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Leadership in Donnithorne’s and Dubrin’s Views


Leadership is defined as the social process of influencing others in the organization to realize the major managerial objectives and aims. This entails the embracing of teamwork, whereby an individual seeks the support of another person to improve on his or her weaknesses. Recent scholars of management define leadership as the process of organizing a group of individuals to realize a common goal. It is noted that the leader is differentiated from a manager since he or she might not be having specific authority or powers. In the study of leadership, major concepts, such as individual personality, situational interface, occupation, performance, power, idea, magnetism, aptitude, and principles emerge. In this regard, a leader is defined as an individual who guides and directs other people in the organization. In other words, an individual whom people follow is referred to as a leader.

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Several scholars and theorists present varying views regarding the major concepts and styles of leadership. Such scholars are entailed with the values of leadership, as well as the best strategies to be applied in managing human resources in any organization. Dubrin (2013) and Donnithorne (1994) are some of the scholars who have engaged in thorough research to study different concepts related to leadership. It should be noted that the concepts studied are always similar, but they differ in perspective. This article attempts to compare the major concepts, as presented by the two scholars. The paper summarizes the major themes, principles, and concepts, as discussed by the two scholars. In his analysis of principled leadership, Donnithorne (1994) was of the view that leadership is considered great in case he values solidity, which is based on moral compasses.

Moreover, these principles should be visible in a leader, implying that the leader should have the power to influence others to do what they would otherwise have not done on their own. The scholar goes a notch higher to discuss some of the principles that the leader ought to adopt to conform to the established values. On his part, Dubrin (2013) defines the major traits of a good leader and talks about the major themes of leadership, which compare closely with the analysis of Donnithorne (1994).

Discussion: Comparison

Donnithorne (1994) observed that the leader should have the capability of articulating certain principles and values, implying that they are expected to make decisions regarding their personal and organizational values without fear. Donnithorne advised that even if the management refuses to change the policy, it should publicly support the final decision and make every effort to ensure the success of the leader’s decision (1994, p. 129). He further observed that coordination plays a critical role in ensuring that the leader convenes the organizational goals. Based on his analysis,

coordination is similar to, but not identical with integration because it entails contacting all those whose action is needed to fulfill a task or all those who will be affected by a potential decision (1994, p. 141)

Through this, leaders would be in a position to offer a leadership style that is consistent and adheres to the internalized values of the organization. The leader should always stick to the personal and organizational values irrespective of what happens. Even though a leader might encounter several challenges, the organizational values should never be compromised. For this to happen, the leader is to offer an all-inclusive leadership that respects diversity, the rights of women and incorporates the minorities into the decision-making mechanisms. The scholar uses the TD Financial Group CEO to prove that a leader should never compromise the position of the organization regarding a certain controversial issue (Donnithorne, 1994). The bank’s CEO was confident to restate that the organization supports the rights of the gays and would not be distracted by the demands of certain customers who threatened to withdraw their membership in case the organization continues supporting homosexuality. From this analysis, it is clear that leadership is a partnership, as well as a shared responsibility.

The views of Donnithorne (1994) are consistent with the analysis of Dubrin (2013), who noted that leadership is a partnership, as well as a collective responsibility. A leader should always be willing to defend the values and principles of the organization, irrespective of the position, the issue, and the state of affairs. The leader should be ready to act as the father, meaning that he or she defends the welfare of the family. The partnership means that the power is not vested on one individual, but instead, each person is given the responsibility of contributing to making decisions. Based on this, Dubrin (2013) gives four values that a leader should always consider when coming up with a new idea in the organization. One of these values is the exchange of purpose, meaning that an employee should be allowed to define his or her vision in the organization, irrespective of the position, and the level. He underscored the fact that, in a partnership, every worker at every level is responsible for defining vision and values (2013).

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In this case, the leader is supposed to embrace dialogue at all levels, which would help in articulating the generally accepted vision. Moreover, the leader should have the right to challenge certain decisions or allegations, especially when he or she is in charge of policy. For instance, the TD financial group CEO was quick to challenge the views of customers who were trying to force the organization to change its established policy. Another principle entails joining accountability, whereby each member of the organization is responsible for the outcomes meaning that success is attributed to each employee. At the same time, failure belongs to the entire organization, but not a single individual. Finally, Dubrin (2013) talks about absolute honesty, implying that each individual in the organization should always aspire to tell the truth. Falsehood is considered betrayal.

Donnithorne (1994) noted that for a leader to achieve his personal and organizational goals and objectives, he or she must always be reflective. He noted that the improvement of one’s guidance skills needs authentic management measures, followed by expression or debriefing. In this regard, good employees need little management frequently, a bit of guidance, and occasional praise (1994, p. 100).

The modern world is extremely competitive, meaning the leadership should be a shift to ensure that the organization achieves its objectives. This will be achieved if the leader masters some of the important skills and performance routines. The much-needed skills are acquired through continued learning. Donnithorne (1994) suggested that leadership is a relational concept since followers must be present for it to be exercised. This view is consistent with the analysis of Dubrin (2013) on leadership since he talked about leadership as a relationship among organizational employees. He suggested He suggested that how leaders build relationships have changed somewhat in the modern era of Web 2.0 and its emphasis on interacting with people electronically (2013). His view was that leadership is not something that a leader offers to people, but instead, it entails doing with people something (Dubrin, 2013).

Finally, the two scholars underscore the fact that a leader should be a role model, as suggested by Gandhi. Donnithorne (1994) indicated that people’s actions are influenced in part by examining the conduct of others. Donnithorne (1994) suggests that a leader plays a critical role in mentoring employees, while Dubrin (2013) clarifies that a good leader would always make a good manager. Also, the latter noted that leadership and management are two different concepts, even though they are related in several ways. He suggested that the leader should be a thinker, obsessive, imaginative, inspirational, pioneering, ingenious, tentative, affectionate, and acts as an instructor (Dubrin, 2013). On the other hand, a manager is often coherent, organized, importunate, systematic, purposeful, and trustworthy. While management results to order, consistency and predictability, leadership results in transformation and compliance with new ways of doing things.


Leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish some of the organizational tasks that they would otherwise be achieved. This definition shows that leadership is a relational concept meaning that followers must be present for it to exist. Donnithorne (1994) and Dubrin (2013) agree over some basic concepts of leadership, such as role model, reflection, and shared accountability. In other words, the leader should serve as an example while at the same time reflecting on the impacts of his or her actions on the performance of employees. Finally, the leader should always be answerable, meaning that any success or failure should be attributed to an individual employee.


Donnithorne, L.R. (1994). The West Point Way of Leadership: from learning principled leadership to practicing it. New York, NY: Currency Doubleday

Dubrin, A.J. (2013). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Mason, OH: Southwestern Cengage Learning.

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