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Leadership in Hospitality Industry

: 12.01.2014
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In the beginning of this report it would be essential to say what leadership is and its history. According to James MacGregor Burns, leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

The study of leadership has been important to humans since the dawn of the civilization. The concepts of leadership, leader, and follower are represented in Egyptian hieroglyphics written 5000 years ago. Between 400 and 300BC the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle wrote about leadership and the requirements, characteristics, and education of leaders (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Leadership is central to the human condition (Wren, 1995) and has been found to be important to all societies, although specific patterns of behavior vary over time and across cultures (Bass, 1990)(http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Although we can see that leadership is being an ancient notion there was no evidence of existence of the word leadership in the English language until the yearly nineteenth century. According to Bass (1990), the appearance of the concept of leadership in political, sociological, and organizational writings was usually accompanied by a unique and ambiguous definition (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Bryman (1992) defines leadership as a social process in which leaders influence followers to achieve group goals. Although leadership described in many cases as a process, most of the theories and researches look at the person to understand the nature of leadership.

History of leadership

Leadership can be defined by three phases:

    • Leaders traits
    • Leaders behaviors; and
    • Leaders qualities

From the turn of the twentieth century through the 1940s, leadership research focused on identifying traits that distinguish leaders from non-leaders (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). As example we can see Stogdills review of the leader trait research.

This research was based on the idea that leaders were born, not made, and the key to success was simply in identifying those people who were born to be great leaders (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Nevertheless a lot of work was done to identify the trait, the research failed to identify a universal set of traits that differentiated effective leaders.

In the early 1950s a second major thrust appeared. This thrust looked at leader behaviors in an attempt to determine what successful leaders do, not how they look to others (Halpin and Winer, 1957) (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Two primary, independent factors were identified by these studies:

  • Consideration; and
  • Initiation structures.

The impact of this work was in part the notion that leadership was not necessarily an inborn trait, but instead effective leadership methods could be taught to employees (Saal and Knight, 1988). A lot of progress was made in identifying what behaviors differentiated leaders from followers so that the behaviors could be taught (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Another impact of this work has to do with the broadening of managements focus to include both people-oriented activities along with task-oriented activities (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). These studies helped categorize leaders based on their behavior.

Another approach dealt with the interaction between the leaders traits, the leaders behaviors, and the situation in which the leader exists (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Contingency theories make the assumption that the effects of one variable on leadership are contingent on other variables. In other words, meaning that leadership could be different in every situation. Although he found that certain leadership styles were more effective in certain situations, the contingency approach was more theoretical.

Culture as well plays an important role in leadership research. According to Schein, 1985, culture related issues must be clearly identified in order for leaders to be successful. It is important to notice that one of the aspects of the culture is change. Therefore, leaders must be able to adapt to the change in order to be more successful. Also some words have to be said about culture management as another important aspect of leadership. Culture management deals with the ability of leaders to know and understand what the organizational culture is, modifying that culture to meet the needs of the organization as it progresses (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Therefore, it is obvious that leaders need to work within the culture to be most successful.

Leadership and motivation

The study of motivation is extremely important as all the above theories depend on it. This study suggests that leadership is less a specific set of behaviors than it is creating an environment in which people are motivated to produce and in the direction of the leader. By creating the right environment, one in which people want to be involved and feel committed to their work, leaders are able influence and direct the activities of others (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Herzberg (1964) differentiated between elements in the work place that led to employee satisfaction and elements that led to employee dissatisfaction. These elements can be thought as motivators as employees are motivated to achieve them. For example, Herzberg labeled hygiene factors as they are necessary to keep employees from dissatisfaction (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Moreover, there are some need theories that people have needs for certain results. One of these theories is Maslows hierarchy of needs, which suggests that some needs are more basic than the others and people are motivated to satisfy them (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Certainly, work satisfy some of these needs, but some people have more advanced needs and it is essential to know whether leaders can develop an environment that will satisfy those needs. One more theory by Alderfer (1969) suggests that there are only three needs that can be. They are: existence needs, relatedness needs, and growth needs. His theory was based on the thought that people can move up and down the hierarchy and can be motivated by many needs at any one time.

Lets look now at another need theory, which called Murrays (1938) manifest needs theory. His view about peoples needs what that that people can experience a variety of needs, such as need for achievement or need for power and that is not necessary that everyone would have the same needs.

There are also some additional motivation theories such as expectancy theory, equity theory, goal setting, and reinforcement. Each of this has implications for the approach leaders can take to dealing with followers (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). The reason why motivation theories are added to leadership issue is that because of the emphasis on the followers themselves and what causes them to act, instead of focusing on the leaders.

Therefore, leadership is not only the process and activity of the person who is in leadership position, but also encompasses the environment this leader creates and how this leader responds to the surroundings, as well as the particular skills and activities of the people being led (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

The transformational-transactional leadership

Transactional leadership stems from more traditional view of workers and organizations, and it involves the position power of the leader to use followers for task completion (Burns, 1978). Transformational leadership, however, searches for ways to help motivate followers by satisfying higher-order needs and more fully engaging them in the process of the work (Bass, 1985).

Transformational leaders can initiate and cope with change, and they create something new out of old. They build strong relationships with others while supporting and encouraging each individuals development (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

A very interesting theory of Super Leadership is offered by Manz and Sims (1991). They challenge the traditional paradigm of leadership as one person doing something to other people (Manz and Sims, 1991). Instead, they suggest, the most appropriate leader is one who can lead others to lead themselves (Manz and Sims, 1991, p.18). They suggest that leaders become great by unleashing the potential and abilities of followers, consequently having the knowledge of many people instead of relying solely on their own skills and abilities (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

To understand better what is transforming leadership lets look at it as at the body, which consists of the heart, and head and hands. There are three aspects of leadership: supervisory, strategic and inspirational. They are going to be discussed more detailed further down.

The heart

The most universally encountered aspect of leadership is the inspirational leadership of the heart. The essential, distinguishing the feature of inspirational leadership is that it never resorts to the use of coercive power or authority (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). To energize enthusiastic followers, inspirational leaders create a compelling vision, which changes peoples view at the world around them. Another change that vision creates is that people change way they relate to one another.

There are two ways of affecting people minds by creating a vision. First one is that it clarifies understanding, and the second one is that it encourages alignment. So we can see that by its impact on the peoples personal beliefs, the leaders vision builds the psychological ground for common action

(Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

Nichols defines it as that activity which stimulates purposeful activity in others by changing the way they look at the world around them and relate one another.

The head

A strategic leadership can be called a nominal head of the organization. The leaders responsibility in this kind of leadership is the creation of an effective organization (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

There are two principal components of the strategic leadership: path-finding and culture-building. First relates an organization to the business environment and the second one helps to people into membership of an organization. The role of the organizational leadership is to identify what organization it will be and where it is going. A very important thing to say is that managers must look beyond the routine daily operations in order to find a better way (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). In strategic leadership managers must use their head to ensure the effectiveness of the organization.

The hands

A supervisory leadership is the job of the mangers hands. Every manager is familiar with this kind of leadership in his or her particular situation. In other they are familiar with the job that has to be done and the people that will do that job.


The concept of charisma comes to us from Romans. Also in the New Testament it refers to gift from the Holy Spirit. Max Weber used this term for theological use. He viewed charisma as a pure form of authority based on of the gift of diving grace (Weber, 1968).

Contemporary conceptualization of charismatic leadership have become inclusive of more leaders as the concept changed over the time (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0025-1747.htm).

The concept of charisma has fertilized the study of leadership. The term has taken on a number of different, but over planning meanings: leaders magical qualities; emotional bond between leader and led etc. (Paul et al, http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0025-1747.htm).

A lot of theories of charismatic leadership appeared. These theories did not emphasise the role of charisma, instead they take a look at leaders vision and values. For example, Berlew (1974) suggested that leaders who attempt to bring change in organizations were similar to charismatic leaders trying to effect changes in society (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0025-1747.htm).

House (1977) defined charismatic leadership as a leader who has a high degree of charismatic effects on followers. According to House, followers of charismatic leader become more self-confident and can set and accept higher goals.

All of the contemporary charismatic leadership theories include elements related to a leaders emphasis on a purpose, vision, or mission (House and Shamir, 1993).

Gender differences in leadership styles

Over the past two decades there is a debate about whether female and male managers have different leadership styles.

Though the early 1990s the research showed that there were no gender differences in leadership styles. Even though a lot of researches support the view that there are no gender differences in leadership styles, some differences were identified. Those differences were identified based on self-reported data collected from a sample of male and female accountants (Burke et al, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

According to Powel (1993), intuitive reasoning suggest that early socialization patterns develop different qualities in women and men that would likely result in variations in leadership styles. The earlier research found a lack of for the notion that women utilize different leadership styles than do men (Bass, 1981) (Burke et al, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).


Hospitality Leadership

A major influence on effective performance in the hospitality industry is the nature of the manager-subordinate relationship. This entails the process of leadership and the choice of an appropriate style of managerial behaviour (Mullins, 1998, p.397).

A good manager should have solid character traits, leadership skills and good management ethics. The good question is: What is the difference between managing and leading?

One leadership teacher defined it as follows:



Is a copy
Focuses on system+structure
Relies on control
Has a short-range view
Asks how and when
Has an eye on the bottom line  
Accepts status quo
Does things right

Is an original
Focuses on people
Inspires trust
Has a long-range perspective
Asks what and why
Has an eye on the horizon
Challenges it
Does the right thing


In the beginning of development of the hospitality industry, when a lot of the hospitality organizations were family owned, leadership was associated with ownership. However, with a growth of hospitality organizations, a more broadly based approach to the appointment and development of leaders were needed. According to Walker, the real key to leadership involves developing appropriate personality characteristics and the talents of other members of the organization (Mullins, 1998, p. 403).

Moreover, Walker identifies some of the most important indicators of the appropriate temperament for leadership:

     Self-control (leaders should be above average in their ability to exercise self-control).

     Sense of value (respect the intangible, spiritual side of life).

     Drive (a strong drive is an advantage in any assignment).

     Moodiness (the manager should be optimistic, cheerful and generally capable of maintaining morale and team spirit).

     Sensitivity (the one who is sensitive to himself is sensitive and to others, so have a high potential to managerial success).

     Defence of ideas (managers should be willing and able to support and defend their own ideas).

     Self-awareness (the person needing less recognition for individual contribution is more successful for managerial success).

     Balance (the ability to defend their ideas and a low degree of self-consciousness, coupled with a high degree of sensitivity to other people) (Mullins, 1998, p.403).

According to Mullins, a number of recent articles showed that the hospitality industry had occurred a dramatic change and that the importance and benefits of transformational leadership are more obvious.

A lot of researches show that demographic style of leadership is more likely to produce effective performance from work groups. Also a human relations, people oriented approach is more likely to lead to job satisfaction and group cohesiveness (Mullins, 1998, p.424).

However, it is not always that demographic ways of leadership are the best. Sometimes, it happens that autocratic style of leadership is more effective.

There is no one best style of leadership which will result in the maintenance of morale among the group members and high work performance. There are many variables, which underlie the effectiveness of managerial leadership in the hospitality industry, including:

     The type and nature of establishment, its goals and objectives, and the organizational culture and climate

     The characteristic of the manager, personality, attitudes, abilities, value system and personal credibility

     The characteristics of subordinates, their needs and expectations, motivation and commitment, and their knowledge, confidence and experience

     The basis of the leadership relationship and the type of power and influence

     The relationships between the manager and the group, and among members of the group

     The type of problem and nature of the managers decisions

     The nature of the tasks to be achieved, the extend to which they are structured or routine, the technology and work organization

     The organization structure and systems of management

     The nature and influence of the external environment (Mullins, 1998, p.424).


In this work a lot of theories of leadership were covered. Despite it, the leadership issue still remains not well understood. Leaders have to be aware of the times, because they are changing faster than we can imagine. Leaders knowledge and practice must accommodate themselves to these changes if they do not want to be left behind (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).

References and Bibliography


MULLINS J. LAURIE (1998). Managing people in the Hospitality industry. 3rd edition. British Library Cataloguing in Publication data.

Electronic Sources

1.    BURKE SARAH AND COLLINS M. KAREN (2001), Gender differences in leadership styles and management skills. Women in Management Review. Vol.16, No 5, pp.244-256. Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

2.    HORNER MELISSA (1997), Leadership theory: past, present and future. Team Performance Management. Vol.3, No 4, pp.270-287. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

3.    MANNING T. TRACEY (2002), Gender, managerial level, transformational leadership and work satisfaction. Women in Management Review. Vol.17, No 5, pp.207-216. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

4.    McCRIMMON MITCH (1995), Bottom-up leadership. Executive Development. Vol.8. No 5, pp.6-12. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

5.    NICHOLLS JOHN (1994), The Heart, Head and Hands of Transforming Leadership. Leadership and Organization Development Journal. Vol.15, No 6, pp.8-15. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

6.    PAUL JIM, COSTLEY L. DAN, HOWELL P. JON AND DORFMAN W. PETER (2002), The mutability of charisma in leadership research. Management Decision. Vol. 40, No 1, pp.192-200. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

7.    SARROS C. JAMES AND SANTORE C. JOSEPH (2001), The transformational-transactional leadership model in practice. Leadership and Organization Development Journal. Vol.22, No 8, pp.383-393. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)

8.    http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~ha100c-c/class/management/leadership/lesson1-2-1.html

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