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In Praise of the Incomplete Leader and Ways Women Lead Case Study

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2021

In Praise of the Incomplete Leader

The article “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader” by Ancona, Malone, Orlikowski and Senge (2007) describes the existing nuances of leadership in the modern realities of changing trends and corporate governance. The purpose of this work is to examine the concept of distributed leadership and its derivatives by analysing real cases and examples from international practice. As research methods, value judgments regarding question analysis are applied. The problem that the authors raise concerns the sphere of leadership and its insolvency and insufficient completeness in the framework of the requirements that are imposed on effective and productive managers (Ancona et al., 2007). This position may be traced throughout the whole text of the article.

The basic assumption that is explicit is that incomplete leaders cannot be compared with incompetent ones. Ancona et al. (2007) explain this by the fact that, unlike specialists who have insufficient qualifications, people with insufficiently developed skills are aware of gaps in their knowledge and understand the potential ways of improving their professional competence. Also, the authors argue that one of the main values ​​is an opportunity to show one leadership talent in the conditions that are best suited for this (Ancona et al., 2007). Although the idea of ​​the lack of many managers’ professionalism is implicit, its background is understandable to readers.

The main argument of the article is as follows: competent managers are under significant burden daily, realise the incompleteness of personal knowledge and skills and understand the modern trend of distributed leadership. The key findings to which the authors come during the analysis of the chosen topic are in highlighting the abilities that characterise the quality of individual employees’ coordinating activities – sensemaking, relating, visioning and inventing (Ancona et al., 2007). As the basic conclusion, judgment is made that even experienced and qualified leaders need constant improvement of personal skills and colleagues’ support.

The evidence cited to confirm specific hypotheses and assumptions do not have references to credible research. The authors concentrate more on practical evaluation and give examples of world cases where the issues of leadership are raised (Ancona et al., 2007). For instance, one of such cases is the work of the world famous online auction site eBay and its policy aimed at inventing (Ancona et al., 2007).

As the only valuable evidence confirming the findings, the citations of companies’ individual heads are offered. In this regard, there are doubts about how reasonable the judgments are about the characteristics of leadership and their application in the modern business environment. Also, despite the fact that Ancona et al. (2007) mention essential topics, the article itself is written in a journalistic style, which minimises its scientific value. The lack of references to reliable resources can lead to ambiguous opinions about the validity of facts. Therefore, some concerns remain after reading, although the idea itself and theses are interesting.

In general, this article offers a non-standard approach to the assessment of modern leadership and its implications on the business environment. Compared with some other readings, this journalistic work presents similar opinions about a dynamic competitive field where the roles of knowledge and professional competence are high. Regarding my experience, this material may be useful because I have not met the given characteristics of management approaches. The article provides an opportunity to better understand the basics of the business strategy due to rich terminology and contributes to studying the requirements placed on leaders in modern corporate realities.

Ways Women Lead

The article “Ways Women Lead” by Rosener (1990) presents the analysis of leadership qualities inherent in women and explores the advances that female managers face. The key goal of the work is to evaluate the approaches and methods used in the environment where the primary role is played not by males. Interviews with women and the assessment of various business cases are used for comparative assessment and making assumptions. The main problem raised in the article is that the principles of management applied by women leaders differ from those promoted by men and create a distinctive course of work. Nevertheless, the analysis takes place in a positive manner without negative theses or ridicule.

The main assumption is that the quality of work conducted by a male leader and female leader does not differ along with incomes, but the methods used by the latter are often distinctive. Rosener (1990) argues that women are generally committed to transformational and interactive management styles. The article explicitly suggests differences in approaches based on gender, which, however, is not a bias. At the same time, as implicit but understandable hypothesis, the author pushes readers to the idea that engaging females to leadership roles is a valuable practice that may have a positive impact on the way companies operate (Rosener, 1990). This idea is traced due to the numerous advantages cited as arguments, for instance, an opportunity to motivate others.

The thesis of the article is that despite similarities in management styles, males and females follow different principles and leadership styles, and the key distinction is in adhering to the transactional and transformational approaches, respectively. The findings obtained through surveys confirm the main idea, and some of the advantages of women’s practices under review are mentioned, in particular, encouraging participation, enhancing employees’ self-worth and energising others.

In addition, some percentage correlations are compiled on the basis of surveys, for instance, on salary levels or the effect of marriage on the outcomes of management work. The conclusion that sums up all the work is in evaluating the importance of combining leadership approaches and engaging talented and energetic managers, regardless of their gender.

The type of evidence utilised in the article is reliable since the answers of the respondents are used as a basis for analysis. The percentages that Rosener (1990) mentions make it possible to determine the opinions of the target group of women and draw conclusions regarding the reliability of the proposed hypotheses. In addition, some excerpts from academic works are cited, which makes the work even more credible.

The findings are confirmed and, despite the small number of academic references, the value of the author’s assessment is achieved due to the systematic nature of the material presented. After reading the article, no significant issues or concerns remain. The validity of this work is sufficient to reflect on the issue that Rosener (1990) raises and draw conclusions about the value of combining leadership styles in a dynamic business environment.

The considered article is related to the topic of leadership and the optimisation of management approaches and styles and is similar to some other works studied. It replenishes my knowledge about the existing concepts of the coordination of colleagues’ activities and opens a new area as an individual field for research, in particular, the principles of women’s leadership. The analysis of this article and its theses allows understanding the business strategy better due to the variability of the proposed methods that form a constantly changing business environment.

How Successful CEOs Manage Their Middle Act

The article “How Successful CEOs Manage Their Middle Act” by Zemmel, Cuddihy and Carey (2018) focuses on the work of leaders in their post-adaptation period and those practices that can help increase authority and recognition among colleagues. The purpose of the paper is to describe the mechanisms contributing to strengthening management functions after the end of a fact-finding phase. The key issue that Zemmel et al. (2018) affect is the inability of some leaders to implement relevant practices that could stimulate their productive activities. The reasoning presented in the article is supported by excerpts from the interviews of individual CEOs.

The assumptions on which the work is based relate to the problems of operational management after the period of familiarisation with the tasks of a particular company. The authors argue that an effective impact through personal authority may weaken, which, in turn, is fraught with a decrease in the productivity of employees’ activities (Zemmel et al., 2018). As an explicit assumption, reasoning is made about the differences in approaches to the organisation of the work process at different stages. The values are listed ​​in relation to applying relevant practices that are suitable for specific tasks. At the same time, there are implicit hypotheses, for instance, the incompetence of leaders affecting the problems of the entire company and labour performance.

The thesis of the article is as follows: the effective practices and methods of leadership work contribute to strengthening management activities during the post-adaptation period. As findings, Zemmel et al. (2018) identify five significant factors that may help in solving the problem in question. In particular, such mechanisms are considered as raising the level of ambitions, correcting insufficiently effective processes, developing leadership talent, establishing internal and external contacts and distributing the company’s capital competently. The main conclusions are that CEOs should look for opportunities for self-development to prevent the loss of qualifications in their middle phase and consider the management process as a dynamic and constantly changing activity.

The evidence of this article is based solely on interviews with individual CEOs, and no academic resources or other credible sources are mentioned. In general, the conclusions are proved by the proposed views of companies’ heads. Nevertheless, when analysing the research process, one can hardly argue about the validity of the article because, firstly, it is written in a journalistic style, and secondly, it has many subjective judgments.

After reading, it is clear that the middle phase of leaders’ activities is a challenging stage that requires careful planning. However, concerns remain about whether the considered factors influencing managerial work are optimal or not. Zemmel et al. (2018) do not mention the alternative ways of assessing the affected issue. As a result, the validity of the research does not have a sufficiently strong background.

Based on the experience gained after reading other articles on the topic of variations in leadership approaches and practices, I can argue that the work reviewed is valuable. The reasons are the peculiarities of the topic affected and the analysis of the proposed management phase. My knowledge in this issue was not rich until I got acquainted with this research, and the proposed hypotheses may be useful for compiling a comprehensive picture of a business strategy. In addition, the assumptions considered stimulate interest in a particular stage of leadership practice, and studying this aspect in detail may allow for a better understanding of the basics of coordinating activities.


Ancona, D., Malone, T. W., Orlikowski, W. J., & Senge, P. M. (2007). . Harvard Business Review. Web.

Rosener, J. B. (1990). . Harvard Business Review. Web.

Zemmel, R., Cuddihy, M., & Carey, D. (2018). . Harvard Business Review. Web.

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"In Praise of the Incomplete Leader and Ways Women Lead." IvyPanda, 2 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/in-praise-of-the-incomplete-leader-and-ways-women-lead/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "In Praise of the Incomplete Leader and Ways Women Lead." June 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/in-praise-of-the-incomplete-leader-and-ways-women-lead/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'In Praise of the Incomplete Leader and Ways Women Lead'. 2 June.

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