A stereotype is a rigid, widely held prototype about the general characteristics of a group of people. Many stereotypes are about racial and ethnic groups, age groups, and the sexes. Other stereotypes have to do with such acquired characteristics as education or occupation. Stereotypes of accountants and engineers hold that both groups have poor social skills, and a common stereotype of people with MBA degrees is that these people are arrogant and overly concerned with the bottom line.
Stereotypes cause problems for at least two reasons. First, because they are so general, it it risky to apply them to particular people. Many individuals differ from stereotypes applied to them. A ...view middle of the document...
Democratic values are predominant in the western societies, and such institutions as schools, labor unions, and churches help foster these values in political, economic, and social affairs. At the same time, authoritarian leaders are numerous and are often effective.
An authoritarian leader gets others to follow orders through actual or implied threat, the authority and prestige of an organizational position, or a hard-boiled demeanor. Authoritarians strongly insist on getting their own way, feeling little or no need for the ideas of others. Authoritarian leadership exalts the leaders at the expense of others in the group. Often the authoritarian leader takes credit for accomplishments but blames failures on followers. Yet authoritarian leadership is not necessarily uncomfortable to followers: many people feel more secure under strong leaders.
Democratic leaders lead mainly by persuasion and example rather than by force, fear, status, or power. They consider the opinions and feelings of followers, make them feel important, and attempt to put individual goals above their own personal objectives. They encourage participation indecision making.
Of course, autocracy and democracy is a matter of degree. Few leaders are at either extreme, and most are in between. Research indicates that in most situations democratically led group is likely to be superior in accomplishment to a group led by an authoritarian. The classic study reporting such findings were conducted by Lewin, Lippit, and White, who studied autocratic, laissez-faire, and democratic leadership produced less aggressive behavior, less dependence on their leader , more group initiative, and more productive behavior than the other two types of leadership.
The case for the superiority of democratic leadership and authoritarian leadership is not yet conclusive, however. Leavitt asserts that even though people cooperate better. It is well to note Leavitt‘s caution, but also to recognize that participation can take many forms, some more helpful than others. The extent to which group members value participation varies. If they want it and do not have it, they usually resist imposed decisions. If they are expected to participate when they do not strongly feel the need, they may give only lip service rather than inspired compliance. Difficulties arise when managers use participations subordinate as a shield, delaying a difficult decision by keeping it before the group. They can also abdicate responsibility for decisions on the grounds that “the group decided”.
Democratic leadership, however, is not an absence of leadership. It is a mistake to define participation as the equivalent of anarchy or majority votes. Laissez-faire leadership may create more anxiety and tension than either democratic or autocratic leadership, because the people and organization flounder from lack of direction and control.
There are several reason for the apparent superiority of the democratically lead group....