Definition of Laissez-faire Leadership
(noun) A leadership style in which a leader allows members of the group to make their own decisions.
Example of Laissez-faire Leadership
- Warren Buffett (born 1930) (Sorkin 2011).
Laissez-faire Leadership Pronunciation
Syllabification: lais·sez faire lead·er·ship
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈleɪˌzeɪ-fɛr ˈlidərˌʃɪp/
- British English – /ˈleɪseɪˈfeə ˈliːdəʃɪp/
- Laissez-faire leadership results in leaders taking a “hands off” approach to a situation. Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippitt, and R. K. White developed a leadership typology by studying 10-year-old boys in school. Their findings were published in the “Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally Created ‘Social Climates‘” (1939). The resulting typology was authoritarian leadership, democratic leadership, and laissez-faire leadership.
- A colloquial way to understand these three leadership style is an authoritarian leader “takes charge,” a democratic leader “includes others before acting,” and a laissez-faire leader “is hands off.”
- A (noun) delegative leader or (noun) laissez-faire leader uses a (noun) laissez-faire style to lead.
- “Authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire types of leadership also reflect individual personality as much as any organisational plan. Then, too, in the ‘real world’ of organisations, leaders and their cronies sometimes seek to benefit personally through the abuse of organisational power. And perhaps even more commonly, leaders take credit for the efforts of their subordinates. Many secretaries, for example, have far more authority and responsibility than their official job titles and salaries suggest” (Macionis and Plummer 2012:172).
- Word origin of “laissez-faire” and “leadership” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Goethals, George R., Georgia J. Sorenson, and James MacGregor Burns. 2004. Encyclopedia of Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Helgesen, Sally. 1990. The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership. New York: Doubleday Currency.
- Ridgeway, Cecilia L. 1983. The Dynamics of Small Groups. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Scheidlinger, Saul. 1994. “The Lewin, Lippitt and White Study of Leadership and ‘Social Climates’ Revisited.” International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 44(1):123–27. doi:10.1080/00207284.1994.11490737.
- White, Ralph, and Ronald Lippitt. 1953. “Leader Behavior and Member Reaction in Three ‘Social Climates.'” Pp. 586–611 in Group Dynamics, edited by D. Cartwright and A. Zander. Evanston, IL: Row & Peterson.
- Leadership Styles – Kendra Cherry: psychology.about.com
- expressive leader
- instrumental leader
- leadership function
- leadership style
Sorkin, Andrew Ross. 2011. “Warren Buffett, Delegator in Chief.” The New York Times. Retrieved May 29, 2023 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/weekinreview/24buffett.html?ref=warrenebuffet&_r=0).
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
OpenStax College. 2014. Introduction to Sociology. OpenStax CNX.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Laissez-faire Leadership
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “laissez-faire leadership.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 29, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/laissez-faire-leadership/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
laissez-faire leadership. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/laissez-faire-leadership/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “laissez-faire leadership.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/laissez-faire-leadership/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“laissez-faire leadership.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 29 May. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/laissez-faire-leadership/>.