Contingency Theory Of Leadership

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Contingency Theory Of Leadership



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MBA 101 Leadership, Fiedlers Contingency Theory

Leadership techniques fall out of the leader pairing her or his leadership style to the maturity level of the group. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory has two pillars: leadership style and the maturity level of those being led. To Hersey and Blanchard, there leadership styles stem from four basic behaviors, designated with a letter-number combination:. The leadership style, itself, manifests itself as behavior related to the task and behavior as to relationship with the group. Do this task in this manner because of [whatever] at this location, and get it finished by [whenever]. Transactional leadership techniques operate here. In the "selling" behavior, the leader attempts to convince the group of that the leader should lead by providing social and emotional support to the individual being convinced.

There is two-way communication, but it is clear that the leader is leading. With "participating" behavior, the leader shares decision making with the group, making the system more democratic. There is less of an emphasis on accomplishing an objective than building human relations. The fourth type of behavior in leadership style, "delegating" is reflected by parceling out tasks to group members. The leader still is in charge but there is more of an emphasis on monitoring the ones delegated with the tasks. Each type of task may involve a different maturity level, so a person with an overall maturity level of M-3 might be only an M-1 with respect to specific work.

According to Hersey, ability level and willingness to do work can be cultivated by a good leader by raising the level of expectations. Blanchard overlays four permutations of competency-commitment, again, with a letter designation:. If managers are seen merely as those executing a leader's directives and with little authority an administrator , perhaps not. On the other hand, the theory may be relevant. Each case needs to be evaluated on its own merits and people need to be aware of the limitations. If the theory is only about getting those following to do work based on competence and willingness, then, there may be some omissions, such as situations in which neither may be relevant.

Wartime, emergency situations, survival-type scenarios may need a leader, and that leader may have to do more than simply look at the willingness and competence. If the group already has an agenda, what the leader says or does may be less relevant. This is true when the leader may not have the support of the group or have deficiencies the group has identified, making the leader less powerful to effect change. There may not be a way of assessing accurately competence or maturity of a group, especially is there is a time limitation. As an indication of this, Goodson et al state, "Unfortunately, no absolute standard of readiness or maturity exists.

Therefore, standardization is needed in order to clarify which subordinate populations should be considered 'ready' and which should not. There always, too, is the misjudgment of the leader, especially when there is urgency or task complexity involved. Another issue is context and dynamism. Willingness to do a task may change, and an initial judgment may be erroneous later. The scales are subjective, and context free. Testing of the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory could be accomplished by quantifying the scales. The model identifies four characteristics:. Good leaders will create congruence between their leadership style and their subordinates characteristics.

No one leadership style will be right for all subordinates. Leaders need to pick the style that is most likely to boost performance. Subordinates with a strong need to belong prefer working with Supportive leaders, as this makes them feel more a part of the team. Achievement-oriented leadership may work better where subordinates have a low need for affiliation. Preference for structure describes a subordinates preference for structure and rigidity in their working practices and relationships. Subordinates who prefer more structure will be suited to directive leadership. Alternatively, subordinates who prefer less structure will be suited to other leadership styles such as participative and achievement-oriented.

The desire for control refers to whether a subordinate has an internal or an external locus of control. Subordinates with an internal locus of control believe that they have control over events which happen to them. Subordinates with an external locus of control think external factors are primarily responsible for events which occur to them. Subordinates with an internal locus of control prefer a participative leadership style.

This is because it makes them feel that they are a vital part of the decision making process. Subordinates with an external locus of control prefer a directive style. Self-perceived level of task ability refers to how good a subordinate believes they are at performing a task. The less good they believe they are at performing a task, the more they will prefer a directive leadership style. Subordinates with a high belief in their ability may prefer a more achievement-oriented leadership style. There are three components to take into account when thinking about the environment. So, for example, if formal authority systems are robust and rigid, then managers should avoid a directive leadership style. Managers should look to boost low performance by providing what is not already provided by the environment.

Task structure refers to how structured tasks are. If tasks are highly structured, then leaders should avoid a directive leadership style. Perhaps consider a supportive leadership style. Conversely, unstructured tasks may create the need for a directive leadership style. Formal authority systems refer to the policies, controls, and rules of the organization. These instruct employees on what to do and what not to do in different situations. If the formal authority structure is clear, then leaders should avoid a directive leadership style. Primary work group refers to the level of support the subordinate receives from the people around them, the people they work alongside.

The following diagram provides a summary of how to adjust your leadership style based on the different subordinate preferences and environmental factors you encounter. The Path-Goal theory differs from Situational Leadership by stating that you should adapt your style based on the motivational needs of your team. Advantages of the theory include:. Disadvantages of the model include:. Because situational control is critical to leadership efficacy, Fiedler broke this factor down into three major components: leader-member relations, task structure, and position power.

Both low-LPC task-oriented and high-LPC relationship-oriented leaders can be effective if their leadership orientation fits the situation. The contingency theory allows for predicting the characteristics of the appropriate situations for effectiveness. Three situational components determine the favourableness of situational control:. The basic findings of the Contingency Model are that task-motivated leaders perform generally best in very "favorable" situations; that is, either under conditions in which their power, control, and influence are very high or, conversely, where uncertainty is very low or where the situation is unfavorable, where they have low power, control, and influence.

Relationship-motivated leaders tend to perform best in situations in which they have moderate power, control, and influence. It is not accurate to speak of a "good" or a "poor" leader; rather, a leader may perform well in one type of situation but not in another. Outstanding directors of research teams do not necessarily make good production foremen or military leaders, and outstanding battle field commanders, like General Patton, do not necessarily make good chiefs of staff or good chairmen of volunteer school picnic committees.

When there is a good leader-member relation, a highly structured task, and high leader position power, the situation is considered a "favorable situation. Leaders in high positions of power have the ability to distribute resources among their members, meaning they can reward and punish their followers. Leaders in low position power cannot control resources to the same extent as leaders in high power, and so lack the same degree of situational control. For example, the CEO of a business has high position power, because she is able to increase and reduce the salary that her employees receive.

On the other hand, an office worker in this same business has low position power, because although they may be the leader on a new business deal, they cannot control the situation by rewarding or disciplining their colleagues with salary changes. Since personality is relatively stable though it can be changed, the contingency model suggests that improving effectiveness requires changing the situation to fit the leader. This is called "job engineering" or "job restructuring". The organization or the leader may increase or decrease task structure and position power, also training and group development may improve leader-member relations. In his book Improving Leadership Effectiveness: The Leader Match Concept , Fiedler with Martin Chemers and Linda Mahar offers a self paced leadership training programme designed to help leaders alter the favourableness of the situation, or situational control.

According to Northouse, although one person may be successful in one role, they may not be successful in another based on the environment. One implication of "job engineering" or "job restructuring" through additional training is that if all leaders are given the same training regardless of their position in the contingency model, it could create a mismatch between the leader and situation. Researchers often find that Fiedler's contingency theory falls short on flexibility. Fiedler's contingency theory has drawn criticism because it implies that the only alternative for an unalterable mismatch of leader orientation and an unfavorable situation is changing the leader. The model's validity has also been disputed, despite many supportive tests. Other criticisms concern the methodology of measuring leadership style through the LPC inventory and the nature of the supporting evidence.

While it has been generally assumed that more intelligent and more experienced leaders will perform better than those with less intelligence and experience, this assumption is not supported by Fiedler's research. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Business and management theory. Administrative Science Quarterly. JSTOR Leadership: Theory and Practice, Contingency Theory, pp. In Forsyth, D. Human Relations. S2CID

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