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Situational Contingency Models of Leadership

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  1. SituationalContingencyModels ofLeadership The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. Contingency Models of Leadership How does the situation change the effectiveness of a leader’s behavioral style?

  3. A Contingency Perspective(Vroom & Jago, 2007) • Situational factors (not under leader control) influence effectiveness • Economy • Talent • Legislation • Situations shape how leaders behave • Situations influence consequences of behavior

  4. Contingency Models of Leadership • Mediators vs. Moderators • Mediators transmits causal influence Personality Work Goal Performance Goals mediate relationship between personality and performance

  5. Contingency Models of Leadership • Mediators vs. Moderators • Moderators affect the strength/direction of the relationship between two variables depends on the level of the moderator Situation Behavior-effectiveness relationship depends on the situation Leader Behavior Effectiveness

  6. Contingency Models of Leadership Moderator Leader Behavior Outcomes • Contingency Factors in Leadership • Contingency factors are moderators • “It depends” • Effects of leader style depends on situation

  7. Contingency Models of Leadership Supportive leader Employee Health Non-Supportive leader Work Stress • Leader support as a moderator of the relationship between stress and health • Stress has a stronger negative effect on health for employees with non-supportive leaders

  8. Situational Leadership Theory (SLT)(Hersey & Blanchard, 1969) Leader Behavior Task oriented Relationship oriented Contingency: Follower “maturity” Development level Motivation: willing vs. unwilling to perform tasks Competence: able vs. unable to perform tasks

  9. Four Leader Styles in SLT(Hersey & Blanchard, 1969) • Directing/Telling • Follower development level very low: • Low ability; Low motivation • Leaders should: • Define roles & expectations; supervise closely. • Coaching/Selling • Follower development level somewhat low: • Moderate ability; variable motivation • Leaders should: • Define tasks etc. but also seek input from followers.

  10. Four Leader Styles in SLT(Hersey & Blanchard, 1969) • Participating/Supporting • Follower development level somewhat high: • Strong ability; variable motivation • Leaders should: • Let followers make some decisions; have some control. • Delegating • Follower development level very high: • High ability; High motivation • Leaders should: • Let followers make decisions; help solve problems.

  11. Situational Leadership Theory(Hersey & Blanchard, 1969) Telling Delegating Selling Participating

  12. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model Think about a specific person you would least prefer to work with

  13. Source: http://www.rsc-sw-scotland.ac.uk/project_pages/james_watt/leadership/media/fielder%20formatted%20locked.xls

  14. Source: http://www.rsc-sw-scotland.ac.uk/project_pages/james_watt/leadership/media/fielder%20formatted%20locked.xls

  15. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model(Fielder, 1958; 1967) Leader Style: Least Preferred Coworker Low LPC Scores: Task focused Focus on relationships only when they are satisfied with how the work is going High LPC Scores: Relationship focused Prioritize people over the task Key assumption: Leader style cannot be changed

  16. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model(Fielder, 1958; 1967) Contingency: Situational Favorability Leader-member relationship: The extent to which the leader has the support and loyalties of followers. Task structure: The extent to which tasks are standardized, documented and controlled. Position-power: The extent to which the leader has authority to assess/reward/punish follower performance.

  17. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model(Fielder, 1958; 1967) Contingency Proposition High LPC leaders are more effective in moderately favorable situations Low LPC leaders are more effective in very favorable or very unfavorable situations

  18. How would you use Fielder’s model in practice?

  19. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model(Fielder, 1958; 1967) Practical Application Assumes leaders can’t change their style LPC cannot be changed Match the leader to the situation Change situations to fit the leader e.g., through task design, other interventions

  20. Fiedler’s Contingency (LPC) Model(Fielder, 1958; 1967) Critique Meaning/Definition of LPC Personality? Cognitive Complexity? Maybe the follower truly was incompetent

  21. Cognitive Resource Theory(e.g., Fiedler, 1986; Fiedler & Garcia, 1987) • CRT Overview • Relationship between leader intelligence, experience, stress and decision making • Effects of intelligence & experience on leader effectiveness are contingent on leader stress

  22. Cognitive Resource Theory(e.g., Fiedler, 1986; Fiedler & Garcia, 1987) • CRT Propositions • Stress weakens the relationship between intelligence and decision quality. • Intelligence has no effects on decision making under high stress • Experience is positively related to decision quality under high stress

  23. Decision Making Contingencies When should you involve subordinates in decision making? When should you not involve subordinates in decision making?

  24. Substitutes for Leadership

  25. A “Pure” Situational View • The situation may limit the effects of leadership • Leaders sometimes have limited power • Department chair vs. Military Commander • Situational demands may overwhelm individual differences • Technological change • Screening processes may limit differences between leaders

  26. Substitutes for Leadership(Kerr & Jermier, 1978) • Situations can: • Make leadership unnecessary • Prevent leaders from being effective • Augment the effects of leadership

  27. Substitutes for Leadership(Kerr & Jermier, 1978) • Neutralizers • Definition: Neutralizers prevent leadership from being noticed by subordinates • Example: Bureaucratic organizational structure

  28. Substitutes for Leadership(Kerr & Jermier, 1978) • Enhancers • Definition: Enhancers increase leadership effects • Examples: • Leader reward power • Creative, experienced subordinates

  29. Substitutes for Leadership(Kerr & Jermier, 1978) • Supplements • Definition: Supplements enhance group performance but do not change the effects of leadership • Example: Human Resource Information Systems

  30. Substitutes for Leadership(Kerr & Jermier, 1978) • Substitutes: • Definition: Substitutes make leadership unnecessary • Example: Automated tasks, intrinsically satisfying tasks

  31. Conclusions about the Situation(Vroom & Jago, 2007) • Situation affects leader effectiveness • Situation may work for or against a leader • Situations shape how leaders behave. • Situations influence the consequences of leader behavior.

  32. Conclusions about the Situation(Vroom & Jago, 2007) • Situational models emphasize • Finding the right leader for the situation. • Changing leader behavior to fit the situation. • No situational model is complete