Leadership Theories In Business: Analysis Of Autocratic, Situational, System, And Transformational Leadership

Autocratic Leadership

The report puts forward an analysis of leadership in business by identifying the strengths and weakness of various leadership theories. The theories of leadership under discussion are autocratic leadership, situational and contingency leadership, systems leadership and transformational leadership.

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According to Iqbal, Anwar and Haider (2015), autocratic leadership describes the authoritarian leadership style where a team is able to reach a quicker solution often making errors and getting work accomplished compared to the other groups. This particular leadership style result in a quicker solution. This is followed in organizations that faces trouble and requires an immediate turnaround to ensure its survival.

Naile and Selesho (2014) however, the strength of the leadership style remains in the ability of the leader in choosing the accurate path for an organization when it approaches towards critical intersection. As the leadership style is dependent upon a situation there may be instances when the leader might not be aware of the best solution. Certain aspects remain integral to a situation which the leaders must consider before providing a solution. According to Khan et al. (2015), this leadership style also comes with various weaknesses. Autocratic leadership does not provide a chance in learning from the mistakes and thereby results in lower productivity in the long term. This leadership style has a presence of hostility. Besides, in these leadership skills when the leader remains weak it results in worse situation thereby making him unpopular amongst his subordinates. Another weakness of this leadership style remains in the people being empowered rather than ordered that implies they are trusted for accomplishing their work. This acts as a demotivating factor for the majority subordinates thereby resulting in lower morale.

According to Thompson and Glaso (2015), situational leadership refers to the leadership style where a manager or leader adjusts his style for matching the development of the workers he is planning to influence. Here, the style of leadership might undergo continuous change for meeting the needs of the people depending on a situation.

Yukl (2013) however mentioned that the strength of the situational leadership lies in putting forward a credible model for training the people in becoming effective leaders.  Moreover, this style of leadership can be easily understood and applied sensibly in varied situations. The strength of this leadership approach also lays its leader flexibility. Ghasabeh, Soosay and Reaiche (2015) criticizes this leadership style saying that it hardly addresses the issue of one to one versus the group leadership within organizational setting.

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Situational and Contingency Leadership

In contrary to this Dinh et al. (2014) defined contingency leadership as the leadership style that emphasizes the effectiveness of the leadership efficiency on matching the style of the leader to the right situation.

Fiedler (2015) stated that the strength of the leadership approach lies in its reliability in achieving effective leadership since it is based on the empirical research. He also stated that this style of leadership emphasizes on implementing a leadership style based on the situation. It was further stated that the leadership approach helped in determining the most suitable kind of leadership based on particular situation. It also helps organizations in developing the leadership profiles for human resource planning. According to Daft (2014), the weakness of contingency leadership lies in the fact that it does not have enough solutions for undertaking action in different situations. Although the approach seems simple but becomes complicated when put to action.  Moreover, this is quite reactive instead of being proactive.

According to Macdonald, Burke and Stewart (2017), systems leadership enables leaders within an organization in creating situations where the people at all the levels works productively based on their potential. This leadership provides the leaders with tools that help in predicting the behavior of the people within organizations.

Becerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal (2014) stated that the strength this leadership style enabled in enhancing the adaptability of the organization to the environmental changes. This style of leadership is dynamic and adaptive and focuses on the uniformity of decision making. On the other hand Van Wart (2013) stated that the weakness of this leadership style lies in the delays of decision. This leadership style also does not cater to the contingencies or a specific style of functioning within the organization. However, systems leadership may not be applicable to smaller organizations.

Braun et al. (2013) defined transformational leadership as the leadership style where the leader undertakes working with a team for identifying the needed change and creating the vision for guiding the change through motivation and thereby executing the change along with the committee members within a group.

Breevaart et al. (2014) stated that strengths of transformational leadership helps in finding a better way to leadership. This style of leadership helps in finding out the things that does not work in carrying out the leadership activities. This type of leadership approach caters to the niche market. On the contrary, Kovjanic, Schuh and Jonas (2013) pointed out the weakness stating that this leadership style involves huge risk in putting people off by taking up challenges. This leadership approach creates conflict with people resisting change.


On a concluding note it can be said that each of the leadership theories attempts in putting forward a description of successful leaders characterized by some strengths and weakness. The strengths and the weakness depend upon situation that forces the leader in adapting the befitting traits of leadership.


Becerra-Fernandez, I. and Sabherwal, R., 2014. Knowledge management: Systems and processes. Routledge.

Braun, S., Peus, C., Weisweiler, S. and Frey, D., 2013. Transformational leadership, job satisfaction, and team performance: A multilevel mediation model of trust. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), pp.270-283.

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A., Hetland, J., Demerouti, E., Olsen, O.K. and Espevik, R., 2014. Daily transactional and transformational leadership and daily employee engagement. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 87(1), pp.138-157.

Daft, R.L., 2014. The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.

Dinh, J.E., Lord, R.G., Gardner, W.L., Meuser, J.D., Liden, R.C. and Hu, J., 2014. Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), pp.36-62.

Fiedler, F.R.E.D., 2015. Contingency theory of leadership. Organizational Behavior 1: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership, 232, pp.01-2015.

Ghasabeh, M.S., Soosay, C. and Reaiche, C., 2015. The emerging role of transformational leadership. The Journal of Developing Areas, 49(6), pp.459-467.

Iqbal, N., Anwar, S. and Haider, N., 2015. Effect of leadership style on employee performance. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 5(5), pp.1-6.

Khan, M.S., Khan, I., Qureshi, Q.A., Ismail, H.M., Rauf, H., Latif, A. and Tahir, M., 2015. The styles of leadership: A critical review. Public Policy and Administration Research, 5(3), pp.87-92.

Kovjanic, S., Schuh, S.C. and Jonas, K., 2013. Transformational leadership and performance: An experimental investigation of the mediating effects of basic needs satisfaction and work engagement. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86(4), pp.543-555.

Macdonald, I., Burke, C. and Stewart, K., 2017. Systems leadership: Creating positive organisations. Routledge.

Naile, I. and Selesho, J.M., 2014. The role of leadership in employee motivation. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(3), p.175.

Thompson, G. and Glasø, L., 2015. Situational leadership theory: a test from three perspectives. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(5), pp.527-544.

Van Wart, M., 2013. Lessons from leadership theory and the contemporary challenges of leaders. Public Administration Review, 73(4), pp.553-565.

Yukl, G.A., 2013. Leadership in organizations. Pearson Education.