THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP
1- SITUATIONAL THEORY OF LEADERSHIP
- The situational theory does not emphasise on personal qualities or traits of a leader, but upon the situation in which he operates.
- A good leader is one who is dynamic and can adapt himself according to the needs of a given situation.
- It is also called Contingency theory of leadership.
These theories are:
A- Fiedler’s Contingency Model
- Fred E. Fiedler widely regarded as the Father of Contingency theory of leadership.
- Leaders are either Task-oriented or Relationship oriented.
- Task-oriented leaders are directive, set deadlines and make task assignments.
- Relationship oriented leaders are people-oriented, considerate and are not strongly directive.
- Fiedler stated that Task-oriented leaders tend to perform best in group situations which are extreme, i.e., very favourable or very unfavourable to the leader. Relationship oriented leaders tend to provide a better performance in situations that are intermediate in favourableness.
- The situational variables that determine whether a given situation is favourable to the leaders are:
- Leader-Member Relations - Leader’s personal relationships with members of the group.
- Task Structure - The degree of order and structure in the task that the group has been assigned to perform.
- Position Power - The authority and power that their designation or position provides.
B- Hersey - Blanchard Situational Model
- Also called Life Cycle Theory of Leadership
- This model is based on interaction among three factors :
- Task Behaviour - The extent to which leaders are likely to define and organise the task and roles of the members of their group and to explain what all activities they are to do and when they should do it.
- Relationship Behaviour - The extent of nurturing a personal relationship between leaders and members of their group.
- Maturity Level - Maturity is the capacity to set high but attainable goals plus the willingness and ability to take responsibility and to use education and/or experience.
According to the levels of maturity of the subordinates, leadership styles are of 4 types. They are:
- Telling Style - Used during the high task and low relationship behaviour stage where there is low maturity among subordinates. Highlights directive behaviour.
- Selling Style - When there is a high task and high relationship behaviour, subordinates require both supportive and directive behaviour.
- Participating Style - Used when there is high relationship and low task behaviour stage, where subordinates have moderate to high maturity.
- Delegating Style - Used when there is low task and low relationship behaviour stage. Subordinates here are at a very high maturity level.
This model is not based on any research conclusions. It emphasises on only one situational aspect, the maturity level of subordinates.
C- House’s Path-Goal Theory
- By Robert House who advanced his theory based on Ohio State leadership studies and Vroom’s expectancy model of motivation.
- It states that a leader’s job is to create a work environment (through a proper structure, adequate support and rewards) that helps employees reach the organisational goals in a successful manner.
- Major roles are to create a goal orientation and to improve the path towards the goal so that it will be attained.
- The theory is called Path-Goal because its major concern is how the leader influences the followers’ perception of their work goals, personal goals and paths to goals attainment.
- The theory proposed four leader behaviours, Directive, Supportive, Participative, Achievement Oriented.
- All these leadership styles work well in some situations but might not be suitable in others. 2 groups of situational variables are considered - Characteristics of subordinates and Work environment.
D- Vroom, Yetton and Jago’s Contingency Model
- Developed by Victor Vroom and Philip Yetton, later joined by Arthur Jago.
- The model emphasises on the degree to which employees should be allowed to participate in decisions.
- The model is based on the assumption that the situational variables interacting with the personal attributes or characteristics of the leader, result in leader behaviour that can affect the effectiveness of the organisation.
- Three factors are to be considered:
- Quality of decision
- Decision acceptance
- Decision timing
- According to this theory, leaders with multiple subordinates have 5 basic decision styles available to them. These are:
- Autocratic AI - Leader makes the decision and solves the problem himself
- Autocratic AII - Leader obtains information from his subordinates, then decides on the solution to the problem himself. Subordinates act only as an information source.
- Consultative CI - Leader shares the problem with each subordinate on an individual basis, by getting their suggestions and ideas on the problem. He does not bring subordinates together as a group.
- Consultative CII - Problem is shared with subordinates as a group, collectively obtaining the ideas and suggestions.
- Group based GII - Leader and subordinates meet as a group to discuss the problem, and the group makes the decision.
2- TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP THEORY
- According to Bernard Moss, this leadership emphasises four behavioural components - Inspiration, Intellectual stimulation, Individualised consideration and Charisma.
- Transformational leaders, first make their followers aware of the importance of work objectives and their outcomes
- By exhibiting various combinations of these behaviours, leaders raise the followers to their better selves.
3- TRANSACTIONAL LEADERSHIP
- Two types of leadership were identified by J M Burns, transactional and transformational.
- A transactional relationship involves an exchange relationship between leader and followers.
- Transactional leadership involves a trade-off relationship between leaders and followers. The power of transactional leaders comes from their formal authority and responsibility in the organization. The primary goal of the follower is to obey the instructions of the leader. The leader believes in motivating followers through a system of rewards and punishment.
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