Contingency Perspective of Leadership
is based on the idea that appropriate leadership style depends on the group members and setting (Mcshane S.& Travaglione
T page 472) similarly effective leadership depends on a match between situation and leadership style. Contingency leadership
theories assume that effective leaders must be both flexible and insightful. These contingency theories include
i. Path-Goal theory
theory has its origin from the expectancy theory of motivation its states that effective leaders influence employees performance
and satisfaction by ensuring that employees who perform their best have a higher degree of need fulfilment than the employees
who don’t perform as much.
goal theory advocates for servant leadership where leaders serve followers by understanding their needs and facilitating their
work performance. This is theory has withstood scientific critique better than the others (Mcshane S.& Travaglione T page
472). Path goal leadership styles are directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented.
Directive – this type of leadership style provides the that the leader instills a sense of responsibility and has clearly drawn up what the manager expect of his subordinates and performance of subordinates is monitored
and appreciated where necessary through rewards of for meeting specified goals or may be facing disciplinary actions for failing
to meet certain criterion. Therefore the directive style is a task oriented sort of leadership.(Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 474).
Supportive- this Style is primarily
to look out for employees’ well being. It is where a leader does not sit on the other end of the desk expecting employees
to reporting to him but rather he works alongside the employees and getting to know them on
personal basis and when employee are comfortable with their leader they perform better and the communication barrier
is broken and there is a flow of information needed to efficiently operate (Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 473).
Participative- this Style of leadership encourages the subordinates
to have a say in the decision making , the subordinates make suggestions that managers considers when making critical decision
which is a good thing because there’s a sense of belonging in the work place (Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 473).
Achievement-oriented- This style
focuses on the competence of employees so the managers set goal and then evaluate employee performance (Mcshane, S& Travaglione
Contingencies of path goal theory
a contingency theory the path goal suggest that each of the following leadership style will be effective in some situations.
Locus of control- people with
an internal locus of control believe that they have control over their work environment, therefore this employees prefer achievement
oriented and participative leadership. (Mcshane, S & Travaglione page 474).
Team dynamics –Performance
–oriented team norms is the result of directive leadership which work hand
in hand with low team cohesiveness. Whereas, high cohesiveness is backed up is supportive
leadership as a substitute ,eg a leader may choose to use supportive leadership in times where an employees’
performance is as a result of a loss of a loved one (Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 475).
the idea in this structure is to adopt means and ways that don’t just end up being ideas but rather procedures that will make an effective system. In doing so participative leadership is directly related
to employees that work under non-routine because the lack of rules and procedures gives them more discretion to achieve challenging goals. Supportive leadership
should be adopted for employees in highly routine and simple jobs to help them to cope with the tedious nature of the work and lack of control over the pace
of work(Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 474).
Skills and experience - This
is a combination of directive and leadership. Directive helps directive leadership to help them know how to accomplish tasks
and supportive leadership helps employees to cope with the uncertainties of unfamiliar
work situations. Directive leadership is detrimental when employees are skilled and experienced because it introduces too much supervisory control (Mcshane, S& Travaglione page 474).
This was the earliest contingency theory developed by Fred Fiedler and his associates. Biased on this model a leaders
effectiveness depends on whether a persons leadership style is appropriately matched to his situation (Mcshane S.& Travaglione
T page 476), this model suggested that the best way to lead depends on the influence and the degree of power a leader posses
in a given circumstance. Below is a table summarising findings of Fielder’s Contingency theory of leadership
and socio-independent leaders perform best when they have the most control (highly favourable).
OF SITUATIONAL CONTROL BY LEADER>
leader-member relations are good.
Task is well structured.
leader has high position power.
perform best when they have moderate control (moderately favourable)
of favourable and unfavourable factors.
motivated leaders perform best when they have low control (highly unfavourable).
- Leader-member relations are poor.
- Task is poorly structured.
- Leader has low position power.
It’s not easy
to identify effective and ineffective leaders. Fiedler suggests that’s leader perform better in some situations but
not all the time. Therefore effectiveness of a leader can be improved by changing the situation to match his or her leadership
style. This can be by changing the contingencies.
Fiedler has gained considerable respect for his contribution on leadership knowledge. However his leadership
theory has been gained numerous critics. This is because the theory only considers two leadership styles while other theories
suggest that there are more complex and realistic array of behaviour options. Evidence has show that Training and experience
are also factors that strongly affects leadership.
iii. Situational leadership model
is the most common contingency theory among trainers. It was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, and states that effective
leaders will vary their style with the readiness off the followers this model also identifies four leadership style- delegating,
selling, participating and selling. Leader member relations, task structure, and position power
Leader member relations- this
the extend to which a leader is supported and accepted by his group members
Task structure-This is the extend
to which a leader knows what to do in a given situation.
Position power- This is the extend
to which an organization gives a leader the means to punish and reward group
members, and get the job done.