Leadership can be defined as the exercise of influence of one person over another (Antonakis, 2004), yet such a definition demonstrates only a very cursory understanding of the concept. There are several theories that govern types of leadership. This is largely because not only are there many ways in which a person can exercise influence over others, but these differ with regard to personality as well as culture/environment (Hofstede, 1983; McGregor, 1960)…
This culture has been described by Hofstede (1983) as akin to a "mental programming" is shared among persons from similar backgrounds. Hofstede has shown that cultures differ in the way they view and interpret the world. Therefore, the management of persons within these cultures can often differ as well. In fact, Hofstede further points out that one should not take for granted that management and leadership methods that work in one cultural arena will do as well in another (1983). In a multicultural society, it is necessary that managers and leaders become aware of the different dimensions of employees and/or followers that exist. It is also necessary that they study the different theories of management and leadership in order to gain insight into how to deal with the different personalities and cultures that are (or might be) represented in their leadership arena (2005). The study of each method of management therefore adds to the repertoire of options a manager and leader possesses to aid in dealing with different situations that may arise. He or she may not use all the knowledge at once, but the acquisition of this knowledge leaves the manager or leader more equipped to deal with situations as employees, followers, and their situations as they change with time.
Overview of Oprah Winfrey's Style
The leadership style of Oprah Winfrey has demonstrated that these theories and models of leadership often put forth such well-defined characteristics of leadership that few (if any) persons could fit into any one model. Winfrey owns and manages Harpo Productions Inc., a conglomerate that contains her own talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as Dr. Phil and other television movies. Among other ventures, she also manages the publishing of the successful magazine O and is part-owner of the Oxygen Media, which houses, among other things, a cable network (Sellers, 2002). As manager of so many different business entities, she acts a leader to her hundreds of employees. This queen of talk shows and businesswoman extraordinaire evinces a style of leadership that comes closest to the Transformational Leadership Model, as this model is expressed through combination of the traits of several other theories. Yet, certain transitional periods of her tenure as leader of Harpo Productions have caused her to demonstrate traces of many of the other theories of leadership. This study will provide an analysis of her leadership style within the framework of the different sectors of her conglomerate.
Analysis of Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Style:
The Transformational Theory of leadership is known to mix some aspects of Trait Theory with the behavioural theories. Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2005) reviewed the leadership styles of over 3,500 leaders at varying levels of the corporate hierarchy. These researchers found that a model emerged that at once supported and went beyond the Transformation model and led to the development of a "360-degree" Transformational Leadership instrument (questionnaire). The instrument was found ...
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