Leadership is an inherently subjective subject with many definitions associated to it (Zaharah Hassan, 2004). Most of those definitions found in the literature agreed that leadership is mainly concerned with a person who tries to influence groups or followers to achieve certain objectives. The literature also indicates that there are various theories describing leadership such as the traits that leads to successful leaders, and the roles that leaders need to perform. The literature also points to the styles and approach that leaders need to adopt such as shown by early studies conducted. Leadership theories also take into account of the contingencies and situations they face. More recent literature includes transformational and servant leadership. Recent writings also noted that there are notions of leadership that are assumed either implicitly or explicitly linking leadership to gender (Zaharah Hassan, 2004). Various studies show that there are differences in the leadership styles of males and females leaders. Much of the discussion on those differences centers on what has been called concern for production and concern for people. Other ways of expressing this leadership dichotomy is through contrasting concern for tasks and concern for relationships according to situations as shown by various development levels of the subordinates, or a focus on initiating structure as opposed to the focus of consideration for people. Situational theory see that contrast as a continuum of autocratic or democratic leadership styles. Literature on leadership and gender often pivots on whether or not gender gives emphasis on one of the above dimensions of leadership at the expense of the other. Some of the research findings indicate that female leaders tend to be more relationship-oriented and democratic and male leaders more task-oriented and autocratic.
Literature on leadership and gender often pivots on whether or not gender gives emphasis on one of the above dimensions of leadership at the expense of the other. Some of the research findings indicate that female leaders tend to be more relationship-oriented and democratic and male leaders more task-oriented and autocratic (Marsh 1999). In recent years, transformational and transactional leadership construct has become a popular theme in leadership literature in the general management domain.
Unlike task versus relationshiporiented leadership, the transformational-transactional leadership notion is viewed as a continuum allowing for individuals to employ transformational and transactional qualities at the same time. Transactional leadership is based on exchanges between the leader and followers where followers are rewarded for meeting specific goals or performance criteria. Transformational is seen to be charismatic and visionary in nature, and leaders lead and motivate followers in ways beyond exchanges and rewards. Transformational leadership is generally held to be a superior form of leadership, built on transactional leadership, but not vice-versa. There is a line of argument in leadership literature contending that female leaders tend to be more transformational than male leaders. This argument is based on the idea that transformational leadership emphasizes the nurturing of subordinates and the process of socialization(Nahavandi ...