The paper "Contingency Theories of Leadership " is a good example of management coursework. Leaders and managers of today’ s complex organizations use different channels to influence employees’ actions (Kotter, 1990). Examples of such channels include enhancing communication in the workplace with staff members and using motivational strategies to ensure that company resources are used effectively to achieve the company’ s vision and mission (Kotter, 1990). When implementing strategies to influence employee behaviour, it is imperative to evaluate whether the company’ s objectives can be met successfully. The extent, to which the objectives are met, however, depends largely on the type of leadership that prevails in the organization.
Successful leadership in the organizational setting can be explained using different theories such as, the Great Man theory, or postulates that focus on behavioural characteristics, situational or management, participative and relationship approaches (Kotter, 1990). Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to explore contingency theories as one of the many theories of leadership. Overview of contingency theories of leadership The contingency theory concept was developed in the 1960s by scholars such as Fielder Fredrick. This theory runs contrary to the behavioural and trait theories, both of which perceive leadership as a process of applying one leadership style to all situations (Yukl and Van Fleet, 1992).
The contingency theory developed from the realization that leadership success cannot be predicted by isolating a few preferable behaviours or traits. Rather, the success of a leader involves the relationship between leadership effectiveness and the situation perpetuating that success (Merry, 1990). From this perspective, contingency theory holds that a leader’ s effectiveness depends on different factors such as the specific situation, the leader’ s followers and the leader him or herself.
This means that in different situations, leaders must possess different skills, values, and interests (Merry, 1990). For example, leadership styles differ from one situation to another such that a leader in a factory differs from a leader in the bank. Examples of factors that form the basis for the contingency theory include the workplace culture and the type of job performed in the specific organizational setting. Specifically, assumptions that underlie the contingency theory can be described as follows-; (1) Situational contingencies must be well understood for leadership to be successful.
(2) Leadership is a process that can be learned in order to achieve effectiveness (Podsakoff, MacKenzie and Bommer, 1996). (3) The requirements of the situation determine the appropriate leadership styles the leader should adapt to be effective in a particular organizational setting. (4) The match or interaction among behaviour or personality, style of leadership, and the situation must exist in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in leadership. Hence, situational factors determine, in part, a leader’ s ability to lead. Situational factors such as the behaviours and capabilities of the followers, as well as the preferred style of leadership the leader adopts, are some of the important factors that determine success and effectiveness (Heath, 1994). According to Yukl (2010), in contingency theory, no single best way emerges to lead people in any given setting.
This is the case because situations change, and the leadership style must change as the situations change (Yukl, 2010). For example, when a large number of orders are streaming in streaming from customers, the organizational leader/manager must adopt a different leadership style in order to satisfy customers effectively.
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