charisma, energy, stamina, and vision. When a leader exercises referent power, it lays a foundation for obtaining legitimate power in the workplace settings, especially for those who occupy junior positions.

On the other hand, expert power is based on a leader’s advanced knowledge and skills on a given project. According to French & Raven (1959), expert power denotes power founded on both informational influence and credibility of an individual. A leader who has expert power can positively impact organizations by adding value, which can be achieved by providing guidance and advice geared towards improving others (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). A leader who capitalizes on their expertise creates a long-standing skills base hence influencing the long-term success of an organization.

Legitimate, reward, and coercive power are categorized as formal power. French & Raven (1959) note that legitimate power involves the ability to prescribe behaviors or beliefs for another individual. Legitimate power has five bases has three distinct bases, including culture, social structure acceptance, and designation by a legitimizing agent. On the other hand, reward power is the opposite of coercive power (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). Reward power involves the ability to offer or withhold rewards based on an individual’s performance. Leaders who exercise reward power lay a foundation for employees to be highly motivated hence leading to increased production. Lastly, coercive power entails punishing employees by removing a positive element (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). The common way through which a leader can practice coercive power is by publicly shaming a person to gain influence or excluding one from meeting invitations hence leading to a negative in a project.

The power of servant leadership is one of the theories that can be compared to French and Raven’s power bases. According to the power of servant hood, most servant leaders are revolutionary and adopt traditional power leadership models. Leaders who have this form of power put their employees at the top while they put themselves at the bottom (Kamal & Kumar, 2017). Most servant leaders dedicate themselves to serving their employees and help them become better people in an organization. One factor that differentiates the power of servant hood from the five bases of power by French and Raven is that leaders with servant hood power have a service-first mindset and are mainly focused on empowering and uplifting the subordinates within an organization. Reciprocal power is another theory of power crafted by Cohen & Bradford in 1990. Reciprocal power is founded on moral and Christian values that denote “do to others as you would have wanted others to do to you.” One of the main differences between reciprocal power and the five bases of power is that it assists a leader help members effectively serve those in need. However, it may sometimes be used for surreptitious purposes (Ninan et al., 2019).

Various leadership styles and how these styles affect employees.

To be an effective leader, they have to follow the stipulated types of leadership styles, especially in matters to deal with providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating organizational employees. Every leader has unique traits; as a result, they will follow unique styles while leading people (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). The five common forms of leadership styles include autocratic, democratic, transactional, and transformational. The autocratic leadership style is the first form and manifests itself when the leader has total control over all the decisions made within a workplace. When leaders are autocratic, they do not consider the input of other employees (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). Employees are also required to follow the instituted decisions and orders made by their leaders. One main advantage of the autocratic leadership style is that it helps save on time in the decision-making process. However, employees working under an autocratic leader tend to feel that they are not personally valued. Additionally, employees will have a reduced motivation leading to reduced production and increased rebellion (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018).

The second leadership style is democratic leadership. Democratic leadership is the opposite of autocratic leadership and involves the choice of a leader to involve all members in the decision-making process (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). Although democratic leaders have the final say, he makes they make decisions based on input received from the other employees. Democratic leadership makes employees feel motivated and valued. As a result, they will, on most occasions, strive to meet organizational objectives (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). The third type of leadership style is the transactional leadership style. The primary aim of a transactional leader is to structure and bring order within the workplace. When one works under a transactional leader, they tend to be successful because their leader sets a structure and rigid working environment where rewards and punishments are used to drive performance. The transformational leadership style is the last style. Transformational leaders have a clearly defined vision for success (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). As a result, they drive their members towards achieving this vision. Team members under a transformational leader tend inspired and valued. Subsequently, most of them will always be encouraged to think critically and offer practical solutions to issues affecting an organization.

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

The Fiedler Contingency model was first crafted in the mid-1960s by Fred Fiedler. According to the contingency model, the best leadership model does not exist. As a result, a leader’s effectiveness can only be classified based on two factors: leadership style and situational favorableness (Cherry, 2017). According to Fiedler, identification of the leadership style is the first step of using the contingency theory model. The LPC scale is the ideal scale that can be used in measuring leadership style. When using the scale, one will be asked what they feel about a person they least enjoy working with (Cherry, 2017). After answering this question, one can rate how they feel about the individual and sum up the scores. Leaders who are mainly tasked oriented view their LPCs more negatively, leading to a reduced score (Cherry, 2017). On the other hand, relationship-oriented leaders positively view their LPCs, hence offering them a higher score. Leaders with high LPCs exhibit excellent personal connections, including effectively managing conflicts.

The other factor relates to situational favorableness. Situational favorableness is grounded on three factors, including leader-member relations, task structure, and leader’s position power. Leader-member relations involve the level of trust and confidence that team members have vested in their leader (Cherry, 2017). On the other hand, a leader’s position power denotes the amount of power a leader has on a group. Currently, the organization is struggling with organizational communication and leadership principles. As a result, leaders should start by identifying the leadership style that should be adopted. By identifying an ideal leadership style, they will involve all team members in decision-making, hence improving communication within the organization (Cherry, 2017).

How leaders can Improve Organizational Communication.

Communication serves as an essential tool in leadership. Many leaders are often considered first-class communicators since they have a clear set of values and often strive to promote these values among team members. This is among the many factors that make team members appreciate and follow one as their leader (Barbour et al., 2018). Since the portfolio of leaders is constantly increasing, it is essential that the institute measures geared towards improving organizational communication at large. One of the main strategies that can improve organizational communication is using social intranet services (Barbour et al., 2018). This can be achieved by ensuring that every member of the organization is connected on various social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Encouraging members to use these tools will promote quicker responses and human resource solutions among members (Barbour et al., 2018). The other strategy that can be used is by eliminating one-way communication. Encouraging two-way communication channels will provide room for receiving genuine feedback and input from every team member.

Four different types of Communication Patterns used by organizations

Communication patterns denote the structures in which information flows in an organization. Most communication patterns serve as link work teams since they are founded on organizational structures. The communication patterns used in an organization are often related to the efficiency of fulfilling a given duty (Mikkelson & Hesse, 2020). Subsequently, it denotes the satisfaction and decision-making process team members enjoy. The four communication patterns used in organizations include circle, chain, wheel, and Y pattern. There is a distinct hierarchy between team members and the leaders (Mikkelson & Hesse, 2020). Organizations using the circle patterns means that the leader can only communicate to subordinate members close to him. An advantage of this communication pattern is that the input from different subordinates can be included in decision-making. However, the staff at the lower levels do not get chances of criticizing decisions made at the upper level hence making it an appropriate communication method. The chain pattern resembles the circle pattern since it follows a stipulated chain of command. The disadvantage with chain patterns is that all members cannot communicate to their leader like in the circle pattern. The third pattern is the wheel or star pattern. In this type, the leader is at the center of communication, enabling members to stand at the same structure in communication. The wheel patterns allow all members to communicate with their leader and receive genuine feedback. It is also a quick communication pattern and does not lead to distortion of information among team members. Y pattern is the final form and is more complicated compared to other patterns. Like in the circle and chain communication patterns, this type also has a clear chain of command among the different subgroups. One disadvantage of this method is that subgroups cannot communicate amongst each other. Most of them are needed to pass information through their leader to pass information to other subgroups.


Al-Malki, M., & Juan, W. (2018). Leadership styles and job performance: A literature review. Journal of International Business Research and Marketing3(3).

Barbour, J. B., Gill, R., & Barge, J. K. (2018). Organizational communication design logics: A theory of communicative intervention and collective communication design. Communication Theory28(3), 332-353.

Cherry, K. (2017). What is the contingency theory of leadership? Social Psychology.

Kamal Kumar, K., & Kumar Mishra, S. (2017). Subordinate‐Superior upward communication: Power, politics, and political skill. Human Resource Management56(6), 1015-1037.

Luthra, A., & Dahiya, R. (2015). Effective leadership is all about communicating effectively: Connecting leadership and communication. International Journal of Management & Business Studies5(3), 43-48.

Mikkelson, A. C., & Hesse, C. (2020). Conceptualizing and Validating Organizational Communication Patterns and Their Associations with Employee Outcomes. International Journal of Business Communication, 2329488420932299.

Newnam, S., & Goode, N. (2019). Communication in the workplace: Defining the conversations of supervisors. Journal of safety research70, 19-23.

Ninan, J., Mahalingam, A., & Clegg, S. (2019). External stakeholder management strategies and resources in megaprojects: an organizational power perspective. Project Management Journal50(6), 625-640.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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