Likert’s Leadership Style

Rensis Likert was an American Social Scientist, an educator, and organizational psychologist known for his research. He specialized in conflict management. In addition to teaching Likert was a writer and contributed too many publications. Dr. Likert, conducted his research on the human behavior with groups or organizations mostly industrial. His manta was every company can have maximum productivity with proper human management.

He mastered the four management styles, exploitative – authoritative system, benevolent- authoritative system, consultative system and participative-group system. The first of these exploitative uses subordinates to make the decisions and the motivation is made using punishment or threats. The employees will feel included, creating a friendlier work environment, a place where they feel appreciated. The benevolent is a system formed like the relationship between a slave and his master. Although we know the slave is always waiting for a chance to take over or escape he doesn’t for fear or lack of self-esteem. The responsibility is with the manager but the workers do all the work and there is little communication between the two. Consultative allows the employees to have a view and voice their opinion whether or not the manager uses the advice doesn’t matter, the idea is to create a sense of an open door policy without it being a true open door because the manager has the last word. Participative –group system is complete confidence in the opinions and decisions of the managers and the workers. This approach is similar to companies who tell their employees to treat the company as if they are shareholders and it’s their company too. The employees are trained and might even all be called managers of this or that, but the title loses its power when used so loosely.

Aussie’s are using the authoritative system and a more autocratic approach to leadership. Likert’s theories are widely used and with the technology age can now be found in an online training class.