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Authentic Leadership and Strategic planning at arts-based and non-arts

There is no doubt that theories are critical in any research undertaking. Theories guide the research processes and enables the researchers to make sense of their findings. Nonetheless, there is no general agreement on the most suitable definition regarding the term ‘theory’. This is because various researchers and scholars have held differing opinions in respect to the definition given to the concept of theory. Gelso (2006) refers to the theory as a just statement which indicates a relationship between various variables. This relationship can only be verified through research and/or scientific experimentation. Wacker (1998) was of the view that a theory is composed of four elements which include domains, definitions, relationships, and the predictive element. This research paper will discuss the nature and types of theory, show the relationship between theory and research, as well as explain why a theory is crucial in understanding authentic leadership and strategic planning. Nature and types of theoriesThe definition given to the term theory is diversified. Individuals have developed various definitions and views regarding the concept with little agreement. Lack of consensus on this issue can be attributed to the notion that theorists and researchers have unique ways of approaching scholarly concepts. This has resulted in different opinions regarding the definition of theory (Gelso, 2006; Harlow, 2009). The definition provided for the term theory can be simple and succinct or complex and elaborate. Gelso (2006) described a theory as a statement of supposed relationship between variables. According to Gelso (2006), theory has the nature of combining concepts and establishing the relationship between variables which are related. When people suspect that a relationship exists between and among variables, they develop theories to express their suspicion. It is important to mention that theories become facts when the relationship between the variables is confirmed. Therefore, a theory is a proposition which has not yet been verified to be applicable. Gelso continues to explain that the abstracts, objectives, subject, perspective and the formality of various theories differ (Gelso, 2006). Similarly, Wacker (1998) opines that theories are developed to predict the behavior of certain variables. He confirms that theories ought to provide a precise picture about the nature of variables. This means that a theory gives a simple picture of the general behavior of people, objects, organizations, and other things (Gay & Weaver, 2011).Due to the complexity and diversity associated with the definition given to theory, various typologies and classifications have been developed to offer various types of theories. This is done based on the purpose, function, boundary and goals associated with the particular theoretical framework. Gelso (2006) observed that Rychlak suggested four functions associated with theories which include delimiting, integrative, generative and descriptive functions. Descriptive function serves to address the causal explanations between variables. The integrative function provides an orderly and unified picture of “diverse and at times seemingly disparate … facts” (Gelso, 2006, p 3). On the other hand, the delimiting function establishes boundaries on the issue being tested. Lastly, the generative function inspires new research and thus expands the already existing knowledge (Gay & Weaver, 2011).Gelso (2006) and Wacker (1998) observed that it is not only the definition of theory that has been problematic, but also the method that researchers and scholars use to determine the best theory that can be used when carrying out research work. The major reason as to why such problems have occurred is because researchers and theorists have different points of view and build the theories on different paradigms (Tarraco, 2002). According to Hall (2000), theories are only built on a certain preposition or assumption; therefore, any issues of definition just reflect the preposition or the assumption made during the building of the theory. The assumptions made before the beginning of the theory is constituted by knowledge, experience or reality, existence, as well as some philosophical inputs and values which are also referred to as axiology. The presupposition view held by theorists end up being useful to them; that is, what the theorists intend to research about will greatly determine the presupposition that the theorist will have to take (Gay & Weaver, 2011).Frame (1995) asserts that the experiences that one has gone through also play a very crucial role in determining the presupposition taken. In other words, the life experiences a theorist has gone through will greatly influence the paradigm or viewpoint on which to build his/her theory or how to conduct his or her research. The way a person views the world shapes the questions that the individual would seek to research about (Frame, 1995). Henderikus (2010) seems to disagree with Frame when he states that a person does not approach the world in a naïve manner but rather has some already formed perceptions that he or she seeks to ascertain by proving the perceptions to be either right or wrong. This brings the issue of what is right between “seeing is believing” and “believing is seeing”. Bolman and Deal (2003) puts their view that a person will always see what he wants to see, further supporting the truism that “believing is seeing”.Bolman and Deal (2003) further argue that theories are personal viewpoints concerning some matters and therefore, when used, they are intended to shield some of the existing beliefs. Naugle (2002) and Sire (2004) argue that the theories that have been put in place do not only protect the existing beliefs, but also hinder any paths and chances of other researchers coming up with views about the matter in question that are not biased. This is so because most of the time the data and information that does not seem to concur with the view that we have already or the presuppositions that we have will most likely be disregarded as irrelevant (Sutton and Staw, 1995).Since there is no a universal definition of theory that researchers and theorists can make use of to make their work easier, they make use of classifications and typologies. This mode of using classifications and typologies do not only define the theory but also indicate its purpose and the goals it intends to achieve. By extension, the typologies also define the boundaries that the theory can be used in (Harlow, 2009). According to Torraco (2002), there are about five major types of theory: inductive grounded theory, Dubin’s hypothetico-deductive, social constructionist theory, meta-analytic theory, and case study theory. It has been argued that theories have four major roles which are descriptive (which aims at explaining why things happen the way they happen), delimiting (whose main purpose is to set some sort of scope into the matter that will be examined), generative (whose function is to encourage more research studies to be carried on a particular area to shed more light) and, lastly, the integrative (which is supposed to integrate all the other functions in order to present a unified and flowing information). It has also been pointed out that the integrative function might at times present data that seems to be diverse or disparate (Gelso, 2006).Habermas’ three-perspective classification is also another mode of theory classification which is commonly used by researchers and theorists. The classification has empirical-analytical, critical theory, and interpretive. In his contribution to the issue of theories, DiMaggio (1995) asserts that theories have three major components: they are governing laws, they enlighten, and lastly, they narrate. As governing laws, theory usually gives boundaries or scope through which the research should be done; in other words, the theory will be of no use in any application beyond the scope. In terms of enlightening, theories are informative as they can teach researchers of what to expect when conducting their research while narrating; they make the information flow and be relevant.Theories can largely be grouped into two categories namely, concatenated theory, which is inductive-synthesis and hierarchical theory, which can also be referred to as hypothetico-deductive theory. It is worth to note that there are differences between theory, concepts, models, paradigms, and hypothesis. According to Gelso (2006), a proposition is the basis through which hypothesis are formed while the propositions are statements that show how two or more concepts are related. Hypotheses are made up of both dependent and independent variables that try to predict the outcome of their relation. It can be mentioned that the outcome that hypotheses try to predict must be measurable in nature (Sutton and Staw, 1995). Concepts can be defined as terms that are essential in trying to understand the principles of science. Concepts can better be understood when they have values that are easily identifiable. In other words, a person can easily state the value that the concept has through observation. The relationship between models, diagrams, and theory is that theory has to explain what is presented by these aspects. Paradigms, on the other hand, are simply the way people view the world while theories can be termed to be statements that explain the “why” of certain aspects in life. In this case, theories try to consolidate paradigms.There are three major categories of theories namely; hypothetico-deduction, inductive synthesis, and critical theory. The inductive theory is also referred to as interpretative (Harlow, 2009). The purpose of a given research greatly determines the sort of theory that will be used. For example, when the major goal of a research being carried out is to find the truth of the matter, then there is no doubt that the hypothetico-deductive will be the sort of theory under use (Tarraco, 2002). The inductive grounded theory will largely be used in a set up where the main objective of the research is to understand the situation better or the different perspectives or stakeholders involved. For inductive theory to be successful, the person conducting research using this theory must be open-minded because the theory is considered to be wide-ended especially at the start of the research (Wacker, 1998).In inductive theory, the researcher first comes up with all the relevant data and then formulates the theory; this means that it is from the available information that a theory is formulated. During the process, no single piece of data or information is disregarded since it does not agree with the theory as such a move would mean coming up with a biased opinion (Gelso, 2006). According to Harlow (2009), deductive thinking, on the contrary, seeks to confirm a hypothesis statement by dictating the sort of data to be collected. Therefore, it is considered as being nomothetic. The fact that it is nomothetic gives it more powers in explaining. If the research studies, through the collected data, do not agree with the hypothesis, the theory is then falsified (Bolman and Deal, 2003). Critical theory seeks to bring out facts that are not in the public domain with an aim of changing the society. The critical theory concentrates on making those in positions of influence notice the inequalities and social injustices that are present within the society and indicates how they can assist in their elimination (Rynes and Gephart, 2004).Relationship between theory and researchThe relationship between research and theory is very diverse. However, despite lack of agreement on the preciseness of the relationship between the two concepts, it has been established that theory is critical to the research process. It can generally be agreed that original research needs to make contributions towards knowledge in the respective domain or discipline (Ellis & Levy, 2008). The debate on the relationship between research and theory narrows down to the ‘contribution’ aspect.There are several ways in which theory and research are related. However, the most common way is that research can be used to formulate theory and similarly, theory can be used to carry out research. According to Ellis and Levy (2008), theory forms the basis under which researchers carry out their research studies. Research, irrespective of whether it is quantitative or qualitative, contributes to theory through originality and utility. This means that research builds on the existing theories by revealing new knowledge and should be useful to the society by being practical. According to Harlow (2009), quantitative research is more useful in the development of theories than qualitative research. This is because it makes use of the hypothetico-deductive, hence providing more power in the explanatory and predictability aspects, as well as the ability to be generalized. Even though the contribution of the qualitative research to theory development might be considered to be narrow and limited, it is very important especially when it comes to dealing with topics or subjects that cannot be handled through quantitative means. Qualitative research is also critical when dealing with social issues. As Frame (1995) explains, research can be very useful to theory, specifically when adding to its explanatory power. This can only be achieved when the research has proven to reveal more knowledge about the matter which was not previously known. It is assumed that when research adds to a theory’s explanatory power by revealing some extra information, there is a likely that it might lead to a shift in paradigm (Ellis and Levy, 2008).More often, research studies build on the existing theories by revealing more information that add on to the already existing information hence building on the theory (Bolman and Deal, 2003). This is considered to be a crucial factor when researchers and theorists are deciding on the particular theory to use. A theory that has been progressing is more chosen by researchers than a theory that has been dormant. Theory must, to a certain extent, aid in research work or have the ability to improve on the practice of research by adequately informing the researchers. This will also improve the understanding of the researchers, making their work more exciting. Hall (2000) asserts that most people consider theory to be contributing to research work by establishing what has come to be referred to as “best practice”. It is undeniable among researchers as well as theorists that a good theory will make research work practical and helpful to society. A good theory can be defined as the one that has resulted from empirical research and built on past experiences. According to Ellis & Levy (2008), a good theory can only be termed to be practical if it can be used as a baseline upon which best practice can be established.As mentioned, when carrying out research, there are two major methods that are used: quantitative and qualitative. Nonetheless, depending on the nature of research, the data at hand, or data being sort, researchers will be forced to combine the two methods and make use of mixed methods. The good thing about the use of mixed methods is that one can make maximize on the advantages of the two and end up with a very high quality outcome (Sutton and Staw, 1995). One of the advantages of using both the qualitative and quantitative methods combined in research work is that there is comprehensive analysis of data, providing very comprehensive evidence of the theories used, regardless of whether it is a good theory or not (Ellis and Levy, 2008).When a theory does not prove to be true in application it is as good as falsified. In other words, when applied in research work and the results are different from those predicted by the theory; it is then considered to be of no value especially to researchers. The main purpose of a theory is to bridge the gap between research work and practice (Bolman and Deal, 2003; Ellis and Levy, 2008). Authentic leadership and inductive theoryAuthentic leadership can be described as the kind of leadership that identifies the truth about oneself, others, and the environment one operates based on the available situation. An authentic leader can also be termed as a leader who is sensitive to the surrounding issues and acts in a manner aimed at addressing these issues (Cooper, Scandura, and Schriesheim, 2005). The major areas that are associated with authentic leadership are ethics and organizational behavior. This is because they touch on the core of organizational performance. According to Garger (2007), authentic leadership is more available than it is easier to define. This means that authentic leadership is more practiced in organizations than it is being studied or researched. Inductive-synthesis theory is best suited for authentic leadership because it depends on the available data in order to make any of the theories (Cooper, Scandura, and Schriesheim, 2005). Another reason as to why authentic leadership is best suited to inductive theory has been given by Garger (2007) as: authentic leadership can only be effective when it is first identified and studied before being implemented as trying to implement it can be disastrous to the organization and its activities. A good example is where leaders are trained such that they present behaviors that are socially acceptable as opposed to bringing up leaders who are guided by virtues in their leadership (Cooper, Scandura, and Schriesheim, 2005). Inductive synthesis theory can also be termed as a problem-based research because it seeks to find the solutions for some problems within the society (Ellis and Levy, 2008). As noted earlier, any research work must be able to explain why, when, and how things happen. Looking at this approach, it means that there are already results and now there is need to look for answers as to why such things happened the way they happened at the time they happened.An analysis of authentic leadership can reveal that it is comparable to inductive synthesis because it responds to things which have already happened. In other words, decisions that are made by authentic leaders address real issues which have happened or are happening in the world (Gardner, Avolio, Luthans, May, and Walumbwa, 2005; Gelso, 2006). It can also be argued that the inductive synthesis theory is more beneficial in gaining results. This is because the researcher will be interested to know why what happened took place and what can be done to avoid such a situation if they are destructive or enhance the same if they are beneficial. As already mentioned, any theory must describe the scope of the research work being undertaken, with inductive synthesis or problem solving. Also, the problem often sets up the scope of the research (Bolman and Deal, 2003).There is a very big difference between strategic planning and authentic leadership. Strategic planning is concerned more about laying the right structures for an organization while authentic leadership is responding to the issues that arise in the workplace (Wong & Cummings, 2009). Strategic planning is usually concerned more with the future of the organization; what to do in order to ensure the organization remains relevant at all times; and the different resources that are to be deployed in order for the organization to achieve its objectives. According to Garger (2007), when the issues of authentic leadership are brought out, it is about taking action in order to avoid the organization losing its focus. It has been established that authentic leadership is about responding to issues that are real and happening in the world. This is the opposite of strategic planning which tends to focus on speculations about the future before devising a strategy based on the predictions (Wong & Cummings, 2009). It is often argued that the best way of conducting a research demands getting an exceptional understanding of the problem (Sutton and Staw, 1995). This brings out a confusion that such an understanding seems to contradict the principle of inductive synthesis. This is because it entails having the data first before coming up with the theory. On the other hand, some scholars argue that the data does not necessarily mean the results of the problem but sufficient information about the existence of the problem (Gelso, 2006). Another controversy with the theory is that while any theory must describe the scope of the research work being undertaken, working with the data to formulate the theory might be a bit wide in scope. In this case, the scope might be wider than when the research work is being carried out by a hypothesis (Hall, 2000). As Harlow (2009) explains, the good thing about this is that it will tackle the problem in a holistic manner, providing results that can be relied upon and which can be practical. This often occurs when the available data is considered to be as a result of the problem and the research is to find out why and what happened. To some, this might not be a controversy at all because inductive thinking is often open-ended; meaning that it has a wide range of possibilities. This is unlike deductive thinking which is considered to be narrow (Harlow, 2009).ConclusionThere is no doubt that theory is a concept that has diverse interpretations. Nonetheless, theory is critical to the research process. In addition, it has been established that theory and research are closely related and each contributes to the enhancement of the other. Despite the varied opinions related to theory among scholars, a key issue remains unchallenged in the sense that theory and research are closely related. The relationship between the two concepts is diverse and subject to debate. However, various categories have been established to define various theories that have been established which include hypothetico-deduction, inductive synthesis, and critical theories. Authentic leadership and strategic planning compares favorably with the inductive theories because such theories can be used to understand the concept of authentic leadership and strategic planning.

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