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Organizational Behaviour and Design

Essay by   •  January 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,134 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,591 Views

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According to Manz & Neck self-leadership is a process through which individuals control their own behavior, influencing and leading themselves through the use of specific sets of behavioral and cognitive strategies. Self-leadership as a concept emerged in the mid-1980s as an expansion of self-management, which was originally rooted in clinical self-control theory. Recently self-leadership has been widely used by Academics, managers and business executives in the work places.

Self-leadership is a self-influence process through which people achieve the self-direction and self-motivation necessary to perform (Manz, 1986; Manz and Neck, 2004). Some specific behavioral and cognitive strategies are included in self-leadership which are designed to positively influence personal effectiveness and efficiencies. There are three primary categories of self-leadership:

- Behavior-focused strategies: the goal of strategies in this group is to improve an individual's self-awareness in order to assist behavioral management. There are some subcategories under this group: self-observation (first step toward changing or eliminating ineffective and unproductive behaviors), self-goal setting (setting challenging and specific goals can significantly increase individual performance levels), self-rewards, self-punishment (positively framed and introspective examination of failures and undesirable behaviors leading to the reshaping of such behaviors) and self-cueing (effective means of encouraging constructive behaviors and reducing or eliminating destructive ones). As a result behavior-focused self-leadership strategies are designed to encourage positive, desirable behaviors that lead to successful outcomes, while suppressing negative, undesirable behaviors that lead to unsuccessful results.

- Natural reward strategies: the aim of this group is to generate situations in which a person is motivated or rewarded by intrinsically enjoyable aspects of the task. There are two primary natural reward strategies: building more pleasant and enjoyable features into a given activity so that the task itself becomes naturally rewarding and the second strategy consists of shaping perceptions by focusing attention away from the unpleasant aspects of a task and refocusing it on the task's inherently rewarding aspects (Manz and Neck, 2004; Manz and Sims, 2001).

- Constructive thought pattern strategies: these strategies are designed to help the development of constructive thought patterns that can positively impact performance (Manz and Neck, 2004; Neck and Manz, 1992). The key in these strategies is to replace dysfunctional irrational beliefs with more constructive thought processes. Also replacing negative and destructive self-talk (what people covertly tell themselves) with more positive internal dialogues.

Generally self-leadership can be applied to two primary areas: self-managing teams and empowering leadership. Self-managing teams literature prescribed self-leadership among team members as an integral part of the self-managing process (e.g. Manz and Sims, 1986, 1987, 1994; Manz, 1990a). The concept of empowerment (e.g. Conger and Kanungo, 1988) has been explored as a possible alternative to the heroic leadership model of the 1970s and 1980s. The concept of Super Leadership (the process of leading others to lead themselves) was introduced as an effective means for empowering followers and creating self-leaders (e.g. Manz and Sims, 1989, 1991; Manz, 1990b, 1991, 1992a). Those managers that engage in behaviors that facilitate self-leadership strategies such as self-observation, self-goal setting and self-reward (Manz and Sims, 1987) are the most effective external leaders of self-managing work teams. There are several applications of self-leadership within contextual settings: spirituality in the work place, performance appraisals, organizational change, total quality management, self-leading teams, entrepreneurship, diversity management, job satisfaction, non-profit management, goal setting/goal performance, team performance, team sustainability, succession planning, ethics, etc.

One of the most common criticisms of self-leadership is that it is conceptually indistinct from and redundant with classic theories of motivation such as self-regulation. Many of t self-leadership strategies are founded upon other established theories of motivation and self-influence. Therefore, theorists have questioned the extent to which self-leadership is a unique and distinguishable construct with respect to these related motivational and personality constructs. Some others have suggested that self-leadership is a mere repackaging of individual differences already explained by previously existing personality constructs such as conscientiousness. The answer to this critic is that these theorists have failed to understand that self-leadership is a normative model rather than a descriptive or deductive theory. Normative theories focus on how something should be done, but deductive or descriptive theories seek to explain the basic operation of various phenomena and not to clearly explain the applications of these theories in specific managerial issues.

Despite these kinds of critics, it can be proven that self-leadership can operate within other broader context and theories such as self-regulation theory, social cognitive theory, and intrinsic motivation theory and self-control theory. As an instance, it can be shown that self-leadership strategies operate within the broader theoretical context of self-regulation in the sense that specific self-leadership strategies may serve to increase self-regulatory effectiveness by improving self-focus, goal-setting processes, goal valence and saliency, feedback processes, and task-related confidence or performance expectancies. It means that self-leadership is a complimentary set of strategies designed to improve the self-regulation process.

There are some predictable outcomes for self-leadership such as: commitment, independence, creativity/innovation, trust, potency, positive affect, job satisfaction, psychological empowerment and self-efficacy. These outcome variables may lead to higher levels of individual (team and organizational) performance as shown in this figure:

Figure 1 A model of self-leadership theoretical contexts and performance mechanisms

As it mentioned earlier the first category of self-leadership strategies is behavior-focused strategies. Although there is no direct empirical evidence suggesting a relationship exists between self-leadership behavioral-focused strategies and job satisfaction, there is an extensive literature arguing that there is a relationship between leadership and job satisfaction (Bass, 1990; Hater and Bass, 1988). Moreover, as it is discussed earlier the use

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