Emergent Leadership and Its Application in A Team

I. Introduction: For this research paper you have an opportunity to research and think deeply and critically about some of the essentials of leadership. Specifically, we would like you to research and think about the things that cause some individuals to emerge as informal leaders in the workplace. The goal is to learn what it takes to lead from wherever a person is in an organization rather than focusing only on what is expected of those in senior positions. In tackling this project it may be helpful to think about colleagues with whom you have worked who do not hold formal leadership positions but who have the characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes that have caused them to emerge and be perceived by others as leaders. These are people who are recognized by and are able to influence others even though they may have little or no formal power or authority. These are the people who, for example, take initiative when others step back, who “go the extra mile,” whose commitment to mission and goals is readily apparent, and/or who may make personal sacrifices to help support a teammate. You may well be one of these informal leaders. And, if you are not now, the fact that you are pursuing an MBA suggests this is likely your goal.

As Robbins and Judge (2016) write, this kind of leadership – “the ability to influence that arises outside the formal structure of the organization – is often as important or more important than formal positions of influence” (p.192). Of course, it is important that you have an opportunity to think about leadership in situations and with followers that are relevant and meaningful for you. One challenge with considering situations that affect you personally is it is hard to be as objective and unbiased as expected for graduate level work. Browne and Keeley’s critical thinking model, or some components thereof, should help you remember to consider alternative perspectives, look for bias in your own Submit Cancel Submit Files – Wk7 Paper DUE (20%) – AMBA 620 9044 Managing People and Groups i… Page 1 of 7 https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/lms/dropbox/user/folder_submit_files.d2l?db=257394&grpid=0… 2/16/2016 thinking and that of others, recognize how your assumptions and those of your sources may be influencing your positions and conclusions, and question the quality of the evidence you and your sources are presenting. When you conduct your research you will find that this topic of emergent leadership and the questions about how, when, and why it happens have been a significant focus of scholars who have studied teams. More recently scholars interested in social networks, both internal and external to the organization, have also contributed useful insights to this topic.

II. Scenario: Besides the above requirements to focus on informal leadership and to strive for scholarly rigor, the scenario that helps you think about this paper is yours to choose. You might write this from the perspective of a seasoned worker wishing to share important ideas with young people just joining your organization. You might write this as something you might want to include with your professional portfolio along with your résumé — a paper that illustrates your writing, research, and thinking skills. Or perhaps this is something you might want to write for your supervisor to illustrate your understanding and readiness for a leadership position or advancement in your organization. If one of these scenarios doesn’t work for you consult with us on an alternative idea that helps you think about who your likely audience might be and what it would be important for the person or people to know about leadership by those without position power.


 Leadership is the key factor that facilitates productivity of a team effort (Carson, Tesluk, & Marrone, 2007). According to Serban et al. (2015), leadership can be defined as a set of skills and knowledge that enable an individual to adequately contribute significantly to the performance. The authors add that the development of leadership capacity is driven by the abilities, motives, and the personality of an individual (Serban et al., 2015). Amos and Klimoski (2014) describe leadership as the effort to influence stakeholders to take a particular line of response to meet the organizational objectives. According to Amos and Klimoski (2014), various perspectives of team leadership suggest that in a situation where a team emerges, a leader also appears, and he or she carries out responsibilities on behalf of the group. Schyns (2014) allude that preferences for options, orientation towards achieving set goals, and persistence are motivational cues that maybe the reason some individuals emerge as the leaders in groups. Luria and Berson (2013) review show that studies dating back to the 1970s have investigated motives in the dominance and need for power as the aspects that trigger leadership. The concept that leaders do not think but the act has resulted in various theories that focus on a behavioral approach of how followers perceive their leaders (Mumford, Watts, & Part, 2015). The study by Dries and Pepermans (2012), suggests that Human Resource managers in many companies globally are trying to figure out ways of identifying potential leaders. Although the matter is of top concern, the managers claim there is a need for more objective and generalized approaches. Organizational management can be improved by investigating and establishing the factors that contribute to an individual becoming exceptional among members of the same qualifications and experience so that the others can bestow him or her the role of leadership.


According to Amos and Klimoski (2014), many reviews in the past have focused on the governance structure that involves appointing individuals as the head of organizations. It is evident that many companies in the modern-day operate without formally selected leaders. Consequently, leadership can be viewed as a role, designated to individuals that come up with decisions and choices or efficiently and effectively compared to their colleagues. Rather, it is a complex adaptive system that is constructed within people working in a group (Amos & Klimoski, 2014). In this context, there are people who act like leaders and they organize and represent the interests of other people in the group. The people influence the team’s emotions and can subsequently affect the attitudes and performance (Kellett, Humphrey, & Sleeth, 2006). Study reviews show that informal leaders in an institution have a resilient impact on interpersonal encounters at work and their emotional intelligence relate to the followers job satisfaction and attachment to work (Kellett, Humphrey, & Sleeth, 2006). Carson, Tesluk, and Marrone (2007), allude that trends in the structure and design in the structure of organizations reveal the significance of internal team leadership. The authors concluded that tasks which requires a knowledge-based approach to be accomplished, are dependent on workers who show high levels of expertise and seek autonomy in the application of skills and knowledge…

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