In this learning object we summarize various leadership theories and models that exist. The basic texts to which we use for this learning object are:

  • Northouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Avery, G. C. (2005). Understanding Leadership.London: Sage Publications.

Peter G.Northouse's book gives a good overview some of the well-known leadership approaches and models. It provides a description of the theory/model/approaches, the components, a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and some case studies that demonstrate the application of these models.



Gayle Avery also provides a summary of leadership models. He provides four major paradigm:

  • Antiquity - 1970s
  • 1970s - mid-1980s
  • 1980s - 2000
  • the Organic Period beyond 2000.

Within each paradigm he analyses the role of the leader, his or her relationship with followers, and the way of decision making.

In this learning object the overview of the following approaches will be provided:

  • Trait Approach
  • Skill Approach
  • Style Approach
  • Situational Approach
  • Contingency Theory

The other approaches of the leadership are not covered in this learning object.

Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009