Essays on Steve Jobs and Dwight D. Eisenhower - Path-Goal Theory and Situational Leadership Theory Case Study

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The paper "Steve Jobs and Dwight D. Eisenhower - Path-Goal Theory and Situational Leadership Theory" is a great example of a business case study.   This paper will compare as well as the contrast between the path-goal theory and situational leadership theory in terms of how they contribute to one’ s understanding of leading. In order to give a comprehensive analysis, the paper will start by introducing the two theories and then give the similarities and differences. Further, the paper will also use a real-life example of Steve Jobs and Dwight D.

Eisenhower to indicate the application of the two theories. Path-goal theory Developed by Evans (1970, cited in Komives et al. , 2010) and a year later modified by House (1971, cited in Komives et al. , 2010), Path-goal theory was developed to determine a leader’ s most adept style as a motivation to encourage the staff to attain the set goals. Most notably, this argument buttresses the notion, that motivation plays a fundamental role in the manner in which the leader and a follower interact, and how the interaction impacts the overall success of the followers in the organization.

According to House (1971, cited in Komives et al. , 2010), the path-goal theory is a reflection of two fundamental propositions. To begin with, the key strategic function of a leader is associated with his or her ability to enhance the mental state of his or her follower. In other words, one strategic pivotal role of the manager or superior is related to his or her ability to boost the psychological state of his or her subordinate. According to Mitchel (1974, cited in Polston-Murdoch, 2013), the leader needs to be acquainted with the necessary steps linked to the clarification of paths, goals as well as intensify the subordinates satisfaction through coming up with extrinsic rewards.

This would, in turn, translate to increased employees’ intrinsic motivation. The second key proposition is that a specific situational leader's behavior will often achieve the motivation role. As House (1971, cited in Komives et al. , 2010) argues, the path-goal theory identifies four leadership characteristics or behaviors to augment the employees’ motivation. Accordingly, House and Mitchell (1974, cited in Komives et al. , 2010) established the four leadership behaviors on three distinct attitudes depicted by employees.

The first attitude is associated with the employees’ anticipations of effective performance. The second attitude is related to the employees’ satisfaction and the third attitude is linked to the employees’ expectations of their superiors, managers and immediate bosses (Negron, 2008). According to House and Mitchell (1974, cited in Polston-Murdoch, 2013) and Indvik (1987, cited in Polston-Murdoch, 2013), the four path-goal leadership behaviors that are intended to reward the employees or provide the structure include supportive, directive, participative as well as achievement-oriented. To start with, the directive leader is known to give clarified information hence providing specific guidance that the subordinate will use to undertake the desired expectations, which are based on the organizational rules as well as performance standards.

In essence, as Negron (2008) states, the directive style of leadership is often effective with inexperienced or newly hired employees as well as in situations that need immediate action. According to Negron (2008), the directive style has been associated with aggressiveness, descriptiveness, whereby the leader is seen to control the subordinate as he or she dictates what is to be done.

As research indicates, this style is related to employees’ expectations as well as satisfaction for workers who are hired to engage in unstructured and ambiguous tasks. Thus, the directive style is negatively perceived by employees who participate in well-structured tasks as they believe that such a style is dictating in nature.


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