Leaders and followers may have different views about the climate of a group or an organization. People in upper levels of responsibility often evaluate conditions more favorably than do people in lower levels. See the example in Figure 5–1.
Extent to Which Leaders and Followers Agree on Organizational Conditions
Patterns of Leadership
How do organizations become what they are? Who decides whether an organization will be enlightened, supportive, impoverished, or exploitive? Although members may have considerable influence, organizational climate is determined primarily by leaders. Those in charge establish the character and define norms of behaviors.62
Management author Rensis Likert identifies four patterns of leadership that correspond to the four types of organizational climate. His conclusions are based on studies of thousands of leaders in widely different kinds of organizations, both inside and outside the United States. A description of each of the four patterns of leadership follows.63
Pattern I Leadership (Exploitive)
Exploitive leadership is autocratic and hierarchical, with virtually no participation by members. Leaders make decisions, and members are expected to comply without question. Leaders show little confidence or trust in others, and members do not feel free to discuss job-related problems with leaders. In a free social and economic order, Pattern I organizations rarely survive because people avoid them as much as possible. Where they do exist, they are characterized by a lack of loyalty and recurrent financial crises.
Pattern II Leadership (Impoverished)
Impoverished leadership makes some attempt to avoid being completely autocratic. Power remains at the top, but members are given occasional opportunities for participation in the decision-making process. Pattern II organizations fall into two categories that determine their relative success. Successful Pattern II organizations are benevolent autocracies in which leaders have genuine concern for the welfare of members. Failing page 82Pattern II organizations are autocracies that do not consider the interests or ideas of members. Some organizations are founded by autocratic but benevolent leaders, who achieve good results. Then, as time passes and new leaders assume power, the autocratic style of leadership is maintained but benevolence is not, and the organization fails.
Pattern III Leadership (Supportive)
Supportive leadership shows a great deal of interest and confidence in members. Power resides in leaders, but there is good communication and participation throughout the organization. People understand the goals of the organization, and commitment to achieve them is widespread. Members feel free to discuss job-related problems with leaders. This leadership pattern involves broad member participation and involvement in decision-making activities.
Pattern IV Leadership (Enlightened)
Enlightened leadership delegates power to the logical focus of interest and concern for a problem. People at all levels of the organization have a high degree of freedom to initiate, coordinate, and execute plans to accomplish goals. Communication is open, honest, and uncensored. People are treated with trust rather than suspicion. Leaders ask for ideas and try to use others’ suggestions. Pattern IV leadership results in high satisfaction and productivity. Absenteeism and turnover are low, strikes are nonexistent, and efficiency is high.
Likert describes the Pattern IV organization as follows:
A Pattern IV organization is made up of interlocking work groups with a high degree of group loyalty among the members and favorable attitudes among peers, supervisors, and subordinates.
Consideration for others and skill in problem solving and other group functions are present. These skills permit effective participation in decisions on common problems. Participation is used, for example, to establish objectives that are a satisfactory integration of the needs of all the members of the organization.
Members of the Pattern IV organization are highly motivated to achieve the organization’s goals. High levels of reciprocal influence occur, and a high level of coordination is achieved in the organization.
Communication is efficient and effective. There is a flow from one part of the organization to another of all the relevant information important for each decision and action.
The leadership in the Pattern IV organization has developed an effective system for interaction, problem solving, and organizational achievement. This leadership is technically competent and maintains high performance goals.64
Four principles should be followed to develop an enlightened, Pattern IV organization:
1.View human resources as the organization’s greatest asset.
2.Treat every individual with understanding, dignity, warmth, and support.
3.Tap the constructive power of groups through visioning and team building.
4.Set high performance goals at every level of the organization.65
Likert recommends that all organizations adopt the enlightened principles of Pattern IV leadership. He estimates that U.S. organizations, as a whole, are between Pattern II and Pattern III, and that a shift to Pattern IV would improve employee morale and productivity by 20 percent to 40 percent, or more.66
Research supports Likert’s ideas. Study after study shows that when an organization moves to Pattern IV leadership, performance effectiveness improves, costs decrease, and gains occur in the overall satisfaction and health of the members of the organization. In addition, research findings show that Pattern IV leadership is applicable to every size and type of organization, including private businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies.67
How important are organizational climate and enlightened leadership practices? Management author John Hoerr states: “We are in a global economy. To have world-class quality and costs and the ability to assimilate new technology, an organization must have world-class ability to develop human capabilities. This can’t be a drag on the system; it has to be a leading variable.”68