Chapter 6

Report
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Leadership
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Northouse, 4th edition
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Overview
 Contingency Theory Approach Perspective
 Leadership Styles
 Situational Variables
 Research Findings of Leader Style Effectiveness
 How Does the Contingency Theory Approach Work?
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Contingency Theory Approach Description
Perspective
Contingency theory is a leader-match
theory (Fiedler & Chemers, 1974)
– Tries to match leaders to appropriate
situations
Leader’s effectiveness depends on how
well the leader’s style fits the context
Fiedler’s generalizations about which styles
of leadership are best and worst are based
on empirically grounded generalizations
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Contingency Theory Approach Description
Definition
Effective leadership is contingent on
matching a leader’s style to the right
setting
Assessment based on:
– Leadership Styles
– Situational Variables
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Leadership Styles
Leadership styles are described as:
Task-motivated (Low LPCs)
– Leaders are concerned primarily with reaching a
goal
Relationship-motivated (High LPCs)
– Leaders are concerned with developing close
interpersonal relationships
Leader Style Measurement Scale (Fiedler)
Least Preferred Co-Worker (LPC) Scale
High LPCs = Relationship-motivated
Low LPCs = Task-motivated
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
Leader-Member Relations
- Refers to the group atmosphere and the degree
of confidence, loyalty, and attraction of followers
for leader
 Group atmosphere –
 Good – high degree of subordinate trust,
liking, positive relationship
 Poor – little or no subordinate trust, friction
exists, unfriendly
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
Task Structure
– Concerns the degree to which
requirements of a task are clear and
spelled out
 High Structure –
•
•
•
•
requirements/rules - are clearly stated/known
path to accomplish - has few alternatives
task completion - can be clearly demonstrated
limited number - correct solutions exist
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
Task Structure, cont’d.
– Concerns the degree to which
requirements of a task are clear and
spelled out
 Low Structure –
• requirements/rules - not clearly stated/known
• path to accomplish - has many alternatives
• task completion - cannot be clearly
demonstrated/verified
• unlimited number - correct solutions exist
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
 Position Power
– Designates the amount of authority a
leader has to reward or punish followers
 Strong Power –
• authority to hire or fire, give raises in rank
or pay
 Weak Power –
• no authority to hire or fire, give raises in
rank or pay
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
3 Factors - determine the favorableness of
various situations in organizations
Situations that are rated:
– Most Favorable  good leader-follower relations,
 defined tasks (high structure), &
 strong leader position power
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Situational Variables/3 Factors
3 Factors - determine the favorableness of
various situations in organizations
Situations that are rated:
– Least Favorable  Poor leader-follower relations,
 unstructured tasks (low structure), &
 Weak leader position power
– Moderately Favorable –
 Fall in between these extremes
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Contingency Model
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Research Findings of Leader Style
Effectiveness
LPC Score
Low
High
Favorableness
of Situation
Definition
Very Favorable
Very Unfavorable
Situations going smoothly
Situations out of control
Moderately
Favorable
Situations with some degree
of certainty; not completely
in or out of leader’s control
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Research Findings of Leader Style
Effectiveness
Reasons for leader mismatch
ineffectiveness:
 LPC style doesn’t match a particular situation;
stress and anxiety result
 Under stress, leader reverts to less mature
coping style learned in
earlier development
 Leader’s less mature coping style results in
poor decision making and consequently
negative work outcomes
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
How Does the Contingency
Theory Approach Work?
 Focus of Contingency Theory
 Strengths
 Criticisms
 Application
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Contingency Theory Approach
Focus
 By assessing the 3 situational variables, any
organizational context can be placed in one of the 8
categories represented in the Contingency Theory Model
 After the nature of a situation is determined, the fit
between leader’s style and the situation can be
evaluated
Overall Scope
 By measuring Leader’s LPC score and the 3 situational
variables, it is possible to predict whether a leader will be
effective in a particular setting
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
How Does Contingency Theory Work?
Low LPCs –
Task-Oriented
Effective in Categories –
1, 2, 3, & 8
High LPCs –
Relationship-Oriented
Effective in Categories –
4, 5, 6, & 7
Middle LPCs
Effective in Categories –
1, 2, & 3
 If individuals style matches appropriate category in the
model, leader will be effective
 If individuals style does not match appropriate category in
the model, leader will not be effective
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
How Does Contingency Theory Work?
How Does it Work?
Example:
Situation
Leader–Member Relation – Good
Task Structure – High
Position Power – High
Category – 1
Low LPC – (Individual who is task-oriented will be
effective)
By measuring Leader’s LPC score and the 3 situational variables, it is
possible to predict whether a leader will be effective in a particular setting
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Strengths
 Empirical support. Contingency theory has been tested by
many researchers and found to be a valid and reliable
approach to explaining how to achieve effective leadership.
 Broadened understanding. Contingency theory has
broadened the scope of leadership understanding from a
focus on a single, best type of leadership (e.g., trait
approach) to emphasizing the importance of a leader’s style
and the demands of different situations.
 Predictive. Because Contingency theory is predictive, it
provides relevant information regarding the type of
leadership that is most likely to be effective in particular
contexts.
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Strengths
Not an all-or-nothing approach. Contingency
theory contends that leaders should not expect to
be effective in every situation; thus companies
should strive to place leaders in optimal situations
according to their leadership style.
Leadership profiles. Contingency theory
supplies data on leadership styles that could be
useful to organizations in developing leadership
profiles for human resource planning.
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Criticisms
Fails to fully explain why leaders with particular
leadership styles are more effective in some
situations than others
Criticism of LPC scale validity as it does not
correlate well with other standard leadership
measures
Cumbersome to use in real-world settings
Fails to adequately explain what should be
done about a leader/situation mismatch in the
workplace
Chapter 6 - Contingency Theory
Application
Useful in answering a
multitude of questions
about the leadership of
individuals in various types
of organizations
Helpful tool to assist upper
management in making
changes to lower level
positions to ensure a good
fit between an existing
manager and a certain
work context

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