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1.2 Key resources

When you need to find information in technology, how confident are you that you know the best places to search (e.g. search engines, subject gateways, online databases, etc.) to find the information you need?

  • 5 – Very confident

  • 4 – Confident

  • 3 – Fairly confident

  • 2 – Not very confident

  • 1 – Not confident at all

How familiar are you with journal articles
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1.1 Assessing your current level of knowledge

If you explore all the resources and activities in this unit, you might need to allow between two and nine hours to complete it.

Before you read this guide, why not use the self-assessment questions on the screens to rate your current level of knowledge?

Print or save these questions and for each question, mark the most appropriate number on the scale. When you have finished, you can review your answers. A score of three or less might indicate a gap in your knowledge or u
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this guide you should be able to:

  • conduct your own searches efficiently and effectively;

  • find references to material in bibliographic databases;

  • make efficient use of full text electronic journals services;

  • critically evaluate information from a variety of sources;

  • understand the importance of organising your own information;

  • identify some of the systems available;

  • describe ho
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Introduction

The internet provides a world of information, but how do you find what you are looking for? This unit will help you discover the meaning of information quality and teach you how to evaluate the material you come across in your study of technology. You will learn how to plan your searches effectively and be able to experiment with some of the key resources in this area.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Author(s): The Open University

5.4.4 Theories of leadership

  • Trait theories see leadership as requiring certain personal characteristics.

  • Style theories see leadership as the adoption of certain styles of interaction: e.g. task-centred (or structuring) leadership and person-centred (or supporting) leadership.

  • Contingency theories argue that different circumstances demand different modes of leadership.

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5.4.3 Two key leadership activities

  • Providing feedback: giving evaluative feedback so that it is experienced as helpful rather than destructive.

  • Problem ownership: the importance of accepting responsibility for our own problems, rather than blaming others.


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5.4.2 Leadership expectations

  • Largely because of expectations created in childhood (our ‘inner child of the past’), we have many unconscious expectations of leaders, and may well harbour resentments, anxieties, suspicions, subservience, passive resistances and attitudes to leadership that have little relationship to current adult realities.

  • The leader needs to be able to manage these feelings and his or her own responses to them.

  • Leaders will tend t
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5.4.1 Leadership roles

  • The classic ‘scientific’ view of the leader is as the central ‘controller’ – planning, monitoring and regulating.

  • The more ‘democratic’ view sees the role as facilitator, or coordinator.

  • The more ‘educational’ view sees it as that of adviser, teacher, source of expertise, etc.

  • Adair identified three overlapping areas: achieving the task, building and maintaining the team, and developing in
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5.3.4 Leadership theory summary

This brief review of leadership theories has indicated that there are no simple answers to what it is that makes some leaders more effective than others, and no single best leadership style or approach. What matters is that the style adopted should fit with the expectations of those being led and be consistent with the task at hand (that is, it should not ignore the specific characteristics of the task itself).

There are no simple answers, which is perhaps why this continues to be the s
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5.3.3 Contingency theories

Contingency theories are based on the idea that there is no single best style of leadership but that the most effective style depends upon the circumstances. The aspects of the circumstances identified as significant are:

  • the leader's characteristics and style (thus absorbing the two earlier theories).

  • the subordinates' expectations and experience.

  • the nature of the task and the organisational environment.


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5.3.2 Style theories

Style theories are based on the assumption that it is the style of leadership that matters. The alternative styles are generally phrased in terms of ‘task centred’ or ‘person centred’; these have also been called ‘structuring’ and ‘supporting’ styles, corresponding roughly to the ‘scientific’ and ‘social relations’ styles of management.

The leadership styles are not mutually exclusive and can be represented in the form of a grid, as in Author(s): The Open University

5.3 Leadership theories

Many theories about leadership tend to focus on the question ‘What is it that makes one leader more effective than another?’ The hope is that by observing carefully enough how successful leaders operate, it will be possible to arrive at a theory which will either enable others to be more effective leaders, or at least enable organisations to select better leaders. These theories of leadership fall into three broad categories: trait theories, style theories and contingency theories. I'll e
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5.2.2 Owning problems

Problem ownership is a tricky issue. It's also an issue that good leaders get right instinctively, and poor leaders get wrong consistently. The point is that there are two distinct classes of problems faced by leaders. The first consists of problems which are owned by the group members. Examples include when some additional resources are required, when instructions are not understood or when members complain that something is wrong. Under these conditions the leader's function is to provide p
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5.2.1 Providing evaluative feedback

One of the roles of a leader is to provide group members with feedback on their performance. This is often an uncomfortable process for both the leader and the recipient. The main reason for this is a failure by both parties adequately to distinguish between the individual and what is being evaluated. When criticism is carelessly given, it is easy for the recipient to take it as an attack on his or her self-esteem. The result is that the recipient resists the feedback and responds in a defens
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5.1 The leader's role

This reading is concerned with the relationship between the leader and his or her subordinates and the effectiveness of different approaches to this relationship.

First I will examine the leader's role, in an attempt to answer the question of why we need leaders. Then I will examine the issue of authority, and the tensions and potential conflicts that relate to this issue. Next, I will consider some of the theories that have been put forward about leadership. What makes a leader? What m
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4.5 Conclusions

  1. There are many different types of projects; all have specific objectives, constraints (such as budgets and schedules) and a group or team responsible for the completion of the project.

  2. Project teams are effective when both task and relationship behaviours are competently handled. The main task-oriented behaviours are:

     

    • estimating and planning;

    • assembling a team;


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4.4.2 Relationship-oriented behaviours

Managing and coordinating work

Once the project work begins, the project manager's job is to manage the work, and coordinate the efforts of different team members and different bodies within the organisation, in order to achieve the project's objectives.

Managing change

Few projects, if any, work out exactly as they were initially planned. Problems arise that require changes to plans. These may be short term (e.g. delaying a particular task because a necess
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4.4 What does a project manager do?

So what is project management and what does a project manager do? Project management involves managing teams of people from different disciplines to achieve unique project objectives. For example, a new product development team may never develop exactly the same product again. However, the competences used in product development may be transferable to other projects.

Project management usually takes place within a constrained environment. Typical factors which impinge on project managem
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4.3.2 Setting goals and objectives

Whatever the structure and culture of an organisation and the range of people involved, goals and objectives are usually seen as a valuable management tool. This is as relevant to a project team as it is to a whole organisation. What I will focus on here are some of the tensions and ambiguities surrounding the management of goals, especially in the context of team development. To be effective in clarifying and achieving the team task, we need to take account of the variety of (often conflicti
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4.3.1 ‘Players in the game’

A surprisingly large number of people in addition to the project manager and project team members can be involved in one way or another with projects. All of these people are important to some degree either because they are affected by the outcome of the project, or because they can affect its outcome, favourably or adversely. These various ‘players’ in the project ‘game’ may only be involved peripherally. It is important to be aware of who all the players are and what role they play
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