Name & Roll No: Brig Gagan Deep Singh Baath, PHD PT/02/13/O

CIS Title: A cross-sector examination of leadership styles and key competencies during extreme contexts.

CIS Proposal Submitted by Brig. Gagan Deep Singh Baath to Ph.D. Office 07-04-2021

The incursion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reached global scale in 2020, requiring a response from leaders worldwide. Although the virus is a ubiquitous problem, world leaders have varied appreciably in their responses resulting in substantially different outcomes in terms of virus mitigation, population health, and economic stability.

The social and economic crisis caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic is an extreme but relevant example of the types of challenges leaders face today. Effective leaders are considered one of the most pivotal resources for organizations both in times of normalcy and crisis, yet international criticism has flared pertaining to national, state, corporate, military and policy leadership in this COVID-19 environment of discontinuous change.

Leadership behavior ánd changes in leadership behavior are context-specific (Dinh et al., 2014; Liden & Antonakis, 2009). The so-called contextual leadership research, a fairly broad area of leadership research, examines whether situational or contextual factors lessen or enhance the impact of leadership practices and explores how leadership takes place in specific contextual settings (e.g., military, educational; Day & Antonakis, 2012; Liden & Antonakis, 2009) Furthermore, context has been important in leadership research because it can influence the type of leadership that emerges and is effective (Liden & Antonakis, 2009). Leadership plays a vital role in organizations by developing and enabling organizational competencies (Murphy and Johnson, 2016; Pendleton and Furnham, 2016)

Although our results demonstrate that the biggest part of the variance in leadership behavior caused by the event can be explained at the individual level (see also Van Emmerik et al., 2010), yet we find significant variation between organizations and even countries, which supports the multi-level approach of this study. Further, it is also argued that the coronavirus crisis is a crisis of leadership theory and practice (Dennis Tourish, 2020). Mainstream leadership theories are of little help, since an environment of radical uncertainty means that leaders have less information, expertise and resources, to guide through the extreme event.

We shall consider the implications of the crisis for business leadership, suggesting that already strained relationships within organizations are likely to deteriorate still further. Critical leadership studies have an important contribution to make in challenging self-serving theories of business that have come to guide much leadership decision-making. We have an opportunity to do research that really matters, and participate in vital conversations about how the theory and practice of leadership can contribute to better outcomes from the coronavirus crisis, and others still to come.

Public leaders are expected to play several roles, including understanding and adapting to the problem, as well as planning and implementing solutions to restore normalcy (Jong, 2017; Vogel and Masal, 2015). Researchers have also noted that as forms of threat become overwhelming, individuals will look to leaders to centralize authority and take action (Gladstein & Reilly, 1985; Isenberg, 1981). Flanagan et al. (1952) observed that military leaders who took prompt and decisive action, providing initiating structure in threatening situations, were judged as being more effective than those military leaders who delayed action. Further, officers who used consultative power in non-crisis situations were seen as more effective by their followers, whereas in crisis situations the same style was not correlated with effectiveness (Mulder et al., 1986). Further, research comparing women and men on transformational leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006) showed that women scored higher on charisma and individualized consideration (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, & van Engen, 2003), giving rise to a “female leadership advantage” under contemporary conditions (Eagly & Carli, 2003, p. 807).

The research question guiding this work is: What are the leadership styles and key competencies required during and post times of an extreme event? The contrast in the perceived styles of the leaders is proposed to be analyzed using the theory of transformational & authentic leadership and charismatic, ideological, pragmatic (CIP) leadership model as a framework.

The purpose of this study shall be to understand extreme event leadership in the political, corporate, military and public sectors. In this review, we intend to develop a framework to guide future research and examine the execution of leadership in extreme contexts.