The success or failure of an organization largely depends on quality of leadership within the organization; this is mainly because leadership is tasked with making decisions concerning running of the firm. Consequently, effective leadership should drive an organization in the direction of attaining organization’s goals (Zaccaro & Klimoski 2001, p.7).
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Socrates theory uses questions to guide leaders on the correct direction to follow. The development of Socrates theory redefined how leadership is managed; however, the theory has some limitations, with various complaints leveled against it. Moreover, the theory formed foundations for development of new theories.
Socrates theory is a classical theory which was developed by Socrates, and it consists of well-structured questions that encourage self-reflection and making of conclusion. Primarily, Socrates method facilitates leaders to consider and evaluate activities they should be engaging in (Ahbel-Rappe & Kamtekar, 2009, p.383).
In addition, the method instills critical thinking skills that are valuable to any organizational leader. Nevertheless, the process of questioning in Socrates theory is broken into six phases namely clarification, probing assumptions, probing rationale, questioning viewpoints, probing consequences, and questions to the question.
Socrates theories include theory of value, theory of knowledge, human nature, learning, transmission, society, consensus, and opportunity.
Impact of Socrates theory on leadership
Socrates theories led to development of leadership theories that defined characteristics of a leader and the ideal system. The criteria set for leadership determine excluded groups of people from leadership position, for instance, it emphasizes on education. Moreover, critical thinking developed by Socrates method challenged various leadership activities through questioning.
Criticism of Socrates theory
Socrates theory is a very useful tool in leadership; however, it has some limitation. The main concerns of Socrates theory is that it is a natural theory as its main definitions were centered on the concept of value hence gives definitions that are not morally neutral (Guthrie, 1971, p.118).
For a leader to engage in meaningful dialogue, he is required to have a substantial level of education. Additionally, the method takes long duration to give details; hence, it is a cumbersome method in operation. Moreover, the technique of constant questioning can result to counter productivity.
Relevance of the theory today and theories that have incorporated it
The theory can be “effectively internalized as a dialectical mode of reasoning in an effort to understand everything” in an organization (Miles, 2003, p.150). Besides, Socrates theory on learning is important as it illustrates how skills and knowledge can be acquired (Miles, 2003, p.150). Hence, organizations can utilize this approach whenever training and motivating their workforce. Indeed, the guiding principle of morality in the theory is crucial for any organization leadership.
Other researchers have used the theory of Socrates as a foundation for developing new theories. Plato, a student of Socrates, developed theories that were influenced or incorporated in Socrates methods. Plato’s theory of ethics is one of theories that have incorporated Socrates ideas (Lodge, 2000, p.3). Since Socrates theory is dynamic and a fairy difficult theory to use, modern Socratic methods were formulated.
Application of the theory in to the work environment
Socratic Method can be applied in the work environment, as it is known to contain persuasive and motivational effect to the employees thus enhancing performance. Moreover, the method can be utilized to promote obedience to the state and organization laws and regulation by leaders and their subordinate staff, as Socrates objected civil disobedience. The learning theory is essential for proper training or coaching the workforce
Socrates method is widely used in various circumstance i.e. leadership roles and in education. Subsequently, leadership was transformed by the theory despite of its limitations.
Ahbel-Rappe, S. & Kamtekar, R. (2009). A Companion to Socrates. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons. Web.
Guthrie, W. K. C. (1971). Socrates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Web.
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Lodge, R. C. (2000). Plato’s Theory of Ethics: The moral Criterion and the Highest Good, Volume 9. London: Routledge. Web.
Miles, D. H. (2003). The 30-second encyclopedia of learning and performance: a trainer’s guide to theory, terminology, and practice. NY: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. Web.
Zaccaro, S. & Klimoski, R. (2001). The nature of Organization leadership: understanding the performance imperatives confronting today’s leaders. California: John Wiley and Sons. Web.