Leaders may be important but there are other elements that are also important and it is often these that make the difference between organizational success and failure. Discuss, using examples and drawing on the concepts taught in this unit


Leaders play an important role in all organizations. However, this is not the only factor that determines whether an organization will achieve success or failure. Other conditions, some of them beyond a leader’s control, ultimately determine the outcomes of an organization. This paper will explore three such factors: people working in the organization (membership of the organization), the task being performed, and the organization itself. The paper will examine the extent to which these three elements influence organizational outcomes in a manner that extends beyond the control of an organizational leader.

Other people working in the organization (membership of the organization)

Members of the organization play a critical role in the realization of organizational goals. It is impossible to talk about leadership without talking about followers. Every organization hires employees who bring with them unique values, skills, experience, attitudes, educational backgrounds, goals, and career preferences. The likelihood that the leader will establish an influential relationship with each of them depends largely on these characteristics. The view that the leader holds regarding the vision of the organization may not necessarily resemble those of employees in their personal or collective capacities.

Regardless of how charismatic a leader is, he cannot prevent individual employees from developing their own independent views regarding how the organization should operate, how its systems should be structured, and how to maintain synergy among workgroups. In their collective capacities, employees gradually develop an organizational culture that leaders often find difficult to handle. In the long run, the culture becomes the overarching determinant of organizational success and failure.

In every organization, different sub-contexts tend to emerge as employees and leaders chart a way forward on how to work together in order to achieve organizational objectives. These sub-contexts can either facilitate or act as barriers to effective communication. This means that they can either enable or hinder the realization of the vision of the organization. In situations where the systems and structures are misaligned with the tasks to be performed, the organization is likely to suffer from the problem of wastage and inefficiency. Since members of the organization have a profound influence on how structures and systems operate, they tend to have a great impact on the degree of success of leaders’ initiatives.

To be effective, leaders must constantly work with their followers in scanning the environment to ensure that corrections are made whenever the systems in place are found to be misaligned with the task to be performed. Despite their strategic thinking, ability to development, and creativity in promoting commitment to organizational strategy, leaders may find it difficult to gather all the information required to make informed decisions. This is where employees come in with genuine suggestions on how improvements can be made.

No leadership can happen in the absence of followers. Thus, any meaningful leadership model must encompass followers or members of the organization. Such a model should also describe how these members can influence the organization with their knowledge, skills, experience, and preferences. Since they tend to be affected by environmental pressures in almost the same way the leader does, their views should be taken into consideration in decision making. Leaders who ignore the suggestions of followers are likely to encounter serious challenges in their quest to actualize their vision for the organization. After all, the followers’ collective characteristics constitute a powerful force that determines whether a leader will develop an influential relationship with them or not.

The task being performed by the organization

One of the most unique things about leaders is that they are able to adopt the so-called Leadership Point of View in their assessment of a situation with a view to determine the tasks to be performed. Unfortunately, it is difficult for even the best leader to make an accurate assessment of the situation. Some tasks may be extremely complex or the array of alternatives available for an organization may be simply enormous. In either case, it becomes difficult for the leader to determine which task needs to be performed. Some organizations are designed to handle certain tasks and not others. Leaders must make hard choices on

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