The primary purpose of this research project is to discuss the application of leadership theory within a government department. As part of this research, I evaluated my own leadership style as manager of a government department and proposed strategies that will improve my effectiveness as a leader. It is hoped that managers in similar situations can use the information in the literature review and avoid the pitfalls experienced by me.
I begin, in chapter one, with a review of the literature on organisation as an open system and the various subsystems within it. Very important are the managerial subsystems which cut across all other subsystems. Of the many functions of the managerial subsystems, leadership is identified as a desirable and even necessary ingredient of executive success.
In chapter two, I review the basic approaches to leadership research and examine the nature of organisational leadership. The implications of leadership theories on the practice of management are discussed.
In chapter three I deal specifically with management practices that are used by leaders to implement change and job design within the organisation. It is important to combine the knowledge and understanding of:
* the organisation as a living system within the environment (previously dealt with in chapter one); and
* leadership style that can be adopted depending on the situation (chapter two),
before a manager can select the appropriate management practices. The management practices employed must suit the manager's leadership style and be appropriate for the situation.
The system under consideration- the machinery branch - is described in chapter four. In chapter five, I describe the five management projects (in chronological order) undertaken in the machinery branch to-date.
In the concluding chapter (chapter six), the effectiveness of my leadership style 1s evaluated. The main conclusion for my leadership style to-date is that I have concentrated too much on building psychologically supportive relationships amongst system members. I need to divert some of my energy to task direction and upwards management activities. Unless these modifications are made in my leadership style, I can at best hope to be a "popular" leader and will have to leave organisational efficiency and effectiveness to chance.