Leadership Research: The Situational Theory Essay

Leadership Research: The Situational Theory Essay

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Situational theory
Beginning in about 1950, the emphasis in leadership research shifted from the trait approach to the situational approach. In 1948, Ralph Stogdill survey of trait research concluded there were no universal leadership traits. In 1949, J.K. Hemphill published a book focusing completely on the situational factors in leadership. Thus, a new emphasis came into leadership research, not on whom or what the leader is, but on where leadership occurs and the condition under which it occurs. A corresponding de-emphasis on personality variables accompanied the new emphasis on situational factor.
The situational approach makes a lot of sense to managers. It is easy to cite numerous factors that can have an influence on the success of manager’s efforts to lead the type of organization, the nature of the group task, the pressure of time, the set of policies that define the limits of the manager’s discretion the personal relationship between managers and their subordinates, the influence of managers with their superiors, the level of skill and motivation of employees, and the managers personal attributes..
Situational theory tends to look at the situation in isolation from the leader and the followers. Just as the trait approach views personality traits in isolation, so too, the situational approach fails to give adequate attention to the total process that results in leadership. Once again, we need to emphasize the idea of leadership as an interaction influence system involving a leader, follower, and situational variables.

Contingency theory
The main emphasis of Fidler’s contingency model of leadership effectiveness is on the interaction between a leader’s style of leadership and the favorableness of the situation for the le...


... middle of paper ...


...hat work goal accomplishment will actually lead to desired extrinsic consequences.
House uses the term “path instrumentality” to refer to the above two probability estimates. That is, the first estimate is the path instrumentality of work behavior for work goal accomplishment, and the second is of goal accomplishment for desired extrinsic consequences. The concept of path instrumentality is simply a belief about the degree to which a particular series of behaviors or events will be instrumental in achieving desired consequences.
In addition to making the two path instrumentality estimates, employees also place subjective values on the intrinsic consequences associated with the behavior required to achieve a work goal, on the intrinsic consequences associated with achieving the work goal, and on the extrinsic consequences associated with achieving the work goal.





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