Academic Master

Human Resource And Management

distinct approaches utilized by leaders to defend organizational legitimacy

The goal of the leadership is to organize the craft for organizational culture. The leaders are responsible for implementing strategies suitable for a particular culture, or they look out for a particular strategy on the cultural aspect of the organization. The execution of a strategy needs cultural synchronization. The culture responds to the changes in the external environment. The leaders sort out different approaches to defending organizational legitimacy. For this, the approaches are:

1. Substantive method

2. Symbolic method

The substantive approach adopted by the management shows interest and adaptability to new initiatives, organized goals, and cultural change for the institutionalized practice. For instance, management decided to bring change in organizational culture, which is evident with the replacement of employees from low to high ranks. The replacement of old managerial staff with the new and improvised breed of the manager in the institute. Whereas the symbolic method involves changing the organization the way it looks, it does not dig deeper like the substantive. This kind of symbolic leadership action would only address the behavior and performance of the organizational staff and their vision to promote the transformation. For example, leaders are invited to various events as an honor to the organization’s excellence and to encourage the sustainability of norms and values among training employees.

Substantive leadership action practice involves four types of practices:

1. Role performance meeting by the management about the expectations of the stakeholders/organization members.

2. Coercive isomorphism, the practice of ensuring the organizational conformity to the beliefs and values of the investors/ organizational members.

3. Changes in the resources by mixing the investors and stakeholders that the organization depends on for sourcing.

4. The last one is changed in the institution practice socially by imitating the practice to outcomes and expectations of the organization.

Symbolic leadership actions have six practices:

1. promotion of socially acceptable objectives along with less acceptable goals.

2. Keeping all the activities and their outcome secure and confidential. And also a denial of any activity going on by the firm.

3. Reframing of the means and stopping influencing the interpretation of stakeholders.

4. To stand for accountability on behalf of the organization for any justification.

5. To be responsible or acknowledge any unfavorable or negative incident by the organization.

6. The adaption of highly favorable practices from the perspective of the organization members in synchronization with the core technologies the firm uses.

Practically, it is difficult to distinguish responses between substantive and symbolic leadership actions. Organizational leaders or managers combine substantive and symbolic actions. Substantive actions, such as dependence on investors, bondage with stakeholders, and risk-taking actions by leaders, are the procedures or substantive actions that combine with the firm’s justification regarding any change as symbolic action. Thus, they are not isolated.


Mary Tschirhart. Symbolic and substantive Action. In: Artful Leadership. Indiana University Press; 1996:1819. TheLeadership of culture, ethics, and diversity;%20Theory,%20Application,%20&%20Skill%20Development%20(4th%20Edition)/Chapter%2010%20Leadership%20Of%20Culture,%20Ethics,%20And%20Diversity.pdf.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message