The problem and its setting
Crises are the best situations to test a leader’s skills. They create such an apprehensive environment that leaders are forced to make effective decisions with little information in a short time. Loosemore (1998) defined crisis as unexpected events in an organization’s life which represents a significant threat to its high priority values and demands a time pressured response. Asunakutlu and Dirlik (2009) defined it as a situation faced by an individual, group or organization which they are unable to cope with by the use of normal routine procedures and in which uncertainty, risks, difficulties and chaos exist. Generally, while describing crisis, researches point out the threats against companies’ values and existence, lack of predictability and controllability mechanisms, prompt acting, time pressure and sudden and significant changes.
Psychologist Kurt Lewin defined autocratic leadership where leaders provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done (Lewin, Llippit, & White, 1939). A clear division exists between the autocratic leader and the followers. Autocratic leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. Lewin pointed out the difficulty of moving from an authoritarian style to democratic style and vice versa, but he also stated that different situations require different types of management (Lewin et al., 1939). In today’s environment, companies do not always run their business smoothly. In fact, it is inevitable for them to face a crisis on every scale. So companies should be ready to switch their management policy during crisis. In present business environment, companies adopt different leadership styles that suit best to their interest. The challenge to deal a crisis is to select the most effective and efficient leadership style based on the organizational structure. Hence, how autocratic leadership influences...