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Integrated Psychological Leadership Models

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Leadership is a critical element of every business environment. Leaders determine the direction of development in social, economic, political and educational spheres. Leadership skills allow an individual to take responsibilities, seize the opportunities, and successfully overcome the professional and personal challenges. Although the concept of leadership has been studied over many years, there is no unambiguous and all-embracing definition to this phenomenon. The present paper provides a literature review that gives an insight into the leadership research in general and integrated psychological leadership models in particular. The theories contribute significantly to the evolution of leadership research by adding new elements, which emphasize the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses of the older theoretical framework. However, the most critical are the integrated psychological leadership models, which underscore the integrated approach that would combine the characteristics, behaviors, leadership personality, and the mutual influences of the leader and the company.

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Literature Review

Definition of Leadership

Traditional leadership studies distinguish four major leadership theories including trait, behavioral, functional and situational theories. The integrated psychological theory offers a new approach by admitting the importance of the emotional intelligence, psychological flexibility and expertise in effective leaders. Possession of leadership traits is a unique quality that is highly required in pacemakers, and is sometimes referred to as charisma. One of the major postulates suggested by James Scouller (2011), the founder of the integrated psychological theory, is that both leadership skills and inner psychological qualities of a person are important to create an effective decision-maker. The most striking is that despite the unquestionable significance of leaders and leadership for the success of a business, they do not influence it directly, and they cannot cope with the challenges alone. Their team or followers represent the foundation upon which leaders create so much needed commitment, inspiration, and job satisfaction.

Scouller (2011) defines leadership as a process that involves setting a purpose and direction which inspires people to combine and work towards willingly; paying attention to the means, pace and quality of progress towards the aim; and upholding group unity and individual effectiveness (p.24). Thus, he underscores the mutual influence of the group and personal qualities that allow developing effective leadership. According to Scouller (2011), the Integrated Psychological model consists of three levels namely public, private and personal leadership. Public leadership implies influencing a group of people, while private deals with the behaviors to influence an individual. At the same time, personal leadership focuses on new component of internal development towards leadership presence, flexibility and charisma.

Researchers underline the importance for an effective leader of psychological flexibility and strength to control oneself. Moreover, leaders should be aware of the ways to control and influence the emotions of other people and ethically approach the controversial issues. Such qualities unite individuals in terms of emotional intelligence, which is crucially important for trendsetters in all spheres (McCleskey, 2016). According to Batool (2013), emotionally intelligent leaders positively influence the working atmosphere and create a favorable environment for the potentially best performance. In addition, the follower's trust is an essential component of leadership achievements that contribute to the improved overall performance (Burke, Sims, Lazzara, & Salas, 2007). Clarke (2010) underscores the importance of the personality of a leader to increase the motivation of employees and inspire them to work better.

Various models of leadership focus on different aspects of leadership performance. In general, researchers agree that integrated approach to leadership theories would be the most effective in influencing the outcomes of organizational performance (Avoilio, 2007). The concepts and approaches suggested by the researchers significantly contribute to leadership research and influence the evolution of leadership theory.

Transformational Leadership and Strategic Leadership Theory

Transformational leadership is also regarded as one of the most effective leadership styles (Kararti & Yuksekbilgili, 2014). Kararti and Yuksekbilgili (2014) indicate that the influence of transformational leaders is essential because they motivate and inspire employees to go beyond the limits of organizational performance and exceed expectations.

Kaiser, Hogan, and Craig (2008) specify that every leadership model has its sphere of application and implications. For instance, transformational leaders tend to boost employees' loyalty and commitment but have less influence on the outcomes of the performance. Transformational leadership inspires followers to cooperate to reach the common target. Researchers emphasize essential correlation and similarity between transformational and transactional leadership styles, and indicate their effectiveness in terms of positive organizational performance outcomes. On the other hand, strategic leadership theory concentrates on the results of the organizational performance and the way leaders can influence them (Kaiser et al., 2008). However, the major issue concerning leadership effectiveness is its evaluation. Researchers agree that the success of a leader can be estimated based on the outcomes of business performance. As Kaiser et al. (2008) indicate such conclusion was made only in recent years, while previously researchers did not pay much attention to this issue. The recent method is the balanced scorecard that emphasizes the financial, human resources, innovation and other outcomes of the organizational performance (Kaiser et al., 2008). This approach to measure leadership effectiveness became a real step forward in the evolution of leadership research.

Niche Construction Model

Among the recent researches dealing with leadership evolution is the research by Spisak, OBrien, Nicholson, and Van Vugt (2015) who combined the biological and cultural aspects of leadership. Spisak et al. (2015) underscore that previous research concentrated more on personal qualities of a leader instead of the leadership process and the related organizational outcomes. However, complex dynamics of the leadership performance and its influences requires deeper insight into the constantly changing organizational environment. Research demonstrates that the environment that is also referred to as the context directly affects leadership behaviors (Groves, 2005; Liden & Antonakis, 2009). Spisak et al. (2015) underline the dual nature of a complex leadership process that occurs as a result of the environmental influences and, in turn, impacts the business environment. Leadership is seen as an adaptive process, which allows for the social coordination of completely different groups. Spisak et al. (2015) discuss the niche construction theory, which is based on the biological premises of the evolution of organisms. According to the theory, the change of an organism entails the modification of the environment, which, in turn, influences this organism and other organisms involved in the same environment. When applied to the business environment, niche construction theory suggests that a change in the style of leadership leads to the occurrence of strategies and characteristics conducive to the organizational environment (Spisak et al., 2015). Corporate culture, which is significantly affected by leadership, rapidly accepts the modifications and readjusts correspondingly. Niche construction theory should be taken into consideration by modern leaders as an alternative to a separated approach leading to dysfunctional organizations.

Integrated Trait-Behavioral Model

The evaluation of leadership effectiveness has been a controversial issue for a long time until the introduction of the integrated trait-behavioral model. This theoretical framework approaches leadership from the perspective of correlation between the traits (intelligence, gender, personality characteristics) and the transformational and transactional style of leadership behavior (Derue, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011). The researchers argue that leadership behaviors are the media through which leadership traits influence the effectiveness of the performance (Derue et al., 2011). Moreover, they hypothesize and eventually support the assumption that the behaviors of the leader would be a greater predictor of leadership effectiveness in comparison with traits of the leader. Yukl, Gordon, and Taber agree with the importance of behaviors and offer a hierarchal taxonomy where leadership behavior is categorized through change, task, and relations (2002). Derue et al. (2011) indicate that the characteristics, which are most important for leadership effectiveness, were proved to be conscientiousness and extraversion. The behaviors, such as task-oriented and focused on change, were critical for organizational performance, while passive behavior and relational-oriented were less significant in that relation.

Consequently, similarly to Spisak et al. (2015), Derue et al. (2011) underline the importance of integration and combined consideration of all the aspects that influence leadership effectiveness. The integrated trait-behavioral leadership model suggests that conscientiousness as a trait and transformational leadership as a behavior represent the most critical and consistent criteria, which contribute to the leadership effectiveness. Provided the authority and impact leaders have always had on the public, scholars have been closely investigating the phenomenon of leadership from various perspectives. Effective leadership can have critical influence on the outcomes of the organizational performance.

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The integrated psychological leadership models offer a new component contributing to the evolution of leadership research. The consideration of personality qualities and the related behaviors have achieved particular importance. Moreover, the issues of personal flexibility, emotional intelligence, and psychological mastery have been considered as crucial for a new era leader.

Leadership research has changed essentially over the last decades. While historically the focus of the research was placed on the perception of a leader by followers and other stakeholders, nowadays, more attention is given to a balanced approach to leadership. Such approach unites and aligns both internal and external aspects of leadership performance and estimates the actual business achievements. Therefore, leadership quality is evaluated depending on the outcomes of the group performance that a leader is responsible for. The leadership models discussed in the paper essentially contribute to the evolution of leadership research. The integrated psychological leadership models are the most critical, since they underscore the integrated approach, which combines traits, behaviors, leadership personality, and considers them simultaneously.

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