(Public Administration Study Kit) Rise of Aam Aadmi Party and
Transformative Leadership of Rensis Likert
Likert is a name that transformative leadership specialists across the world are
familiar with and his American organisational psychologist’s leadership model
has found considerable resonance and applicability in governance and human
development around the world. Likert’s four management systems are:- these are
various types of leadership styles 1) Exploitative Authoritative 2) Benevolent
Authoritative 3) Consultative System 4) Participative System.
System 1 management is described as
‘exploitive-authoritative’; its managers are highly autocratic, have little
trust in subordinates, motivate people through fear and punishment and only
occasional rewards, engage in downward communication, and limit decision making
to the top.
System 2 management is called
‘benevolent-authoritative; its managers have a patronizing confidence and trust
in subordinates, motivate with rewards and some fear and punishment, permit some
upward communication, society some ideas and opinions from subordinates and
allow some delegation of decision making but with close policy control.
System 3 management is referred to as ‘consultative’.
Managers in this system have substantial but not complete confidence and trust
in subordinates, usually try to make use of subordinates, usually try to make us
of subordinates’ ideas and opinions, use rewards for motivation with occasional
punishment and some participation, engage communication flow both down and up,
make broad policy and general decisions to be made at lower levels, and act
consultatively in other ways.
System 4 is Participative Group – team oriented; free
communication cooperative. Responsibility for achieving the organizational goals
is widespread throughout the organizational hierarchy. There is a high level of
confidence that the superior has in his subordinates. There is a high level of
teamwork, communication, and participation.
Three Key Elements of The System 4 Management Model
- The Manager’s use of the principle of Supportive Relationships
- The use of Group Decision Making in an overlapping group structure
- The Manager’s high performance goals for the Organization
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In general, Likert, found that those managers who applied the System 4
approach to their operations had the greatest success as leaders.
In Likert’s System 4 theory, there are four types of
leadership: exploitative authoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative,
and participative. The most common in Indian politics, obviously, is the first
and the next, the benevolent authoritative. Most of India’s successful
politicians swing between these two categories. The new set of leaders, who have
demonstrated repeat performances in recent elections can at best be the latter -
the benevolent authoritative.
What has been completely missing in India were the last two
categories, which are essentially people’s leaders - consultative and
participative. Consultative is still top-down and the decision-making is still
centralised, but it’s marked by a genuine effort to consult with people. The
best case scenario is the participative leadership. It makes use of
participatory methods, and people across various levels feel they are together
and contribute to the process of decision making. This is where Arvind Kejriwal,
Yogendra Yadav and their AAP scored big.
While the leaders of the traditional model of politics
(exploitative authoritative and benevolent authoritative) scoffed at them in
arrogance arising out of the lack of options of people, the AAP showed them how
a participatory leadership can work. It’s not surprising that people absorbed
the idea so easily, participated in it and supported it.
During the entire process of party formation, strategy
development, selection of candidates and electioneering, Kejriwal kept referring
to true participation by people, without ever jargonising it. Obviously, he and
his comrades were doing it right - otherwise, the people would have rejected it.
He did the same when he went back to people to seek their opinion when pressure
mounted on the party to form the government, including from a mischievous BJP.
By its own admission, what the AAP is trying to do is
participatory and deliberative democracy. Politicians anchored in the past for
their own avarice either don’t want to pursue it or don’t understand it.
A few years ago, participative democracy would have been
logistically difficult, but with the availability of new technologies, the AAP
has shown India and the rest of the world that it’s eminently possible. And the
secret to this process is going small and going decentralised. When people ask
Kejriwal and Yadav, how they will implement it across India, they are betraying
their ignorance and their inability to understand transformative forms of
leadership and governance.
Decision making should happen at the local levels, not in
Delhi, not even in state capitals. People will naturally participate. Mahatma
Gandhi knew it decades ago. Unfortunately both his followers and opponents
killed it out of ignorance and hubris. And the AAP has just begun to revive it.
(With valuable inputs from first post)