Al The leader decides alone without soliciting any input from members
All The leader decides alone after obtaining the necessary information
Cl The leader makes the decision after obtaining information, ideas
suggested alternatives and evaluation from members individually.
CII The leader makes the decision after meeting with the members as a
group to collect their information, ideas, suggested alternatives, and
OH The leader and members arrive at a group decision through consensus decision making.
Although the leader may serve as the chairman of the group, the leader is simply one of the
group and does not decision try to influence the group to adopt a particular solution.
Criteria for selecting a leadership style. Two criteria are used for assessing the effectiveness of a leadership style: quality and acceptance. The quality of the decision refers to its accuracy and the extent to which it will achieve some objective, such as increase profitability, raise productivity, lower costs, reduce turnover, or increase sales. Decision quality depends on gathering accurate and which tree relevant information, identifying good alternatives, and evaluating them carefully to select the best solution. Consulting other group members often provides additional information, but when there are severe time constraints or styles vested interests on the part of the members, participative decision making would be inappropriate. For example, participative decision making is quite quality inappropriate during a commando raid, in the middle of a police rescue action, style is autocratic or during the twenty-second huddle of a football team.
Decision acceptance refers to the degree to which the subordinates or might group members are willing to implement the decision. There are two questions that leaders should consider in order to determine whether acceptance is an issue: (1) Do subordinates feel strongly about the decision? and (2) Is individual initiative and judgment on the part of members required to implement the decision? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then the acceptability of the decision is important. Regardless of the technical quality of the solution, the decision may be a failure if the members are not willing to accept it.
Diagnostic decision rules. Vroom and Yetton suggest that leaders select an able appropriate decision making style by diagnosing the situation using a sequence of decision rules. These decision rules are designed to help the leader know how to involve subordinates in decisions in a way that enhances the quality and series acceptability of the decision. The first three rules focus on the quality of the decision.
The decision rules are contained in eight questions that a leader answers either yes or no.
1. As long as it is accepted, does it make any difference which decision is selected? Are some decisions qualitatively superior to others?
2. Do I have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?
3. Do subordinates have sufficient additional information that needs to be considered to result in a high-quality decision?
4. Do I know exactly what information is needed, who possesses it, and how to collect it?
5. Is acceptance of the decision by subordinates critical to effective implementation?
6. If I were to make the decision by myself is it certain that it would be accepted by my subordinates?
7. Can subordinates be trusted to base their solutions on considerations consistent with the organization’s goals?
8. Is conflict among the subordinates likely, given the preferred solutions?
These diagnostic questions are used to determine the appropriate decision making style. The application of these diagnostic questions is contained in the decision-tree chart shown in Exhibit 16.10. The chart reads from left to right and the letters at the top, A through H, represent the questions shown above the decision tree. The boxes in the decision tree below each number represent the point where that question is asked. The lines connecting the boxes indicate the decision making path the manager follows, depending upon whether the answers to the questions are yes or no. The symbols at the far right illustrate which decision style is appropriate for the various paths through the decision tree.
At the endpoints of some of the decision sequences, several alternative styles are feasible. For example at the starting point all five decision styles are appropriate, and the model suggests that each style is likely to lead to a high-quality decision acceptable to subordinates. When more than one decision style is acceptable, the model recommends that managers choose the most autocratic of the styles to save time and minimize costs. If saving time and minimizing costs were not the most important objectives, one oft he other styles might be recommended when more than one style is acceptable. For example, if the goal was to further the personal development of subordinates, the participative styles. GII and CII, would be preferred more frequently.
In half the situations the model recommends either AI, AII, or CI strategies in which the manager decides alone. In four situations the model recommends the CII strategy, where the manager makes the decision alone after consulting with the subordinates as an advisory group. In only three situations does the model indicate that the group decision making strategy, GIL, is the only acceptable method.
Applying the Vroom-Yetton model. Vroom and Yetton have developed a series of decision making scenarios that portray how the model can be applied. These scenarios can be used for training managers to learn the appropriate leadership style. Each scenario presents a decision situation, and the individual is asked to assume the role of the manager and decide which is the appropriate leadership style by answering the questions in the decision-tree model.
Descriptive research has attempted to identify how closely the actual leadership styles used by managers correspond with the leadership styles recommended by the Vroom-Yetton model. The research indicates that most managers use greater participative decision making than the model recommends. Managers tend to overuse the consultative style (CI and CII) where the model suggests that the autocratic decision style (AL) is appropriate’8 Other research —has also shown that business school students are more participative than actual managers; top-level managers are more participative than lower-level managers; and female managers are more participative than male managers).
Two studies have examined the question of whether the Vroom-Yetton model actually describes the way managers should make decisions. In general, these studies support the model. For example, among forty-five retail franchises in the cleaning industry, those store managers who used the appropriate decision style as prescribed by the model tended to have more productive operations and more satisfied employees than managers who used decision styles ~ inconsistent with the model)0 Another test of the model examined whether 4 managers used the style recommended by the model in a variety of decision situations. When the manager’s decision style corresponded with the style recommended by the model, 68 percent of the decisions were judged to have been failed suggest that managers would do well to consider the diagnostic questions in deciding whom to involve in decision making.
Comparing the leadership models. All four situational leadership models contribute to our understanding of leadership by emphasizing the influence of external factors on the effectiveness of a particular leadership style. Fiedler’s contingency model has been subjected to the most extensive empirical research and has been more carefully defined than the other models. A common characteristic of all four models is that each model identifies different leadership styles and suggests that the effectiveness of the style is determined by various situational factors. However, the models focus on different styles, different situational factors, and different criteria for selecting the best style.
The models by Hersey-Blanchard and Fiedler both identify two leadership styles: task-oriented versus relationship-oriented. But while Hersey and Elan-chard view them in a two-dimensional matrix as two independent leader behaviors, Fiedler views them as ends of a single continuum. The path-goal model identifies four leadership styles: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented The normative decision-making model identifies three leadership styles: autocratic, consultative, and participative.
The situational factors influencing the effectiveness of leadership are quite different in each of the models. An important reason for some of this difference is that the normative decision-making model equates leadership with making decisions and looks at only this function of leadership. In addition, the models use rather different criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of leadership. Both the Hersey-Blanchard and the Fiedler models evaluate the effectiveness of different leadership styles according to group performance. The path-goal model evaluates leadership according to job satisfaction, performance, and acceptance of the leader. The normative decision-making model focuses on decision quality, decision acceptance, and time required to reach a decision.
DETERMINANTS OF LEADERSHIP
EFFECTIVENESS Although deciding what makes an effective leader seems as if it should be a simple decision, the theories and research reviewed earlier illustrate the complexity of the issue. In spite of the complexity, however, individuals who are in positions of leadership are still faced with the practical question of deciding which leadership pattern to adopt.
Choosing a Leadership Style One of the most popular models for selecting an appropriate leadership style is one proposed by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmidt. This model describes a variety of leadership styles along a continuum from highly autocratic have one end to highly participative at the other, as illustrated in Exhibit 1611.
Seven different leadership styles along this continuum are identified in the exhibit. At one extreme the manager uses his/her authority to simply make the decision and announce it. At the other extreme, the manager provides an area of freedom for subordinates and permits them to function within these limits to make decisions and direct their own activities. According to Tannenbaum and Schmidt, the appropriate leadership style is determined by (1) forces in the manager, (2) forces in the subordinates, and (3) forces in the situation.
Some of the important forces in the manager include the manager's value system and the value the manager places on participation and involvement by subordinates. The amount of confidence managers have in their subordinates and the manager's ability to handle uncertainty are also relevant.
The forces in a subordinate include such things as whether subordinates have high needs for independence, whether they are ready to assume responsibility for decision making, whether they are interested in the problems, and whether they possess the necessary experience to deal with them. As subordinates gain greater skill and competence in managing themselves, leaders ought to provide more autonomy for them.
The forces in the situation include the culture of the organization and its history of allowing subordinates to exercise autonomy, cohesiveness in the group and the degree to which the members work together as a unit, the nature of the problem itself and the question of whether subordinates have the knowledge and experience needed to solve it, and the pressures of time, since group decision making is time-consuming and ineffective in a crisis situation.
The framework provided by Tannenbaum and Schmidt provides a useful way to analyze a leadership situation and choose a successful leadership pattern. The successful leader is one who is aware of the situational forces and responds appropriately to them. Effective leaders need to understand themselves, the members of the group, the company, and the broader social environment in which they operate. As a long-term strategy, Tannenbaum and Schmidt encourage leaders to change their subordinates and the situation in a way that allows them to gradually provide greater opportunity for subordinate involvement.
Strategies for Improving Leadership With thousands of books and articles written about leadership, it is surprising the followers. When we acknowledge the leader’s capacity to reward the behavior of followers, we should not overlook the capacity of the followers to reward the leader by the ways they perform. For example, organizations reward managers according to the performance of their group. Consequently, the managers of high-performing groups are highly rewarded by the organization.
One study has demonstrated the reciprocal nature of influence between leaders and subordinates. In this study, data were collected from first-line managers and two of the supervisors who reported to them. Leaders who were more considerate created greater satisfaction among their subordinates; but, at the same time, the performance of the subordinates caused changes in the behavior of the leaders.43 Employees who performed well caused their supervisor is to reward them and treat them with greater consideration. Although research on the reciprocal influence between leaders and followers is still rather limited, it is important to remember that leadership may be significantly constrained by the followers.
Constraints on leader behavior. Leaders do not have unlimited opportunities to influence others. Leadership effectiveness is constrained by a variety of factors, such as the extent to which managerial decisions are preprogrammed due to precedent, structure, technological specifications, laws, and the absence of available alternatives. Leadership can also be constrained by a variety of organizational factors limiting the leader’s ability to either communicate with or to reinforce the behavior of subordinates. The constraints imposed on leaders include external factors organizational policies, group factors, and individual skills and abilities.
1. External factors. Leaders are constrained in what they can do because of various economic realities and a host of state and federal laws. For example, leaders are required to pay at least the minimum wage and they are required to enforce safety standards. Leaders who have unskilled followers will have difficulty leading regardless of their leadership style, and the availability of skilled followers is influenced by the external labor market. Some geographical areas have a much better supply of skilled employees than others.
2. Organizational policies. The organization may constrain a leader’s effectiveness by limiting the amount of interaction between leaders and followers and by restricting the leader’s ability to reward or punish followers.
3. Group factors. Group norms are created by the dynamics of the group. If the group is highly cohesive and very determined, it can limit the leader’s ability to influence the group.
4. Individual skills and abilities. The leader’s own skills and abilities may act as constraints since leaders can only possess so much expertise, energy, and power. Some situations may simply require greater skills and abilities than the leader may possibly hope to possess.
Substitutes for leadership. While some situations constrain leaders other situations make leadership unnecessary. These variables are referred to as substitute variables because they substitute for leadership either by making the leader’s behavior unnecessary or by neutralizing the leader’s ability to influence subordinates. Some of the variables that tend to substitute for, or neutralize leadership arc illustrated in Exhibit 16.12. For example, subordinates who possess extensive experience, ability, and training tend to eliminate the need. For instrumental leadership. The task-oriented instructions from an instrumental leader are simply unnecessary when subordinates already know what to do. If the subordinates are indifferent toward rewards offered by the organization, the influence of both supportive leaders and instrumental leaders is neutralized.
Although the concepts of substitutes and neutralizers for leadership are a relatively new, early studies seem to support them. For example, studies have to shown that a highly structured situation neutralizes a leader’s efforts to structure the group’s behavior.
Realizing that there are constraints on a leader’s behavior and that other the factors may serve to neutralize or substitute for the influence of a leader helps to explain why the research on leadership has produced such inconsistent results. The fact that the results are inconsistent and generally weak does not necessarily mean that leadership is unimportant or that leaders don’t really account for much. Instead, it illustrates the complexity of the world in which leaders are required to function. Leadership is an extremely important function that has an enormous influence on the effectiveness of groups and organizations. The complexity of the situation, however, may prevent us from knowing in advance
which will be the most effective leadership behaviors.
SUMMARY 1. Leadership refers to incremental influence and is s-aid to occur when one individual influences others to do something voluntarily that they otherwise would not do. A need for leadership within organizations stems from the incompleteness of the organization design and the dynamic nature of the internal and external environments. Three basic leadership roles include origination of policy and structure, interpolation, and administration.
The earliest studies of leadership were primarily trait studies that attempted to identify the characteristics of effective leaders. These studies focused primarily on physical traits, intelligence, and personality. Although some personal characteristics were frequently related to leadership, the results were generally weak and often inconsistent. Many studies concluded that the characteristics of the subordinate and the nature of the task were as important as the characteristics of the leader in determining success.
3. A second approach to studying leadership focused on leader behaviors—how leaders actually behave. One of the earliest studies compared three leadership styles: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. Although democratic leadership created the greatest satisfaction, autocratic leadership created the highest levels of productivity.
4. Research conducted simultaneously at two universities identified two similar leadership behaviors. At The Ohio State University the researchers labeled these two leader behaviors initiating structure and consideration. At the University of Michigan the same two factors were labeled production-centered and employee-centered leader behaviors. These two leader behaviors appear to identify leadership functions essential to the effectiveness of a group. The two Factors have been used to form a matrix called the Managerial Grid which places a concern for production on one side of the grid and concern for people on the other Each dimension is measured on a nine-point scale, and the ideal leadership style is considered to be 9,9, indicating a leader who is high in both dimensions. The research evidence, however, does not consistently support this conclusion.
5. The Failure of leadership research to identify leadership traits or universally superior leader behaviors resulted in the development of four situational theories of leadership. These theories suggest that the most effective leadership style depends upon situational variables, especially the characteristics of the group and the nature of the task.
6. Hersey and B1anchard developed a situational leadership model that matched different combinations of task behavior and relationship behavior with the maturity of the followers. As the may of the followers increases, the appropriate leadership style is first telling, then selling, then participating, and finally, for highly mature followers, delegating.
7. The most extensively researched situational leadership theory is Fred Fiedler's contingency theory of leadership. Fiedler used the LPC scale to measure the leader’s orientation toward either the task or the person. The most appropriate leadership style was then determined by assessing three situational variables: whether the relationships between the leader and the members were good or poor, whether the task was structured or unstructured, and whether the power position of the leader was strong or weak. When these three situational variables created an extremely favorable or extremely unfavorable situation, the most effective leadership style was a task-oriented (low LPC) leader. However, a leader with a high concern for interpersonal relationships (high LPC) was more effective in situations where there were intermediate levels of favorableness.
The path goal model is another situational leadership theory. This theory is derived from expectancy theory and suggests that effective leaders must clarify the goal paths and increase the goal attractiveness for followers. Four distinct leadership styles are proposed in the model: directive, supportive achievement-oriented and participative leadership styles. The most appropriate style depends upon two types of situational factors: the characteristics of the follower arid characteristics of the environment. Three of the most important follower characteristics include the locus of control, authoritarianism, and personal abilities. The three environmental factors include the nature of the task, the formal authority system within the organization, and the group norms and dynamics.
9. Vroom and Yetton’s normative decision-making model is also a situational leadership theory since it identifies the appropriate styles leaders should use in making decisions. The three leadership styles include autocratic decision making, consultative decision making, and group decision making. The decision titles determining which style is most appropriate include such questions as whether the leader has adequate information to make the decision alone, whether the subordinates will accept the goals of the organization, whether subordinates will accept the decision if they do not participate in making it, and whether the decision will
produce a controversial solution.
10. Although most of the literature on leadership emphasizes the influence of the leader on the group, the influence of the group upon the leader should not be overlooked. The relationship between the leader and the group implies a reciprocal influence. Groups have the capacity to influence the behavior of their leaders by responding selectively to specific leader behaviors. The influence of a leader can also be constrained by several external factors, such as organizational policies, group norms, and individual skills and abilities. Other variables have been found to neutralize or substitute for the influence of a leader, such as the skills and abilities of followers and the nature of the task itself.
Studies of the relationship between physical traits and leadership suggest that leaders tend to be tall, dark, and handsome. How do you account for these results?
2. What is the relationship between the two leader behaviors, initiating structure and consideration, and the two group roles discussed in Chapter 10: work roles and maintenance roles? What does this association suggest in terms of essential activities for group functioning?
3. Apply Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership by identifying two extremely different situations, one extremely favorable and the other extremely unfavorable, and explain why a task-oriented (low LW) leader is most effective in each situation.
4. What is the relationship between expectancy theory and the path-goal model 0f leadership? -
5. An important difference in the implications of situational leadership theories is whether leadership styles can be learned or changed. What is your opinion about the possibility of significantly changing an individual’s basic leadership style?
6. The relationship between the leader and the group invokes a reciprocal influence relationship. Who do you think exerts the greatest influence, the leader or the group? Using the principles of operant conditioning, describe how a group would need to behave in order to create a punitive, authoritarian supervisor or a rewarding, participative supervisor.
GLOSSARY Consideration. Leader behavior that focuses on the comfort, well-being, satisfaction, and need fulfillment of subordinates.
Contingencytheories of leadership. Leadership theories that recognize the influence of situational variables in determining the ideal styles of leadership. Four contingency leadership theories include Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership model, Fiedlers contingency theory, House’s path-goal theory, and Vroom and Yetton’s normative decision-making model.
Initiating structure. Leader behavior that focuses on clarifying and defining the roles and task responsibilities for subordinates.
LPC scale. A questionnaire with sixteen semantic differential scales that are used to measure the least preferred coworker. This scale measures a persons leadership orientation.
Leader behaviors. The kinds of behaviors that leaden actually perform in a group. The two leader behaviors that have been consistently observed including task-related activities, called initiating structure or production-centered activities, and interpersonal relations activities, sometimes called consideration or employee-centered activities.
Leadership. The incremental influence that one individual exerts upon another and that causes the second person to change his or her behavior voluntarily. Three leadership roles include origination of
structure by top-level managers, interpolation or adapting the structure by middle-level managers and administration or implementation of the policies and procedures by lower-level supervisors.
Managerial Grid® A matrix that combines two factors: concern for people and concern for production. Each factor is measured with a nine-point scale.
Neutralizers of leadership. Forces that tend to destroy the influence of a leader or make it ineffective.
Normative decision-making model A decision-making model that is also a theory of leadership which suggests that the roost appropriate decision-making style for a leader depends upon situational factors, such as the information possessed by leader and followers and whether group members will accept the decision.
Path-goal model A contingency theory of leadership based upon expectancy theory which suggests that the characteristics of the follower and environmental factors should determine which of four leadership styles is most appropriate.
Relationship-oriented leader (high LPC) According to Fiedler, a leader who sees desirable characteristics even in his or her least preferred coworker.
Substitutes for leadership. Subordinate, task. Or organizational factors that decrease the importance of leader’s influence; forces within the environment that supplant or replace the influence of the leader.
Task-oriented leader (low LPC) According to Fiedler, a leader who shows a strong emotional dislike for his or her least preferred coworker.