1) Comment on the limitations of the questionnaire approach in leadership evaluation.
It is known that a great deal of different researches have already been carried out by the experts who are engaged in studying the leadership behavior. In order to investigate leadership behavior, the researchers used various methods such as questionnaires, laboratory experiments, field experiments, critical accidents. Questionnaire approach in evaluation of leadership is considered to be a traditional one as it was used in early researches carried out by the psychologists in 1950-1960s. It is clear that any research method has its limitations. Gary Yukl argues that there are certain
limitations in this research method which are represented by the following errors:
”¢ some doubtful items which are difficult to understand and which are interpreted in different ways by different respondents.
I also think that it is very difficult for the respondents to recall all the details of the leadership behavior as it can include a rather long period. That is why it is impossible to get the accurate data. This fact can lead to wrong results in the research. (Bass 21)
”¢ Response bias can be the main cause of errors in the research. The responders can easily omit some facts and to answer the question without mentioning some certain differences in the behavior of the leader.
I agree that a lot of facts such as different stereotypes and theories concerning the leader’s behavior can distort the responses in the questionnaires. The respondents can idealize the behavior of their leader who is known as an effective leader and who has a good reputation in the organization.
2) Comment on problems of determining causality (and determining the nature of causality). (p.109, Chapter 4)
It is clear that most of the researches which were carried out to study the leadership behavior have some problems of determining causality. The problems are concluded in the following moments. The behavior of the leader in the group in measured by the subordinates and the results are correlated with criterion measures. It is difficult to find out the direction of causality. There may be different interpretations of causality. Positive correlation in a survey study shows causality from leader’s behavior to criterion variable. However, causality may be reversed when it goes from criterion variable to leader’s behavior. In other words leader’s behavior depends on criterion variable. In different cases there may be different interpretations of causality. In first case the leader wants his subordinates to be more productive in their work, to show better results. In the second case the subordinates are interested in the results of their work and show high performance. There may be the third variant of interpretation of causality when the leader and the criterion variable are influenced by the third variable. In this case it is very difficult to determine causality. As all the events in the world are correlated, it is very important for the researchers to study correlations between these events and to find out causality which will help to understand the nature of these events. When we speak about effective leadership behavior, we consider that the nature of causality should be studies in a proper way in order to get right results of the survey. (Yukl 109)
3) New Question:
Are there any limitations in questionnaire approach while evaluating leadership behavior?
Questionnaire approach in evaluation leadership behavior is often used by many researchers who are interested in the study of leadership. Of course this method has some limitations which will give the wrong or distorted information concerning the major issue. That is why the researchers should pay attention to the responses given in the questionnaire by the responders. I’d like to represent some possible limitations which can occur during the evaluation of leadership behavior by the subordinates:
”¢ As this evaluation method is used by the researchers after the events which took place in this or that organization, the responders can easily forget some important details which are connected with their leader’s behavior. They can easily forget about the quarrels or misunderstandings which occurred in the course of the work. The period may include several months or years.
”¢ The questions in the questionnaire are standard that is why it is difficult to explain some important points.
”¢ The use of open-ended questions in the questionnaire require a large amount of information concerning the leadership behavior that is why it will take a long time to analyze it in a proper way.
”¢ The subordinates may ignore some serious questions concerning their leader’s behavior or distort some facts that is why the results of the survey may be wrong. Although the questionnaire approach is anonymous, some participants may be not honest in their responses.
Bass, B.M. (1985) Leadership and Performance Beyond
Expectations. New York: Free Press.
Yukl, G. (2010) Leadership in Organizations. Global edition.
7th edition. Upper Saddle River. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice -Hall Inc.