It should be clear that leadership can be defined in many different ways. As you read about theories and research on leadership in later sections, you will recognize that the theorists and researchers each had his/her own definitions of leadership, and that they focus on somewhat different aspects of the job requirements of a leader. An example of a theory that is not covered in the upcoming sections, but is worth noting is the decision tree approach.
The decision tree approach presented by Victor Vroom is focused entirely on whether leader chooses to make a decision on his/her own or if the group should be involved in the decision. In this approach, you ask a series of yes/no questions and based on the response to each to each branch, the decision tree takes you to the next question or to a final decision.
The questions of the decision tree involve whether the leader has the information necessary to make the decision, whether the decision has quality requirements, whether the followers have the information necessary, whether they are likely to accept the decision if the leader makes it alone, and so forth. The process is designed to help the leader make or delegate the decision.
This approach clearly focuses on one aspect of leadership (decision making) This is an example of a contingency theory of leadership
One distinction to keep in mind while reading the material is the difference between emergent and assigned leadership. Many of the approaches and theories set forth deal with emergent leadership and few of them talk about the assigned leadership roles.
The self-monitoring scale
The self-monitoring scale was designed to measure the extent to which a person is sensitive to the expectations of others in a social situation. It also measures the extent to which the person is able to shape his or her behavior to match those expectations. Both the males and females received varying scores on the self-monitoring scale, but only the females' scores were related to the number of leadership nominations they received. The explanation that Gary Odous came up with goes as follows: The female students were a distinct minority in the class. Each study group had one or two females among the seven or eight students making up the group. The class is offered in the college of business, where the majority of the students are male. As a result, we might assume that the subject matter of the class--and indeed the class itself--might be considered a masculine-oriented activity. For a female member of the study group to emerge as a leader, she had to recognize the masculine demands of the situation and conform her behavior to those demands. The women who had high self-monitoring scores were better able to do this than those with low self-monitoring scores.