Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy


Highly effective leaders develop styles that are clearly aligned with their team and organisational culture. Important differences between leadership styles are described, with case studies from across industries to highlight the benefits and drawbacks.

Technique Overview

Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy

Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy Definition

Kurt Lewin and his colleagues conducted research on different leadership styles, classifying them into three types: democratic, autocratic, and laissez-faire (Lewin et al., 1939). Autocratic and authoritative terms are used interchangeably while laissez-faire leadership is about giving employees greater autonomy (Robinson, 2010). The three styles - authority, autocracy and autonomy - can be placed on a continuum of leadership styles (Lewin et al, 1939).

Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy Description *

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Business Evidence

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Business Application

Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy Implementation *

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Professional Tools

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Further Reading

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Authority, Autocracy, Autonomy References (4 of up to 20) *

  • Anders S., Ståle E., Torbjørn T., Merethe S. A. & Hilde H. (2007) The destructiveness of laissez-faire leadership behavior. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (2007) Volume: 12, Issue: 1, Pages: 80-92.
  • Bolton, G. E., Ockenfels, A. (2000) “ERC – A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity and Competition.” American Economic Review 90(1), pp. 166-193.
  • Burnes, B., Hughes,M., By,R. (2016) Reimagining Organisational Change Leadership. Leadership. ISSN 1742-7169
  • Charness, G. and M. Rabin (2002) “Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117(3), pp. 817-869.

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