The comparative contribution of leadership to organisational success - luck, legacy or leadership?
Supervisor: Catherine Bailey BSc PhD CPsychol AFBPsS
The centrality of leadership to business success is unquestioned and lies at the heart of most managers? thinking. But just how critical is it to business success in comparison to others factors? In other words, what is the degree of variance that can be accounted for by leadership? There is little hard empirical data in this area. Getting some answers to these questions would extend leadership theory and enable organisations to make better investment decisions about leadership development, as opposed to other business performance drivers, such as brands, technology or restructuring.
In keeping with contemporary theory of corporate functioning, the project will aim to identify how leadership at all organisational levels (rather than just leadership from the top) impacts on business success. It will utilise both hard financial measures of business performance and survey data about the contribution of leadership to sustained financial success. This will be supplemented with case studies to identify the ingredients of success in specific instances of organisational prosperity. For example, it has often been suggested that Sun Microsystems stumbled upon Java by accident, similarly that Easyjet did not understand the significance of ticketing systems to the airline industry. Stelios himself acknowledges that if he had, he would not have tried to create Easyjet.
This research project is part of the research programme being undertaken by the General Management Programmes Group in the field of leadership and business performance. There are two current projects in addition to the one described here. Others are planned over a period of several years.
Dr Catherine Bailey Tel 01234 751122