– Contingency Theory: Contingency theorysuggests that appropriate behavior in a given situation depends on a widevariety of variables and that each situation is different. What might work inone organization, set of issues, or employee group might not work in a differentorganization with its own set of issues and employees.-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-* Copyright DueNow.com Inc. *Category:BusinessPaper Title:Text:Theoretical Reflections – Contingency TheoryResearch Notes(Considerations for Technology Driven Reform)Contingency theory suggests that appropriate behavior in a given situationdepends on a wide variety of variables and that each situation is different.What might work in one organization, set of issues, or employee group might notwork in a different organization with its own set of issues and employees.Effectiveness of schools, for example, is contingent upon the leadership styleof the principal and the favorableness of the situation (Hendricks, 1997).
Thismethodology acknowledges that no one best way exists to manage in a givensituation and those situational variables, from both the internal and externalenvironments impact on leadership practice.Leadership styles cannot be fully explained by behavioral models. Thesituation in which the group is operating also determines the style ofleadership that is adopted.
Several models exist which attempt to understand therelationship between style and situation; the four major theories comprising mycontingency category are Fiedler’s Contingency Model, Situational Theory,Path-Goal Theory, and the Vroom-Yetton Leadership Model.Fiedler’s Contingency ModelFiedler’s model assumes that group performance depends on:Leadership style, described in terms of task motivation and relationshipmotivation.Situational contingencies, determined by three factors:1. Leader-member relations – Degree to which a leader is accepted andsupported by the group members.2. Task structure – Extent to which the task is structured and defined, withclear goals and procedures.3.
Position power – The ability of a leader to control subordinates throughreward and punishment.High levels of these three factors give the most favorable situation, lowlevels, the least favorable. Relationship-motivated leaders are most effectivein moderately favorable situations. Task-motivated leaders are most effective ateither end of the scale. Fiedler suggests that it may be easier for leaders tochange their situation to achieve effectiveness, rather than change theirleadership style.
Fielder, F. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw.This theory defines factors that determine how the leader’s personality andstyles of interacting with others affects the group performance andorganization. The appropriateness of the leadership style for maximizing groupperformance is contingent upon the favorableness of the group-task situation.
Group performance is related to both the leadership style and the degree towhich the situation provides the leader with the opportunity to exert influence.Fiedler (1967) defines the group, leader, and leader effectiveness:The Group: A set of individuals who share a common fate and areinterdependent in the sense that an event that affects one member will affectthem all.Leader: The individual in the group given the task of directing andcoordinating task-relevant group activities or who in the absence of adesignated leader, carries the primary responsibility for performing thesefunctions in the group.Leader Effectiveness: “…Defined in terms of the group’s output, it’smorale, and the satisfactions of its members.
Feidler also classifies groups according to the work relations among themembers:Interacting groups: Require close coordination of several team members on theperformance of the primary task. Many tasks also require the close andsimultaneous coordination of two of more people.Co-acting groups: Members work together on a common task, but each memberdoes their job relatively independently of other team members.
Counteracting groups: Individuals work together for the purpose ofnegotiating and reconciling conflicting opinions and purposes. Each member workstoward achieving his or her own ends at the expense of the other, to an extent.Situational Theory (Paul Hersey & Kenneth Blanchard)This theory suggests that leadership style should be matched to the maturityof the subordinates.
Maturity is assessed in relation to a specific task and hastwo parts:Psychological maturity – Their self-confidence and ability and readiness toaccept responsibility.Job maturity – Their relevant skills and technical knowledge.As the subordinate maturity increases, leadership should be morerelationship-motivated than task-motivated. For four degrees of subordinatematurity, from highly mature to highly immature, leadership can consist of:Delegating to subordinates.Participating with subordinates.Selling ideas to subordinates.Telling subordinates what to doLord, Robert G.
and Maher Karen J. (1991) Leadership and InformationProcessing: Linking Perceptions and Performance. Massachusetts: Unwin Hyman,Inc.
Situational Model of Hersey and Blanchard. – emphasize the importance for theleader to consider the stage of organizational development of each of theirfollowers and to adapt their type of leadership to the followers developmentallevel. Hersey and Blanchard talk about the leader and emphasize the influence oftheir actions on the organization, through their followers. The leader cancompare to the influence of the executive in Lord and Maher’s theories. Both ofthe theories emphasize the influence of style or actions of the leader on theoutcome of the follower or organization.Lord and Maher in Leadership and Information Processing: Linking Perceptionsand Performance (1991) emphasize that executive level actions can affect anorganization’s performance.
Their methodology incorporates leadership andinformation processing, perceptual and social processes, leadership andorganizational performance, and stability, change, and information processing.Their approach to understanding leadership is to develop a comprehensive theoryaddressing both leadership perceptions and organizational performance. Theybelieve that “theory in any scientific area is an ongoing social processand emphasize the possibilities of change,” “to understand leadershipperceptions it is essential to understand how people process information.
“(p13).Lord and Maher discuss direct and indirect effects of leadership onperformance, leadership succession, a model of organizational performance, andexecutive leadership and organizational performance. In discussing direct andindirect effects of leadership Lord and Maher explain the differences betweenthese two means of leadership. Direct means refer to “those leadershipactivities which explicitly influence the behavior of subordinates or thestrategies of organizations.” (p169) This is the basis for most existingleadership and management theory. Indirect means involve “establishingcertain conditions, such as socialization processes or culture, which thenaffect subordinate and organizational performance.
” (p. 171) Indirect meansform a powerful mode of affecting subordinate and organizational performance.Lord and Maher then describe the effects of direct and indirect means ofleadership in lower and executive levels of an organization. In short, theirconclusion is that high-level executives may have difficulty being perceived asleaders.
Oliver, D. L. (1955). A Solomon Island Society, Kinship and Leadership Amongthe Siuai of Bougainville. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Douglas Oliver (1955) in his study of a Solomon Island society tells storiesthat the Siuai leader is comfortable dealing with all the aspects of Siuai life.This is an example of situational methodology, which is one that states that thesituation is the main component of what determines what a leader will do.
DePree, M. (1989) Leadership Is An Art. New York: DellThe Situational Model of Vroom and Yetton – centers on the interactionbetween situational variables and the characteristics of the leader and/or thefollower.
Max DePree (1989) identifies “roving leaders”, who use theirspecial talents and respond swiftly and effectively. The example that he uses isa doctor dealing with an emergency situation. He says, “Roving leaders arethose indispensable people in our lives who are there when we need them” (DePree,1989, p. 48). These people take charge in varying degrees when a situation needsimmediate attention, structure and action.
Hollander, E. P. (1964) Leaders, Groups, and Influence. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.Another aspect of this approach found in this book is that persons functionas leaders in a particular time and place, and both these can vary. A secondapproach found in this book regaring leadership is called the situationalapproach. The situational approach looks at the specific situations and thetasks associated with it to determine whether or not unique leadershipcharacteristics could be seen as being essential.
Hollander looks at thisappproach as “It is in the nature of situational requirements that theycall forth certain expectations for leadership, and these may be fulfilled byvarious individuals in the situation.” (p. 5) This book also differenciatesbetween the trait approach and the situational approach by stating, “.
..thesituational approach conceives of leadership in terms of function performed,rather than in terms of persisting traits of the leader.” (p.
5)Path-Goal Theory (Robert House)Robert House suggests that the leader in a number of ways can affect theperformance, satisfaction, and motivation of a group:Offering rewards for the achievement of performance goals.Clarifying paths towards these goals.Removing performance obstacles.A person may do these by adopting a certain leadership style, according tothe situation:Directive leadership – Specific advice is given to the group and ground rulesare established.Supportive leadership – Good relations exist with the group and sensitivityto subordinates’ needs is shown.
Participative leadership – Decision making is based on group consultation andinformation is shared with the group.Achievement-oriented leadership – Challenging goals are set and highperformance is encouraged while showing confidence in the groups’ ability.Supportive behavior increases group satisfaction, particularly in stressfulsituations, while directive behavior is suited to ambiguous situations. It isalso suggested that leaders who have influence upon their superiors can increasegroup satisfaction and performance.Vroom-Yetton Leadership ModelThis model suggests the selection a leadership style for making a decision.There are five decision-making styles:Autocratic 1 – Problem is solved using information already available.
Autocratic 2 – Additional information is obtained from group before leadermakes decision.Consultative 1 – Leader discusses problem with subordinates individually,before making a decision.Consultative 2 – Problem is discussed with the group before deciding.Group 2 – Group decides upon problem, with leader simply acting as chair.The style is chosen by the consideration of seven questions, which form adecision tree. This is described in Leadership and Decision Making, by V.H.
Vroomand P.W.Yetton, pp.
41-42, published by University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.The Transactional ModelHollander, E. P. (1964) Leaders, Groups, and Influence. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.The transactional approach by Edwin Hollander (1964) states that “theinteraction between a particular leader and a particular follower will changeover time based on such things as the changing confidence level of the leaderand of the follower, and other environmental changes that may be subtle and areoften difficult to document.
” A “behind the scenes” leader, whosebehavior prevents a crisis from happening in the first place, might gounnoticed, unappreciated and unstudied. This kind of leader develops thestrength of others and furthers the effectiveness of the organization.Hollander, Edwin P. (1978); Leadership Dynamics – a practical guide toeffective relationships. New York: The Free Press (Macmillan Publishing Co.,Inc)Hollander uses this book to illustrate his points on leadership and toemphasize his views presented in as the Transactional Approach of leadership.
His primary focus is to show leadership as being something which is dependent onmany different forces, few of which any designated leader may have control over.Though he emphasizes characteristics which are useful to leaders, he alsoexplores how the same characteristics can hinder the leaders effectiveness -which leadership is, for Hollander, measured by. Along with characteristics theleader may or may not hold, Hollander explores characteristics of the followersand the situation.To be credible as a leader is essential, as is the ability to balance theimportance placed on task initiation and group relationships. Hollander givesexamples through out the book sighting how essential a complete understanding ofthe situation, and oneUs co-workers/ subordinates, in order to accomplish a goal(another much needed element in effective leadership).
Though he stresses theimportance of the realization of all these aspects by the leader, Hollander alsofurther develops the role the follower plays in affecting the leader and thesituation. Not only does the leader need to be in touch with the followers, thefollowers need to be in touch with the leader and each group affects the otherboth in positive and negative ways. Some of the things on which the leaderssuccess depends are the expectations, the personalities. the competence and themotivation of the followers as well as the structure, setting, and resources thesituation provides. These things are beyond the leaders initial control yet areimportant considerations.
Along with the interaction between those three properties (leader, follower,and situational characteristics), things to keep in mind is how the leaderoriginal obtained the position, how the position has been kept by the leader andwhat factors have had what effect on the situation. Hollander stress theimportance of having legitimacy of position not through hierarchy but bycompetency. He also stress the importance of being able to recognize changehappening within the situation. Whether planed or not, change will take place tosome extent and a good leader should be able to recognize the change, how itwill/ could effect the situation, and what therefore should be done.
Hollanders theory comes under the heading of Interactional theories (thosewhich recognize the importance of the situation and the follower), however heclaims a large difference is in his realization of the effect the follower hason the leader and vice versa whereas most other Interactionl (or the RoriginalStheory) concentrates on the leaders role in working with the follower and howthat work reflects on their leadership, though the follower does not take anRactiveS part in affecting the leader and situation – something Hollander doesrecognize.HollanderUs approach also reflects that of the Contingency model (thatleaders and situations should be matched because certain situations call forcertain leadership styles and leaders cannot change their style easily so theyneed to RfitU in correct positions based on assessment of the situation and theleader) though he differs from Fiedler and Chemers in that he suggests moreability of the leader to form or change the situation. He also defines andexplains certain tactics of leadership which he finds to be important (such asbeing somewhat flexible in rules/ definitions in order to allow followers thechance to explore the situation and develop as people) which can be fulfilled toa greater or lesser degree by all people whereas Fiedler and Chemers expect arealization of ones personal strong points and the application of them.-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-