Importance of leadership

An organization, howsoever good it is, is quite inactive without effective leadership. An effective leader can only pull out the organization from darkness to light, push it to the path of development by resolving the various genuine difficulties. Without leadership, an organization is but a muddle of men, machines and materials because all these factors of production remain idle unless they are engaged in a co-ordinate manner to produce more towards the accomplishment of goal of the organization.

Success or failure of an organization depends very much on the leadership provided to it. Leadership is still an art and there is no substitute alternative to it. We can present the following points in support of its importance :

Leadership importance can be judged from the following points :

1. He directs the group activities to get the work done effectively.

2. Better utilization of manpower is possible under an effective leadership.

3. Leadership is a source of motivation.

4. It develops good human relations.

5. Leadership helps promoting the spirit of co-ordination among workers.

6. Leadership helps fulfilling social responsibility, i.e., responsibility to different section of the society such as consumers, producers, government and the investors.

Functions of leadership

A leader must perform the following functions :

1. Integration of the efforts of his followers.

2. Communication of organization policies, procedure, programmes, authority and responsibility to subordinates.

3. Production emphasis.

4. Representation of organization, its policies and aims and his group.

5. Developing fraternity among subordinates.

6. Organization function.

7. Evaluating the performance of subordinates.

8. Initiative to introduce changes.

9. Domination over subordinates.

Wolfgang Köhler

(January 21, 1887 - June 11, 1967) was a German psychologist. He was a key figure, together with Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka, in the development of Gestalt psychology. Wertheimer was the instigator of the revolutionary approach and it was Kohler and Koffka who served as his first experimental subjects and through whose lifelong collaborative efforts the foundations were laid. Their radically different approach regarded perception, learning and cognition as structured wholes rather than the sum of individual components connected by association. This new school of psychological research emerged in opposition to the atomistic approach of Wilhelm Wundt and to the Behaviorism of Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, providing an experimental way to approach the study of human perception and cognition that allowed for the greatest complexities and interdependencies without abandoning scientific method.

Köhler gained fame with The Mentality of Apes, in which he argued that his chimpanzee subjects, like human beings, were capable of insight learning, leading to a radical revision of learning theory. Although Gestalt theory has been overtaken by other approaches in developmental psychology, cognition and artificial intelligence, Köhler's work remains innovative and challenging to all who seek to understand the complexity of the human mind.


Wolfgang Köhler was born on January 21, 1887, in Reval (now Tallinn) in the Russian Empire (now Estonia). His father was the headmaster of a local school for the children of Germans working in that area. When he was six, the family returned to Germany where Wolfgang and his siblings received the typical German education that well prepared them for professional careers and cultured society. Wolfgang in particular developed a love of classical music.

Köhler attended the universities of Tübingen, Bonn and University of Berlin, where he received a thorough scientific training in physics, chemistry and biology. In Berlin he studied with the famous physicist Max Planck, whose teachings influenced his approach to psychology. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Berlin in 1909, with a dissertation on psycho-acoustics under the direction of Carl Stumpf.

After receiving his doctorate, Köhler began work at the Psychological Institute at the Frankfurt Academy. His early work in psychology involved the psychological analysis of audition, combining his training in science with his love of music.

In 1910, Kurt Koffka moved to Frankfurt and that year Köhler and Koffka began as Max Wertheimer's first subjects in the earliest experiments of the work that laid the foundation for Gestalt psychology.

This work was interrupted in 1913, when Köhler was appointed director of the Anthropoid Station on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Due to World War I, he remained in that position until 1920, conducting numerous experiments on animal perception, cognition and learning. There he wrote his acclaimed book, The Mentality of Apes (1917).

There is a possibility that his appointment in Tenerife was not entirely for academic purposes, but that he was employed by the German government as a spy. Since the apes at the station were not native to the island, but it was strategically placed to monitor naval traffic, the accusation is not unreasonable, although it was not made until after Köhler's death.

In 1920, Köhler returned to Berlin, as acting director of the Psychological Institute, becoming chair and director from 1922 until 1935. He also held the position of professor of philosophy at the university of Berlin. Wertheimer was also in Berlin and they maintained close collaboration with Koffka who was in Giessen. They continued their work, applying Gestalt principles to a wide variety of psychological issues, attracting students from all over the world.

While in Berlin, Köhler wrote Gestalt Psychology (1929), which described various aspects of Gestalt theory based on the series of investigations conducted at the Institute. With his colleagues, Köhler founded the Psychologische Forschung, a journal that provided a forum for publications of research and discussion in Gestalt psychology. One of his colleagues and sometimes rival, in Berlin was Kurt Lewin, who applied Gestalt principles in the areas of motivation and social dynamics. Another was Kurt Goldstein, a neurologist who applied Gestalt ideas to cognitive processes.

In 1925, Köhler spent a year as a visiting professor at Clark University in the United States.

When the Nazis began their rise to power in Germany, removing Jewish professors from their positions, Köhler was shocked and outraged. He wrote a letter to a Berlin newspaper protesting and arguing that many of the greatest contributions to German culture had come from Jewish citizens. This may have been the last openly anti-Nazi opinion published during the Third Reich.

With Nazi intimidation and threats to his work increasing, in 1934, Köhler accepted a position as William James lecturer at Harvard University and a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 1935. When Köhler did not sign an oath of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler, his position in Berlin was filled and his assistants dismissed. In the summer of 1935, he resigned his position in Berlin and moved permanently to the U.S., taking a position at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he worked until his retirement in 1958.

He edited his William James lectures from 1934, publishing them in 1938, as The Place of Value in a World of Facts and continued to pursue his application of ideas from physics, such as vector forces in the psychological and ethical context.

In 1956, Köhler was elected the president of the American Psychological Association.

Wolfgang Köhler died on June 11, 1967, in Enfield, New Hampshire.


Together with Wertheimer and Koffka, Köhler is one of the founders of Gestalt psychology. His early work was as Wertheimer's subject in his foundational experiments. When World War I interrupted their collaboration, Köhler spent his time studying problem solving in apes. Later he returned to work with Wertheimer and Koffka on the development of Gestalt theories.

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