Write short notes on the followings:
a) Path-Goal Theory
b) Life Cycle Theory
c) Contingency Theory
(a) Leadership model of Path-Goal Theory was developed by Robert J.House (1971), suggests that the leader is the source of rewards, and the primary function of a leader is to make valued rewards available in the workplace, clarifying paths and directions towards these goals and help in removing obstacles in reaching these goals or rewards. Four leadership behaviors were identified by House:
(i) Directive leader would lets subordinates know what’s expected of them, what should be done, specific advice is given to the subordinates, schedules work to be done, and give specific guidance as to how to accomplish tasks.
(ii) Supportive leader build good relationship with the subordinates. The leader is usually friendly and shows concern for the needs and sensitivity of the subordinates.
(iii) Participative leader consults with the subordinates and may use their suggestions before making a decision. The information obtained by the leader is shared with the subordinates.
(iv) Achievement-oriented leader sets challenging goals and encourages or expects subordinates to perform at their highest level.
(b) Life Cycle Theory also known as Situational Theory, this theory was developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard, which asserted that a leader should be flexible in changing his styles of leadership according to the level of maturity of his employee and the demands of the situations. There is not ‘one best way’ to lead that meets the need of all situations, but it depends on the experience of the followers, the ability of the follower to complete certain task, the amount of direction, support and the amount of involvement in decision making by the followers, the leader could then identifies different combination of leadership to work best with different levels of followers. For example, Delegating Style of leadership relates to Low Task-Low Relationship leadership, in which the leader delegate the power to make decision to the subordinate, the leader may involve in the decision-making process, but the power to decide the best course of action is in the hand of the subordinate. This leadership style only works well for those subordinate who are expert in the task given and willing to not only handle the task but also to take responsibility on the outcome of the decision made. There are mainly four style of leadership introduced by Life Cycle Theory:
i. Telling (High Task-Low Relationship), followers at this level have lack confidence, knowledge and skills in completing the task given on their own. They need to be told exactly what to do and how to do it right and being push to take the task on.
ii. Selling (High Task-High Relationship). Some may call this a Coaching stage, as followers may have the will to work on the task, but they still don’t have the necessary skills to complete it successfully. Leaders still provide the information and directions, and the communication with the followers is more frequent.
iii. Participating (Low Task-High Relationship) is the ‘supporting’ stage, in which the followers are ready and willing to take the task, they are more skillful than the (ii) type of followers, but still lack of confident to complete the task. At this stage, leaders focus more on building relationship with the followers than giving directions and orders. The leader works with the team of followers and participates in decision-making process.
iv. Delegating (Low Task-Low Relationship). The followers are skilled, confidence, committed to the task given and are able to work on their own. Leader passes most of the decision-making responsibilities to the followers or group of followers. The leader would still monitor the progress but less involved in decision-making process.
(c) Contingency Theory takes into consideration the many factors that may influence a leader’s style. The contingency approach emphasizes that different leadership styles will differ in their effects in different situations. The situation determines whether a leadership style or a particular leader will be effective. The situations may refer to:
(i) leader-member relations
(ii) task structure or nature of jobs
(iii) position power
(iv) employees’ characteristics, experience and expectations
(v) organizational culture and policies
Thus, contingency theory maintains that there is no “one best way” of effective leadership. There is no one leadership style appropriate in all situations.