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1. The leader (trait, style, behavior, vision, charisma). The task (from holistic to reductionism, needing discretion or direction). The led (follower) (motivations, readiness, attitudes). The organization (structural, political, moral purpose ). Contingency Theory of Leadership.

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The leader

(trait, style, behavior, vision, charisma)

The task

(from holistic to reductionism, needing discretion or direction)

The led (follower)

(motivations, readiness, attitudes)

The organization

(structural, political, moral purpose)

contingency theory of leadership
Contingency Theory of Leadership
  • Contingency theory of leadership assumes that there is no one best way to lead. Effective leadership depends on the leader’s and follower’s characteristics as well as other factors in the leadership situation.
central features of the contingency theory of leadership
Central Features of the Contingency Theory of Leadership
  • Best way: there is no one best way to lead.
  • Leadership style: Different leadership styles are appropriate for different situations.
  • Middle ground: The contingency theory stresses the views that (a) there is some middle ground between the existence of universal principles of leadership that fit all situations and (b) each situation is unique and therefore must be studied and treated as unique.
central features of the contingency theory of leadership cont
Central Features of the Contingency Theory of Leadership (Cont.)
  • Focus: The contingency theories of leadership we studied focus on three variables: (a) leader’s style; (b) follower’s motivation and skill; and (c) the nature of the task.
  • Adaptability of leadership style: For an individual leader, this theory assumes that leadership is changeable and should be variable for different situations.
tannenbaum schmidt s continuum of leader behavior
Tannenbaum-Schmidt’s Continuum of Leader Behavior

(Democratic) (Authoritarian)]

Relationships Oriented Task Oriented

Source of


Area of Freedom for Subordinates




to function

within limits


by superior




gets suggestions,

and makes

















asks group

to make







to change




the leadership grid
The Leadership Grid

High 1,9 9,9

Country Club Management Team Management

8 Thoughtful attention to the needs Work accomplishment is from

of the people for satisfying committed people;

7 relationships leads to a interdependence through a

comfortable, friendly organization “common stake” in organization

6 atmosphere and work tempo purpose leads to relationships of

trust and respect

Middle-of-the-road Management

5 5,5

Adequate organization performance is possible through

4 balancing the necessity to get work out while

maintaining morale of people at a satisfactory level.

3 Impoverished Management Authority-Compliance Management

Exertion of minimum effort to get required Efficiency in operations results from arranging

2 work done is appropriate to sustain conditions of work in such a way that human

organization membership. elements interfere to a minimum degree

1 1,1 9,1

Low 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Low Concern for Results High

Concern for People

fiedler s leadership contingency model
Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Model

Task-oriented style Relationships-oriented Task-oriented style

considerate style

Favorable leadership


Situation intermediate

in favorable lenses for


Unfavorable leadership


fiedler s leadership contingency model cont
Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Model (Cont.)

Leader’s Motivational Situational Favorableness Outcome


Major variables 1. Leader-Member

In Fiedler’s Relationships

Contingency Leadership Style 2. Task Structure Effectiveness

Theory 3. Leader’s Position


fiedler s leadership contingency model cont synthesis of the fiedler contingency model
Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Model(Cont.)Synthesis of the Fiedler Contingency Model

Performance Task-oriented

Good Relationship-oriented

Poor Favorable Moderate Unfavorable


Leader- member Good Good Good Good Poor Poor Poor Poor


Task structure High High Low Low High High Low Low

Position power Strong Weak Strong Weak Strong Weak Strong Weak

Source: Stephen P. Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 6th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Pre-

Tice Hall, 1993), P. 375.


Vroom-Yetten’s Contingency ModelFigure 5-5 Schematic representation of variables used in leadership researchReprinted from Leadership and Decision-Making by Victor H. Vroom and Philip W. Yetton by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. 1973 by University of Pittsburgh Press

Situational variables (1) Organizational (4)


Leader behavior(3)

Personal attributes(2) Situational variables(1a)

Is there a Do I have Is the Is acceptance Do subordinates Is conflict

quality re- sufficient problem of decision share the organ- among subor-

quirement such information structured? by subordinates izational goal dinates likely

that one solu- to make a critical to to be obtained in preferred

tion is likely high quality effective im- in solving this solutions?

to be more decision? plementation? problem?

rational than



house mitchell s path goal theory
House-Mitchell’s Path-Goal Theory

Causal Variables Moderator Variables Outcome Variables

Leader BehaviorSubordinate Characteristics Satisfaction

Directive Ability Motivation

supportive Locus of Control Effort

participative Needs and Motives Performance

Relationship of Achievement-Oriented Environmental Forces

Variables in the The task

Path-Goal Theory Work Group

Authority System

house mitchell s path goal theory figure 2 4 house s path goal theory
House-Mitchell’s Path-Goal TheoryFigure 2.4 House’s Path-Goal Theory

Situations Leadership Leadership

style Actions

Ambiguous Directive Guidance

Roles Procedures

Stressful Welfare,

Boring Tasks Supportive Supportive


Leaders Goal


Competent Achievement Challenging

Subordinates Oriented Goals and


Unstructured Participation

Tasks Participative in Decision


Path Goal

blanchard and hersey s theory of situational leadership
Blanchard and Hersey’s Theory of Situational Leadership

Task Behavior---The extent to which the leader engages in defining roles is telling what, how, when, where, and if more than one person who is to do what in:

  • Goal-setting
  • Organizing
  • Establishing time lines
  • Directing
  • Controlling

Relationship Behavior—The extent to which a leader engages in two-way (multi-way) communication, listening, facilitating behaviors, and providing socioemotional support

  • Giving support
  • Communicating
  • Facilitating interactions
  • Active listening
  • Providing feedback
blanchard and hersey s theory of situational leadership cont
Blanchard and Hersey’s Theory of Situational Leadership (Cont.)

Decision Styles

  • Leader-made decision
  • Leader-made decision with Dialogue and/or Explanation
  • Leader/follower made decision or follower-made decision with encouragement from leader
  • Follower-made decision
blanchard and hersey s theory of situational leadership cont1
Blanchard and Hersey’s Theory of Situational Leadership (Cont.)

Leadership Behavior


(High) Share ideas and facilitate Explain decision and

in decision making provide opportunity

for clarification

High relationship High Task

Low task High Relationship

Low relationship High task

low task Low relationship

S4 (Delegating) S1(Telling)

Turn over responsibility Provide specific

for decisions and instructions and closely

(Low) implementation supervise performance

(Low) Task Behavior (High)

(Directive Behavior)

Relationship Behavior

(Supportive Behavior)

blanchard and hersey s theory of situational leadership cont2
Blanchard and Hersey’s Theory of Situational Leadership (Cont.)

Ability: has the necessary knowledge, experience, and skill

Willingness: has the necessary confidence, commitment, motivation

Follower Readiness

High Moderate Low

R4 R3 R2 R1

Able and Able but Unable but Unable and

Willing Unwilling Willing Unwilling

or Confident or Insecure or Confident or Insecure

Follower Directed Leader Directed

When a leader behavior is used appropriately with its corresponding level of readiness, it is termed a High Probability Match. The following are descriptors that can be useful when using situational leadership for specific applications.

S1 S2 S3 S4

Telling Selling Participating Delegating

Guiding Explaining Encouraging Observing

Directing Clarifying Collaborating Monitoring

Establishing Persuading Committing Fulfilling

table 2 3 contingency and situational theories and models
Table 2.3Contingency and Situational Theories and Models

Theories Situational Variables Leadership Styles

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory The Quality of leader-subordinates relations Task-oriented

The leader’s position power Relationship-oriented

The degree of task structure

House’s Path-Goal Theory The subordinates Directive, Supportive

The environment Participative, Achievement-oriented

Hersey and Blanchard’s Subordinated maturity Telling, Sharing, Participating,

Situational Leadership Delegating


Blake and Mouton’s All situations Five styles

Leadership Grid

Vroom and Yetton’s Decision quality importance AI (you solve the problem)

Decision Model Leaders’ possession of relevant information AII (obtain info, then solve the prob.)

Degree of structure contained in problem CI (share with individual followers, obtain

Importance of subordinates’ acceptance of info, you decide)

the decision

Probability that subordinates will accept the CII (share with followers as a group,

leader’s decision obtain collective info, you decide)

The importance of shared purpose and goals GII (share the problems with followers as a

The amount of conflict among subordinates group, decide together)

an overview of research
An overview of research
  • Ultimately, all studies which inquire into the relationship between leadership effectiveness, on one hand, and other factors, on the other, belong to the category of contingency theory of leadership.
  • Quantitative methods are used in this line of research.
  • This line of research will

continue. What we need

is a more comprehensive

model to synthesize

the research.

questions for discussion
Questions for discussion
  • To what extent do you identify with the contingency of leadership? Why?
  • What is the implication for leadership if we view from the contingency perspective?
  • In your judgment, what are the strengths and limitations of the contingency theory of leadership?
contributions of the contingency theory of leadership
Contributions of the Contingency Theory of Leadership
  • It moves beyond the assumption of “the best way to lead” and indicates that the effectiveness of leadership is the match between leader’s style and situational factors. It is an optimistic approach.
  • It provides a useful framework to synthesize the research on leadership.
criticism of blanchard and hersey s situational model bolman deal 1991 pp 419 420
Criticism of Blanchard and Hersey’s Situational Model (Bolman & Deal, 1991, pp. 419-420)
  • It fails to distinguish between support for a person and support for specific actions. (Does it mean that When children are unmotivated and unskilled, parents and teachers should provide high discretion and low support until they shape up?)
  • It oversimplifies the options available to leaders and the range of situations that leaders encounter.
  • It also neglects the Pygmalion effect (the self- fulfilling prophecy).
  • It makes an illusory promise to make leaders’ lives less confusing and perplexing, and has come to become a secular religion in leadership theory.
a joke do we use the model
A Joke: Do we use the model?
  • A major corporation was developing a new management training program for a group of some 2,000 technical managers. A task force with representatives from two divisions in the company came together to decide what should be taught. The representatives from division A had participated in Managerial Grid seminars. They know in their hearts that the grid was the one best way and that it should be the foundation of the seminar. The managers in division B had attended situational management seminars, and their faith in the situational model was equally unshakable.
a joke do we use the model cont
A Joke: Do we use the model? (cont.)
  • Initially, the two sides engaged in polite talk and rational argument. When that failed, the conversation gradually became more heated. Eventually, the group found itself hopelessly deadlocked. An outside consultant came in to mediate the dispute. She listened while the representatives from each division reviewed the conversation. The consultant then said to the group, “I’m impressed by the passion on both sides. I’m curious about one thing. If you all believe so deeply in these models and if it makes a difference which models someone learns, why can’t I see any difference in the behavior of the two groups?” Stunned silence fell over the room. Finally one member said, “You know, I think he’s right. We don’t use the damn models, we just preach them.” That was the end of the impasse.