Essay Example on Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Social Network Theory

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470 words
Harvey Mudd College
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Comparison (similarities and differences) between Leader-Member Exchange and Social Network Theory

The leader-member exchange theory and the social network theory are similar in the way that both of them relate to the study of relationships between people who are connected to social groups or organizations (Pellegrini et al., 2010). They concentrate more on the type of interactions between the members of the different interconnected groups because interactions enhance the social well-being of the participants (Ilies et al., 2007). The differences between the two theories arise whereby the theory of the leader-member exchange divides the interconnected groups of people into two groups namely the in-group and out-group (Avolio, 2007). The social network theory, on the other hand, incorporates all the interconnected members into one vast network, and all of them share the same interests (Prell, 2012).

Explain How You Might Integrate Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Social Network Theory Into Your Personal, Unified Leadership Theory

The leader-member exchange theory tells about how leaders maintain their leadership positions through various exchanges with their members (Lee, 2008). The social network theory, on the other hand, says about how people or organizations interact with others inside their network (Krause et al., 2007). My personal unified leadership theory promotes healthy interactions between members and a transformational leadership hence could integrate the two methods appropriately. This is by making sure that members of a particular group or network co-exist peacefully amongst themselves and their leaders.

Relate this Personal, Unified Theory to a Public Health Scenario With Which You are Familiar

The public health scenario that I am familiar with is primary care that works for all whereby the health professionals work together to achieve a desired goal. Health professionals are constantly facing situations that need them to make appropriate health decisions (Bradshaw et al., 2004). In the transformational leadership, the hospital administrators could empower their staff by incorporating them in the decision making process. It also includes motivating the health workers and serving as a role model for them. Moreover, there would be an improvement in the job environment and staff morale if the workers worked together as a team.


Avolio, B. J. (2007). Promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory-building. American Psychologist, 62(1), 25.

Bradshaw, P. L., & Bradshaw, G. (2004). Health policy for health care professionals. London: SAGE.

Ilies, R., Nahrgang, J. D., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Leader-member exchange and citizenship behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 1, 269-277.

Krause, J., Croft, D. P., & James, R. (2007). Social network theory in the behavioural sciences: potential applications. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 62(1), 15-27.

Lee, J. (2008). Effects of leadership and leader-member exchange on innovativeness. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(6), 670-687.

Pellegrini, E. K., Scandura, T. A., & Jayaraman, V. (2010). Cross-cultural generalizability of paternalistic leadership: An expansion of leader-member exchange theory. Group & Organization Management, 35(4), 391-420.

Prell, C. (2012). Social network analysis: History, theory & methodology. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.


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