The Path Goal Theory Of Leadership

2680 words - 11 pages

The term path-goal is derived from the belief that effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers get from where they are to the achievement of their work goals and make the journey along the path easier by reducing roadblocks and pitfalls (Robbins 2001, p. 229).The path-goal theory developed by Robert House is based on the expectancy theory of motivation. The leader's job is viewed as coaching or guiding workers to choose the best paths for reaching their goals. "Best" is judged by the accompanying achievement of organizational goals. It is based on the precepts of goal setting theory and argues that leaders will have to engage in different types of leadership behavior depending on the nature and demands of the particular situation. It's the leader's job to assist followers in attaining goals and to provide direction and support needed to ensure that their goals are compatible with the organizations.A leader's behavior is acceptable to subordinates when viewed as a source of satisfaction and motivational when need satisfaction is contingent on performance, and the leader facilitates, coaches and rewards effective performance. Path goal theory identifies achievement-oriented, directive, participative and supportive leadership styles.In achievement-oriented leadership: Achievement- oriented leader sets challenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation. This style is appropriate when the follower suffers from a lack of job challenge. Achievement-oriented leaders express confidence that subordinates can reach these goals.In directive leadership: Directive leaders let followers know what is expected of them and tells them how to perform their tasks. This style is appropriate when the follower has an ambiguous job. Directive leaders let subordinates know what is expected of them.Participative leadership: Involves leaders consulting with followers and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This style is appropriate when the follower is using improper procedures or is making poor decisions. Participative leaders consult with subordinates about work-related matters and consider their opinions.Supportive leadership: The leader is friendly and approachable. He or she shows concern for followers' psychological well being. This style is appropriate when the followers lack confidence. Supportive leaders are friendly and approachable.Path-Goal theory assumes that leaders are flexible and that they can change their style, as situations require. The theory proposes two contingency variables (environment and follower characteristics) that moderate the leader behavior-outcome relationship. Environment is outside the control of followers-task structure, authority system, and work group. Environmental factors determine the type of leader behavior required if follower outcomes are to be maximized. Follower characteristics are the locus of control,...

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