Essay on Autocratic and Participative Leadership

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In the 21st century, with the advancement of technology and globalization of companies, the success of the business is determined by the type of leadership inculcated in it through its leaders. Several types of leadership have different level of inclusion of the employees during the decision making and formulating process. At the same time, this leadership also has an effect on the brand image of the company and also employee satisfaction. Different forms of leadership are adapted by the leading world leaders in their organizations. Two of such types of leadership, Autocratic Leadership and Participative Leadership are discussed in the below section.
Autocratic Leader’s style
In the Autocratic style of leadership, the decision-making process, as well as the entire control of an organization or a company, is made by an individual, and he controls the decisions and policies formulated in the enterprise (Schoel, Stahlberg, & Sedikides, 2015). One of the most famous and well-acclaimed leader, who was an autocratic leader is Steve Jobs, the founder, and director of Apple Company. It is the vision of the leaders that ply an important role in the success of the autocratic style of leadership. Steve Jobs, was the person behind the development of Apple Company, and he had a vision where he wanted the common man to afford computers. He encouraged his employees to work consistently for long hours whenever needed (Sonnenfeld, 2013). There is a very well-known quote that displays autocratic leadership, and it is, “I’m not bossy, I just know what you should be doing” (Ragrobyn, 2010). Steve Jobs used to observe the minutest details of the things, he expected and encouraged the same among his employees.

Impact on the company culture
The effect of the autocratic style of leadership by Steve Jobs on the company culture in Apple was enormous. His famous quote states that “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better” (Griggs, 2016). It promoted the urging strive for excellence across all of its products. There has been special consideration made in the quality of the product as well as service provided by Apple. He had a complete control of all the activities that were carried out in Apple including all of its new products, services and innovative technology incorporated in it (Sonnenfeld, 2013). The belief that one should lead the company from the front and be involved in all the things implemented in the organization has impacted the working culture in Apple as the employees feel free to connect to Steve Jobs and express their views. However, the major decision has to be taken by Steve Jobs, and it is followed in Apple.
Participative Leader’s style
Participative style of leadership refers to the style of leadership where all the decisions taken in the company are through the involvement of each and every employee and inputs are obtained from each one of them while taking the decisions in the enterprise. Unlike autocratic style of leadership, participative leadership provides more power and authority to the employees and it provides them with a sense of inclusiveness in the company’s policies, strategies, and framework implemented after getting enough votes from the employees (Miao, Newman, & Huang, 2014). One famous quote on participative leadership states that “Great leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfill their potential” (Leadership, 2015). Walt Disney, the founder of The Walt Disney Company, is an exquisite example who incorporated participative leadership in his organization and took it to great heights on a global level.
Impact on the company culture
The participative style of leadership that was adopted by Walt Disney encouraged all the employees to provide their input and work collectively for the development and subsequent growth of the company. Walt Disney’s famous quotes include, “You can design and create, and build the most beautiful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality” (DISNEYANIMATION, 2016). Walt Disney motivated his employees to be creative and explore their imagination as a result of which The Walt Disney Company, came with cartoons and other services for the children that got accepted on a global level (Zink, 2014). It helped the company to create a niche for itself in the cartoon industry and made them lead the industry through their innovation and creativity.
Resolving a conflict
In an autocratic leadership, resolving of conflict can be easy at times since it involves making decisions by only one person and hence, it reduces the power of the others and hence the person can work towards the attainment of company’s goals. On the other hand, autocratic leadership serves to be a problem when there is a conflict among the employees of the organization, or the employees feel that the decisions and strategies developed by the autocratic leader are not justifiable and supportable (Schoel, Stahlberg, & Sedikides, 2015). During such scenario, the founder, that is the autocratic leader like Steve Jobs, was made to leave his company.
However, it can be seen that though the participative leadership is more time consuming and complicated, it resolves conflicts in the most appropriate way that includes taking the inputs from each and every employee regarding the conflict faced by the company (Miao, Newman, & Huang, 2014). Walt Disney was such a participative leader who was known for providing rewards and recognition to his employees for their dedication and hard work that has helped the company reach great heights.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The strength of the autocratic leadership is that there is no confusion and complexity in the decision-making process adopted in it. It focusses on a clear vision that is developed by the leader. At the same time, autocratic leadership leads to the shifting of the talented employees to a company that inculcates participative leadership in it (Schoel, Stahlberg, & Sedikides, 2015). It is because these employees require recognition and a sense of inclusion in the development of the company and its decisions. It is this weakness that makes it feel like a leadership that inculcates dictatorship in the organization.
The strength of the participative style of leadership is that it motivates the people to think collectively towards the accomplishment of company’s goals, and this makes them feel united and working towards a common purpose (Miao, Newman, & Huang, 2014). It brings out great qualities that are inscribed on them and these help in taking the organization to an altogether new heights in the global market. However, there are few limitations or weaknesses of the participative style of leadership. It includes developing a complete chaos when there is any conflict among the employees. It consumes a significant amount of time in taking decisions that are very straightforward and necessary to be taken for the growth and success of the company.
From the style of managing people and getting things done from them, autocratic style of leadership is more favorable for the short-term basis. However, participative leadership may not show immediate results but adapting it for inspiring people and managing them within an organization tends to be more profitable and achieving significant results that would be sustainable and for long term basis. The main purpose of the organization and its objectives play a vital role in deriving an ideal style of leadership to be incorporated in it. Thus, it can be observed that through autocratic and participative leadership have got their own positive and negative sides; participative leadership has carved a niche for itself in today’s world among the organizations.

DISNEYANIMATION. (2016). STUDIO LIFE. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Griggs, B. (2016, January 4). 10 great quotes from Steve Jobs. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Leadership. (2015, October 22). Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Miao, Q., Newman, A., & Huang, X. (2014). The impact of participative leadership on job performance and organizational citizenship behavior: Distinguishing between the mediating effects of affective and cognitive trust. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(20), 2796-2810. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Ragrobyn. (2010, September 8). I’M NOT BOSSY! I JUST KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING! Retrieved from
Schoel, C., Stahlberg, D., & Sedikides, C. (2015). Psychological Insecurity and Leadership styles. In Handbook of Personal Security, 12(6), 55-73. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Sonnenfeld, J. A. (2013). Steve Jobs’ Immortal Quest and the Heroic Persona. Journal of Business and Management, 19(1), 1-68. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from
Zink, C. (2014). One Man’s Dream: How a company’s unique culture can translate into long-term success. University of Arkansas.


Posted on

March 10, 2018

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