A theory is an explanation
for how something works. Theories are derived from investigations using the
principles of the scientific method. Organizational researchers have studied the
processes and pieces of productive and effective workplaces for more than a century.
There is value in studying, learning, questioning, making sense of, and applying
those theories to particular workplaces.
For the past several
decades, business and management majors have been some of the most popular among students
on colleges campuses across the United States. In fact, somewhere between 20-25% of
all undergraduate and graduate degrees earned over recent decades have been in business
The organizations that hire
business and management graduates value the experiences that those students gained while
in school. A major component of management education programs comes from the
teaching, learning, and application of organizational theories. There is value to be
gained from leadership, management, organization, and economic theories--they give
explanation of how things work; things that are important to organizational functioning
Many of the leadership,
management, and organization training programs around today mimic the writing styles of
leadership and management books--of which there are typically two types.
One is the college text-type
book, filled with results of scientific research into the subject. Terms such as
experiments, control groups, theories, and statistical significance intermingle with
leadership concepts. While informative and useful in their own rights, many
textbooks and writings derived from scientific and theoretical investigations lack the
useful and practical insights that can be implemented by practitioners.
The other type is the one
found in most popular bookstores. These books typically borrow ideas from one or
more leadership theories and rework them into terms and concepts that the masses of people
can understand and relate to. Often, however, these books are shallow and dont
provide much insight into the true processes and dimensions of the subject.
There is value to be gained
from both of those instructional approaches. Ideally, the usefulness and
practicality of the popular guides should be combined with the insight and scientific
grounding of the theory-based works. This combination of the best of both approaches
would yield a product that is both useful and sound in principle.
The Leadership Lens
Model is an integrative metaphorical model for the components and processes of
leadership--including individual differences, groups, attitudes, perceptions, power,
environment, change, and performance. Using a simple and understandable
physical-model metaphor (using the ideas of light and lenses), learners can identify and
easily integrate a vast set of leadership, management, and organizational topics.
The Leadership Lens
Model was created by Coleman Patterson as a way to synthesize a vast array of
leadership and organizational theories. The model was the foundation of his doctoral
dissertation and has been used to teach college students, colleagues, and people from a
variety of organizations about ways that leaders foster and promote effective
organizational performance. The concepts contained in the model apply to all types
of organizations and workers. It makes theory relevant and easy to understand.