In an effort to provide scientific basis for the oft times artistic nature of what we call leadership, academics have long posited theories and models that attempt to explain and even guide this key interpersonal function. In this paper, two prominent leadership theories, Situational Leadership and Contingency Theory, are examined. Each model is given the same rubric by which to be studied, including Definitions and Descriptions, Strengths, Limitations and Critiques, Key Impacts, and concluding with a Personal Response. It is hoped that following the same format for all theories examined, here and to come, will result in a valuable reference document for my future use.
In the 1969 work entitled Management of Organizational Behavior – Utilizing Human Resources, authors Paul Hersey and Kenneth H. Blanchard took the first steps establish and define models for what they called an “applied behavioral science approach” to management. (Hersey & Blanchard 1969) This text, along with their subsequent Life Cycle Theory of Leadership, also published in 1969, laid the foundation for what would later be called Situational Leadership.
Definitions and Descriptions
The founding tenant of Situational Leadership appears to contend that (in their own words), “Recent empirical studies show that no single all-purpose leadership style is universally successful.”(Hersey & Blanchard 1969). This basis forms the necessity to formulate a model to address the varied states of management across a wide spectrum.
Principle within this model is the distinction of four classes of leadership style, juxtaposed with four classes of follower maturity. The assertion being that once a follower’s maturity level can be assessed, t...
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..., T. H. (2001). Situational leadership style as a predictor of success and productivity among Taiwanese business organizations. The Journal of Psychology, 135(4), 399-412.
Fiedler, F. E. (1964). A contingency model of leadership effectiveness.Advances in experimental social psychology, 1(1), 64.
Fiedler, F. E., & Chemers, M. M. (1974). Leadership and effective management. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.
Fiedler, F. E. (1972). The Effects of Leadership Training and Experience: A Contingency Model Interpretation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17(4), 453-470.
Fiedler, F. E. (1993). The leadership situation and the black box in contingency theories. In M. M. Chemers & R. Ayman (Eds.), Leadership, theory, and research: Perspectives and directions (pp. 1–28).
Shoonhoven, C. B. (1981) Problems with Contingency Theory. Administrative Sciences Quarterly. 26, 349-377
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