The Usefulness Of The Styles And Contingency Approaches In The Managerial Context

2217 words - 9 pages

INTRODUCTIONThe styles and contingency approaches provide a useful understanding of leadership in the managerial context by providing framework for which a manager can operate within. Whilst the approach has its limitations and cannot illustrate the correct response in all situations it, as a set of theories, provides practical guidance, consistent with established research, for managers in every day situations by focussing on the most apparent interactions the manager is likely to have - that being with his/her subordinates.This essay will focus on the Path-Goal Theory of Work Unit Leadership (House 1996) as the most complete model however will provide a brief discussion of the efficacy of the other contingency approaches. An analysis will be made of the disadvantages of the contingency theories where they will be compared to the new leadership theory.THE PATH GOAL THEORY OF WORK UNIT LEADERSHIPPath-goal theory (House, 1996) is useful because it focuses primarily on the transactional approach to leadership whilst allowing for behaviours which will contribute to and create transformational leadership. The theory has propositions on what leadership style to use in certain situations that are applicable in most managerial contexts and has significantly expanded on the original theory to attempt to incorporate the work unit. The revised theory has expanded to incorporate elements of Transformational Leadership theory (Bass 1985, 1996) and therefore offers and explains this aspect of leadership as well.Clarifying behaviour is commonly useful behaviour in a managerial context as it is intuitive to a managers role - that of guiding employees towards successful task completion. Path Goal clarifying behaviour is particularly useful in managerial contexts that provide for satisfying work with ambiguity, such as in a military environment - where directive clarifying behaviour would be most effective. Supportive work goal clarifying behaviour would tend to be more effective in a professional environment where the expectation of successful task completion is high.Path Goal clarifying behaviour is consistent with the research conducted by Boyatzis (1982) whereby effective managers demonstrated a strong ability to circumvent obstacles and initiate action. Boyatzis also demonstrated that effective managers have strong conceptual skills which would be clearly complementary to path goal theory specifically with relation to work facilitating behaviour where the ability to coordinate the work unit to produce the required outcomes.Additionally path-goal theory describes behaviours which facilitate widely accepted techniques that increase performance such as goal setting (Locke 1968), participation in decision making and objective feedback which have been implemented in programs such as management by objectives (Rodgers, Hunter 1991). The work facilitation and goal clarifying behaviours of managers are instrumental in ensuring managerial programs and systems succeed...

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