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Research Papers on the Psychodynamic Leadership Approach

This is a sample research paper on the Psychodynamic Leadership Approach. This is a research paper topic on leadership theory. The paper topic will look at Psychodynamic Leadership Approach and why leaders are more effective when they have insight into their own psychological makeup. Leaders are more effective when they understand the makeup of their subordinates.


Psychodynamic Leadership ApproachThe psychodynamic approach to leadership provides a lens through which leaders can view their own motives as well as the motives of followers. It is arguable that formulating a more comprehensive understanding of oneself and others facilitates leader development and subsequently follower performance. The psychodynamic approach to leadership dictates that leaders become more effective when they better understand their own psychological makeup as well as the psychological makeup of their followers.

Developed from Freudian theory, the psychodynamic approach to leadership focuses on the leader’s past to better understand how a leader interacts with subordinates. According to Freud, the following is true about leadership:

  1. Leadership relationships are heavily influenced by parental and childhood experiences.
  2. Personality and response mechanisms are developed in childhood and remain relatively stable throughout life. The implication of this is that leaders will relate more favorably in certain circumstances based on the backgrounds and experiences of subordinates.
  3. An effective leader is in tune with his or her own background and understands how this impacts his/her relationships with subordinates.
  4. Effective leaders are also concerned with the psychological makeup of followers.
  5. The knowledge of how individual beliefs and experiences impact present thoughts and behaviors can be used to improve leader-follower relationships and enhance subordinate efficiency.

Although the current scholarly literature is replete with numerous articles examining the overall historical development of brief Psychodynamic Leadership Approach, research on the efficacy of these techniques is not as plentiful. Shapiro, Barkham, Stiles, et al., in their investigation of the research on the effectiveness of various brief psychodynamic techniques argues that there is compelling evidence on both sides of the debate. While some scholars are able to demonstrate the benefits that this technique has for leadership, other scholars unequivocally argue that brief Psychodynamic Leadership Approach has no efficacy for improving workflow outcomes.

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