Fiedler's Contingency Theory of Leadership

Fred E. Fiedler developed a contingency model of leadership. According to the contingency theories of leadership, the success of leadership depends upon the situation in which the leader operates. According to him, a leader's effectiveness depends upon the following three situational factors.
  1. Leader followers relations, that is the degree of followers trust, confidence and respect for the leader. 
  2. Task structure, power, that is the nature of task performed by the subordinates.
  3. The status power that is the degree associated with the position or status held by the leader in the organizations.
The most favorable situation for leaders to influence their group is one in which they are well liked by the members, the task performed is highly structured and the leader has enough power attached to his/her position in the organization. On the other hand, the most unfavorable situation for leaders is one in which they are disliked, the task is highly unstructured and little power is attached to the leader's position. 

Related Topic:

Fiedler's contingency model of leadership has the basic contention that the appropriateness of leadership styles depends on leaders matching with situational requirement. Taking clues from the situational approach that leadership effectiveness is situational, Fielder along with his associates made an attempt to identify the situational variables and their relationship with appropriateness of leadership styles. 

According to this theory, relationships, power and task structure are the three key factors that drive effective leadership style. He identified the least preferred co-workers (LPC) scoring lead by asking them first to think of a person with whom they have worked and would now least prefer to work with again. The manager then scores the person on a range of scales between positive factors (friendly, helpful, cheerful etc.) and negative factors (unfriendly, unhelpful, gloomy etc.) A high LPC leader generally scores the other person as positive and a low LPC leader scores the other person as negative.

Findings of the Fiedler Model 

According to the questions, laissez-faire or free rein leadership style of leadership apply to Fielder’s Contingency Theory. Under this style, leaders avoid power and responsibility. They grant authority and responsibility to groups. The role of the leader is to provide advice and direction as requested by the subordinates. Group members perform everything themselves. Leader behaves primarily as a group and plays the role of a member only. The concept of management by exception promotes this type of style, where subordinates themselves plan, control, evaluate and decide and the manager interferes exceptionally. This style is suitable for highly trained and professional staff.

All these situational variable taken together may define the situation to be favorable or unfavorable. Favorableness or unfavorableness of the situation has been presented in the following figure.
Fielder's contingency theory of leadership

A very favorable situation is one (cell 1) where leader-member relations are good, task is highly structured and the leader has enormous position power to influence his subordinates. At the other extreme, a very unfavorable situation is one (cell 8) where leader-member relations are poor, task is highly unstructured and leader's position power is weak. Between these two extremes, the degree of favorableness / unfavorableness varies.

Implications of Fiedler's Theory of Leadership

  • No leadership style is appropriate for all situations. Therefore, there is nothing like the best style. The managers can adopt the leadership styles according to the requirements of the situations.
  • There is a need for matching leaders and job situations to achieve organizational effectiveness. Fielder says that "if we wish to increase organizational and group effectiveness, we must learn not only how to train leaders more effectively but also how to build an organizational environment in which the leader can perform well."

No comments:

Post a Comment