Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Theory – Explained

Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Theory
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Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Theory

  • Initiated the situational contingency approach in the mid-1960s.
  • Fiedler’s approach emphasized that group effectiveness depends on an appropriate match between the leader’s style and situational demands.
  • Key variables in Fiedler’s contingency model.
    • Situational control.
      • The extent to which a leader can determine what his or her group is going to do as well as the outcomes of the group’s actions and decisions.
      • Is a function of:
        • Leader-member relations.
        • Task structure.
        • Position power.
      • Least preferred co-worker (LPC) score reflects a person’s leadership style.
        • High-LPC leaders have a relationship-motivated style.
        • Low-LPC leaders have a task-motivated style.
      • Implications of Fiedler’s contingency model.
        • Task-motivated leaders have more effective groups under conditions of low or high situational control.
        • Relationship-motivated leaders have more effective groups under conditions of moderate situational control.
      • Fiedler’s cognitive resource theory.
        • Cognitive resources are abilities or competencies.
        • A leader’s use of directive or nondirective behavior depends on:
          • The leader’s or subordinates group members’ ability or competency.
          • Group support of the leader.
        • Directedness is most helpful for performance when the leader is:
        • Otherwise non directedness is preferred.
      • Evaluation and application of Fiedler’s contingency theory
        • Controversy regarding what LPC actually measures
        • Leaders match training
          • Leaders are trained to diagnose the situation to match their LPC scores with situational control.
          • Also shows how situational control variable can be changed to obtain a match.