Thursday, March 3, 2011

Similarities and differences between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University leadership models

Introduction

Ohio State University and the University of Michigan performed a research on leadership at about the same period; between 1940s to 1950s. Even though during that period, influence on leadership studies more to autocratic and democratic but the conducted researches by these two universities more to determine the behaviour of effective leaders which later those identified behaviour were named as leadership style.

The objective of this paper is to discuss on similarities and differences of the leadership styles by University of Michigan and Ohio State University. The content of this paper will as follows: firstly, a review on University of Michigan leadership model and the second part, is a review on Ohio State University leadership model. Finally, a discussion on similarities and differences of the leadership styles between the two universities.

University of Michigan: Job-Centered and Employee-Centered Behavior

The University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, under the principal direction of Rensis Likert, conducted studies to determine leadership effectiveness. Their main objectives are:

  1. To classify the leaders as effective and ineffective by comparing the behaviour of leaders
  2. To determine reasons for effective leadership.

The University of Michigan leadership model stated that a leader is either more job-centered or more employee-centered as illustrated in below Figure 1.



Figure 1: University of Michigan Leadership Model: a one-dimensional continuum between two leadership styles.

The job-centered style has scales measuring two job-oriented behaviours of goal emphasis and work facilitation. Job-centered behavior refers to the extent to which the leader takes charge to get the job done. The leader closely directs subordinates with clear roles and goals, while the manager tells them what to do and how to do it as they work toward goal achievement.

The employee-centered style has scales measuring two employee-oriented behaviours of supportive leadership and interaction facilitation. Employee-centered behaviour refers to the extent to which the leader focuses on meeting the human needs of employees while developing relationships. The leader is sensitive to subordinates and communicates to develop trust, support, and respect while looking out for their welfare.

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Ohio State University: Initiating Structure and Consideration Behavior

Likes University of Michigan, The Personnel Research Board of Ohio State University, under the principal direction of Ralph Stogdill, also conducted a study on the same purpose which is to determine effective leadership styles. They developed Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) and from the questionnaires, their findings on leadership styles as follows:

  1. Initiating structure behaviour where the leadership style is essentially the same as the job-centered leadership style of the University of Michigan; which focuses on getting the job done.
  2. Consideration behaviour where this leadership style is essentially the same as the employee-centered leadership style which focuses on meeting people’s needs and developing relationships.

Ohio State University stated that because a leader can be on high or low sides of initiating structure and/or consideration, they developed four leadership styles as follows:

  1. low initiating structure and high consideration,
  2. high initiating structure and high consideration,
  3. low initiating structure and low consideration, and
  4. high initiating structure and low consideration.

Leaders with high structure and low consideration behaviour use one-way communications, and decisions are made by the managers, whereas leaders with high consideration and low structure use two-way communications and tend to share decision making.

Figure 2: Model of Ohio State University illustrates the four leadership styles on their two dimensions.


Conclusion:

1. Similarities between Leadership Models and Their Contributions

  • · Both of the universities have developed a questionnaire and conducted a research that have same objective which is to determine the behaviour of effective leader
  • · Both researches are conducted in same period between 1940s to 1950s.
  • · Both universities developed leadership model that emphasis on same definitions which are on task-oriented and people-oriented style of leadership, even though used term is different.

University

Task oriented style

People oriented style

University of Michigan

Job-centered

Employee-centered

Ohio State University

Initiating structure

Consideration

· The two leadership models of both universities are proven due to strong research support and repeatedly being tested.

2. Differences between Leadership Models and Their Contributions

  • The Ohio State and University of Michigan leadership models are different in that the University of Michigan places the two leadership behaviours at opposite ends of the same continuum, making it one-dimensional. The Ohio State University Model considers the two behaviours independent of one another, making it two-dimensional.
  • University of Michigan’s one dimensional model proposed two leadership styles (1) employee-centered and (2) job-centered while Ohio State leadership model has four leadership styles as follows, (1) low initiating structure and high consideration, (2) high initiating structure and high consideration, (3) low initiating structure and low consideration, and (4) high initiating structure and low consideration.

References

Robert N. Lussier and Christopher F. Achua, (2010) Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development, USA, South-Western Cengage Learning.

Richard L. Daft (2011). Leadership (5th edition). USA: South-Western Cengage Learning.

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