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LEADERSHIP SITUATIONAL APPROACHES TO LEADERSHIP Fiedler’s contingency model Snehlata Jaswal HUL 204 Leadership, Decision making, and Communication in Organizations SITUATIONAL APPROACHES Attempt to determine the appropriate leadership style for various situations. Contingency leadership theory Leadership continuum Path-goal theory Normative leadership theory Situational leadership theory Leadership substitutes and neutralizers Eternal question: “Should the leader change style or should the situation be changed to fit the leader’s style?” HUL 204 Leadership, Decision making, and Communication in Organizations Contingency Leadership – Fiedler (1967) – Posits a motivational style, defines situations, and describes the fit between these as they relate to the effectiveness of the group – Leadership style • Task oriented or relationship oriented • The Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) scales measure a leader’s task or relationship orientation. • Style is an orientation (preference) – behaviour may not be necessarily consistent with it. • Style is relatively permanent and Fiedler does not advocate changing it, rather he advocates changing the situation – Situational favorableness depends on: • Leader member relations (good or poor?) • Task structure (structured or unstructured?) • Position power (strong or weak?) – Effectiveness is assessed to be the performance of the group – not related to follower satisfaction or morale Contingency Leadership Model Contingency Leadership - Theory – Defines leadership as any process in which the ability of a leader to exercise influence depends upon the group task situation, and the degree to which the leader’s style, personality, and approach fit the group. – Basic postulates of the theory: 1. The group’s performance will be contingent upon the appropriate matching of leadership styles and degree of favourableness of the group situation for the leader. 2. Task oriented leader is best for very favourable and unfavourable situations 3. Since personality is relatively stable, the contingency model suggests that improving effectiveness requires changing the situation to fit the leader. This is called ‘job engineering’. Contingency Leadership – Advances 1. Fiedler, Chemers, and Mahar(1976) offer a self paced leadership training programme “The Leader Match Concept” designed to help leaders alter the favourableness of the situation, or gain situational control. 2. Cognitive Resource Theory (CRT) modifies Fiedler’s basic contingency model by adding traits of the leader (Fiedler and Garcia, 1987). CRT tries to identify the conditions under which leaders and group members will use their intellectual resources, skills and knowledge effectively. 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. Contingency Leadership - Criticism – Model is based on a lot of research, but largely his own (From 1958 to the 90s) – The validity of the LPC scale have been questioned (Schriesheim and Kerr, 1977) The LPC scale asks a leader to think of all the people with whom they have ever worked and then describe the person with whom they have worked least well, using a series of bipolar scales of 1 to 8, such as the following: Unfriendly 12345678 Friendly Uncooperative 12345678 Cooperative Hostile 12345678 Supportive Responses to these scales (usually 18-25 in total) are averaged: a high LPC score suggests that the leader has a human relations orientation, while a low LPC score indicates a task orientation. Fiedler assumes that people who are relationship motivated, tend to describe their least preferred coworkers in a more positive manner, e.g., more pleasant and more efficient, and thus receive higher LPC scores. People who are task motivated, tend to rate their least preferred coworkers in a more negative manner. Therefore, they receive lower LPC scores. So, the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale is actually not about the least preferred coworker at all, instead, it is about the person who takes the test; it is about that person's motivation type. This method hinges on an individual's emotional reaction to people they cannot work with. However, critics point out that this is not an accurate measurement or only possible measure of leadership style. – The model implies that the only alternative for an unalterable mismatch of leader orientation and an unfavorable situation is changing the leader i.e., the person. Thank you HUL 211 OBJECT PERCEPTION AND MEMORY
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