Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type (Müller & Turner, 2007)

Leadership Schools

Müller, Ralf; Turner, Rodney J.: Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 25 (2007), No. 1, pp. 21-32.

Müller & Turner shortly describe 6 modern and 3 historical schools of leadership before they investigate if leadership styles have an impact on the success of projects and whether there are different styles needed for different projects. The 9 schools they outline briefly are

  1. Confucius – it’s all about relationships, moderation, values, and process
  2. Aristotle – it’s all about relationships, values, and process
  3. Barnard – it’s all about relationship vs. processes
  4. Trait Theory – leaders are born not made
  5. Behavioural Theory – leadership skills can be developed
  6. Contingency Theory – effective leadership depends on the situation
  7. Visionary/charismatic leadership – transformation vs. transaction
  8. Emotional Intelligence – your (gut) feelings matter
  9. Competency – all matters (traits, behaviours, styles, emotions, processes, intellect…)

Furthermore the authors link each item of their 3 dimensional leadership model (Emotional, Managerial, Intellectual) to project performance in different project categories. Their results show that in general IT projects motivational skills and a strategic perspective positively influence the project’s success. In the case of high performing IT projects Self-Awareness, Communication and Self-Development impact the success positively, whereas visionary capacities have a negative impact on the success.

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