Contingency/ Situational Theories-
- Sometimes the success of a leader does not depend upon the qualities, traits and behaviour of a leader alone.
- The context in which a leader exhibits her/his skills, traits and behaviour matters.
- Theory views leadership in terms of a dynamic interaction between a number of situational variables – the leader, the followers, the task situation, the environment, etc.
- Fiedler’s model,
- Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational theory,
- Leader-Member Exchange theory,
- Path-Goal theory
- Leader-Participation model
Fiedler’s Contingency Leadership Theory
- Fred Fiedler (1967)– first person to develop a comprehensive model for the contingency theory of leadership.
- Premise – effective performance of an organization or a group of people in an organization highly depend upon the style adopted by a leader and the degree to which a situation gives control to the leader.
- Fiedler developed ‘Least-Preferred Coworker (LPC) Scale–
- The leaders were asked to give their preference on the employee with whom they have least preference to work with.
- If described in favourable terms, –‘relationship-oriented’
- If rated in unfavourable terms, ‘production-oriented’
Fiedler has identified 3 situational factors, for effective leadership-
- Leader-Member Relations: The degree of confidence, trust and respect that members have on their leader;
- Task Structure: The degree to which the job assignments are structured or unstructured;
- Position Power: The degree of influence a leader has over power variables such as hiring, firing, discipline, promotions, and salary increases.
Criticisms of Fiedler’s Contingency Leadership Theory
- The major drawbacks – the style adopted by a particular leader is fixed.
- Assumption -a leader can follow only a particular style in any given situation
- It suggests-
- Change of a leader to fit a situation Or
- Change the situation to suit the leader.
- That is by restructuring tasks or increasing or decreasing the power positions, the leader is expected to bring the situation under control.
- It is useful but the practical application is highly questionable.
- In practice, it is generally difficult to assess how good the leader-member relations are, how structured the task is, and how much position-power a leader has (Robbins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2007).