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Leadership Research: The Situational Theory Essay

834 words - 4 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Fiddler measures leader style by using a form he developed called the least preferred co-worker (LPC) form. The LPC is a set of 17 adjective pairs, such as pleasant and unpleasant, boring and interesting, efficient and inefficient. The basic idea of the LPC is that if a leader describes the person with whom he can work least well in a positive way the leader is considered relationship-oriented.
The favorableness of the situation for the leader is described by Fidler in terms of three major dimensions of the group task situation:
a- Leader-Member Relations. This is the degree to which group members trust and like the leader and are willing to accept the leader’s behavior as an influence on them. In order to get a measure of leader-member relations a short group atmosphere scale is sometimes used. The GA is similar in design to the LPC. Fielder and Chemers state that, in most cases the group atmosphere score seems to provide a very quick and valid measure of the leader’s feeling of being accepted which may, of course, affect his behavior much more than the degree of actual acceptance by his group.
b- Task Structure. Thus refers to the degree to which: the task requirements are clearly and minutely defined, problems likely to be encountered can be solved by a variety of producers, the correctness of a decision can be easily verified, and there are alternative correct solutions to task problems.
c- Position Power. This refers to the formal authority vested in a leadership position. It is separate from any personal power the leader may have.

Path goal theory
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