Journal Critique: “Equipping Leaders for the 21st Century”

Summary of the Article

Nowadays, there are many scholarly articles the authors of which aim at offering interesting ideas on how to improve business, introduce new ideas, and consider the conditions under which people have to live. The journal article by Jock Encombe written for Strategic HR Review, “Equipping Leaders for the 21st Century”, is one of the examples of how theory has to be presented to the reader. It contains brief facts and definitions that are crucial in the sphere of leadership and several examples of why successful leadership plays an important role in business development. Though there are both weak and strong points in the article, it should be regarded as a credible source of information on which to rely.

The main issue which the author tries to argue in the article is the necessity for the twenty-first century leaders to develop appropriate skills and behaviors and take into consideration the needs and expectations of the twenty-first century population. Encombe (2008) admits that “leaders of the future will need to make a positive impact on their organizations and the wider world” (p. 23). In the article, it is proved that certain global improvements and shifts have been already made and some changes are taking place right now, and the leaders have to be ready for the challenges that are created by those shifts, evaluate them, and make appropriate decisions.

In order to justify the chosen position and prove the importance of the topic under analysis, the author uses several examples from the sphere of sportswear manufacturing and relies on the experience of the Costa Coffee Company and the interview with its financial director, Loraine Woodhouse. Information that was obtained in the process of interviewing is of a primary type; this is why it is considered to be reliable evidence. The article has a clear structure; the author chooses one point, explains its importance, and uses several facts to support the position. For example, the author underlines that the society is in need of good leaders nowadays, and the main reason of this kind of demand is that “people want to work in and with organizations that are successful and to feel they are engaged in something worthwhile” (Encombe, 2008, p. 24). Though the necessity of good leaders is not a new concept for consideration, the author explains the urgency of the chosen topic because of the conditions which are created by the twenty-first century.

The conclusions of the article help to understand that leadership is the sphere that has to be improved and studied thoroughly. The point is that the world is moving all the time, and the changes in one sphere of life lead to certain changes in other spheres. It is not an easy task to evaluate thoroughly each piece of the chosen business, and leaders have to be ready for different challenges.

Critical Evaluation of the Article

The article under analysis is a good source of information for the researchers who investigate the sphere of leadership in the twenty-first century. It is easy to read and comprehend the meaning of the messages that are created by the author. Several examples and thoughts of professionals help to see that the argument that is discussed in the article makes sense. Still, it is not enough to say that the source is good and believe that other reader may have the same point of view. It is necessary to identify strong and weak aspects of the work and prove its urgency among a variety of academic sources available.

The strengths of Encombe’s article are as follows:

  • A clear and properly developed structure of the article makes it readable and interesting to people with different level of knowledge;
  • The author underlines the importance of good leaders in the twenty-first century and proves that leaders have to work hard to achieve good results in their business;
  • Several examples from real life are used in the article, which is considered to be a successful practical implementation of theoretical knowledge that is offered;
  • The author pays much attention to the explanations of some general terms and offer clear definitions.
  • Of course, every reader may define some other strong points in this article; still, it is enough for now. It is high time to talk about the weaknesses of the article. There are some of them:
  • Information that is offered in the article seems to be too general from time to time; in other words, it is hard for the reader to grasp the main idea and understand how to implement it;
  • Flashbacks and attention to the past experience of several companies may seem to be weak as the reader cannot realize the worth of the mistakes made and the achievements demonstrated.

In fact, the inability to concretize the facts and provide the reader with certain examples seems to be the most serious disadvantage of the article. On the one hand, the reader is free to understand the main idea and realize that leaders have to do plenty of things to introduce good work and lead their teams to success. On the other hand, it is impossible to define certain examples on how the work has to be done.

Still, the author does not underline the fact that his information is the only credible source on which to rely. This article should be regarded as one more source for consideration during another research. The leaders have to give answers to a number of questions, and this article is one of the examples on how leaders should evaluate their role in the society and comprehend what is expected from them. The article shows that twenty-first century has its own rules and demands, and each sphere of life should consider all the changes that take place. It is not an easy task, but good leaders have to prove their worth worldwide.

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