Leadership Studies Essay Paper on UnifyUnifying Theory of Leadershiping Theory of Leadership

Unifying Theory of Leadership

The Contingency Theory also referred to as goal path or situational theory is one of the leadership theories which argues that there exists no particular way of leading. That is, any leadership style applied is determined by certain situations (Dinh et al., 2014). According to this theory, leadership is a process that involves people interacting with each other and their environment (Kilburg & Donohue, 2011). Unified theory of leadership accommodates various factors such as explaining the dynamic and contingent exchanges that occur between leaders and their followers as well as emphasizing on their diverse personalities and other characteristics applied during leadership (Kilburg & Donohue, 2011).

Contingency theory does not therefore present unified theory of leadership since it does not explain the specific skills and knowledge that leaders and followers possess. For instance goal path and situational theories emphasize that leaders apply various behaviors in influencing their followers and that the supporting and correcting behaviors result to different outcomes for the organizations and those involved. However, they do not demonstrate the manner in which the specific exchanges produce failure or success for the leaders (Dinh et al., 2014). Although the theory has a significant contribution in the collective understanding of leadership it only looks at certain parts of a natural phenomena and how they relate to each other, it correlates huge amounts of factual leadership information but does not produce concepts that are more comprehensive and explanatory of a leadership style applied (Kilburg & Donohue, 2011).

The contingency theory needs to account for a number of things so that it can demonstrate to be a unifying theory of leadership. It should view leadership as an emergent property that consists of complex human systems. This ensures that unexpected macroscopic behavior can be produced when expressing leadership without having to inspect the organization systems when predicting this behavior. The theory should ensure that any member of the organization after looking at different conditions and situations prevailing in an organization can be able express leadership on them (Wheatley, 2011). It should put into consideration that a wide range of personal characteristics like knowledge, abilities, skills, attributes, values, personality, virtues, ethics, vices, history, culture and other diverse characteristic of members of an organization have  a big impact in the manner in which effective leadership is carried out (Kilburg and Donohue, 2011). The theory should bring out the understanding that feelings, thoughts and behaviors possessed by members of an organization create the complex and mutual influences through which leadership is expressed.

The theory should emphasize that human relationships are build through the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are expressed over time as individuals perform their duties in the organization and they form the basis of everything that goes on in the organization (Wren, 2007). The human relationships also either enhance or disrupt an organizations performance through the systems it has put in place that include its structures, processes, functions, inputs and outputs. It ought to consider that the external environments to which an organization contributes and competes with in the global ecology of human organizations also play a key role in success or failure of an organization. The degree of success or failure is used as a broad measure of the organizations ability in coming up with strategies that direct and guide organization adaptability to the global environment (Wren, 2007).

The parts of the theory should have many subcomponents which can potentially interact in an arranged and random manner to come up with different ways that an organization can handle its divergent experiences when offering leadership (Wheatley, 2011). The theory should consider the manner in which leadership improves the capacity of its followers and organizations so that they can thrive in evolutionary terms (Kilburg & Donohue, 2011).


Dinh, J. E., Lord, R. G., Gardner, W. L., Meuser, J. D., Liden, R. C. & Hu, J. (2014). “Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives.” The Leadership Quarterly25(1), 36-62.

Kilburg, R. R. & Donohue, M. D. (2011). “Toward a “grand unifying theory” of leadership: Implications for consulting psychology.” Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research63(1), 6.

Wheatley, M. (2011). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world. ReadHowYouWant. com.

Wren, J. T. (2007). A quest for a grand theory of leadership. The quest for a general theory of leadership, 1.