Path Goal Theory In Leadership Essay

2347 words - 9 pages

Leadership has been studied from a wide range of perspectives and thus it means different things to different people. Some people view leadership as the focus of group processes, some others view it from a personality or skills perspective, to some others leadership is an act or behavior, some school of thought describe leadership in terms of power relationship while some view leadership as a transformational process (Northouse, 2012). Looking at the various definitions of leadership, there are various terms that are important; including the fact that leadership is a process that involves influence and the attainment of a common goal, and usually occurs in the context of a group (Northouse, 2012). The path-goal theory is one of the theories of leadership that emphasizes on the relationship between the style of the leader and the characteristics of the subordinates while taking in to consideration the setting at the work place (Northouse, 2012). The theory describes four different leadership styles; directive or instrumental, supportive, participative and achievement oriented. In the directive style of leadership, the leader guides his subordinates on what is expected of them and leads them on the right path towards achieving a goal (Silverthorne, 2001). In the supportive style the leader acts as a friend, is compassionate and pays attention to the needs of his followers and creates a caring environment for them (Silverthorne, 2001). A participative leader seeks and values the input of his followers at every level of decision making while the achievement oriented leader is task driven, sets high standards for his followers with the confidence that they will be able to achieve these standards (Northouse, 2012). In the path-goal theory of leadership, leaders tend to be flexible and derive their success by motivating and directing their followers, providing clarification when necessary as well as encouraging and rewarding the followers when goals are achieved (Dixon & Hart, 2010). It is also postulated that the flexibility obtained with the path goal theory of leadership may positively impact work groups and promote effectiveness (Dixon & Hart, 2010). This is because the leader is better suited to assess the needs of his followers and clarify goals in various situations thereby increasing job satisfaction of the employees and thus retention rates (Dixon & Hart, 2010).
Dixon and Hart (2010) conducted a study among full time white and blue collar workers in a multinational manufacturing located in a Unites States firm to assess the effect of path-goal theory on work group effectiveness, and to determine the relationship between the various types of path-goal leadership styles and turnover intention. Participants were drawn from various sections of the company including production/ manufacturing, distribution, logistics, technology, cleaning, painting and recycling in other to have a good representation of the employees. The study utilized the...

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