Theoretical Reflections Essay Research Paper Theoretical Reflections

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Theoretical Reflections Essay, Research Paper Theoretical Reflections – Contingency Theory Research Notes (Considerations for Technology Driven Reform) Contingency theory suggests that appropriate behavior in a given situation depends on a wide variety of variables and that each situation is different. What might work in one organization, set of issues, or employee group might not work in a different organization with its own set of issues and employees. Effectiveness of schools, for example, is contingent upon the leadership style of the principal and the favorableness of the situation (Hendricks, 1997). This methodology acknowledges that no one best way exists to manage in a given situation and those situational variables, from both the internal and external environments

impact on leadership practice. Leadership styles cannot be fully explained by behavioral models. The situation in which the group is operating also determines the style of leadership that is adopted. Several models exist which attempt to understand the relationship between style and situation; the four major theories comprising my contingency category are Fiedler’s Contingency Model, Situational Theory, Path-Goal Theory, and the Vroom-Yetton Leadership Model. Fiedler’s Contingency Model Fiedler’s model assumes that group performance depends on: Leadership style, described in terms of task motivation and relationship motivation. Situational contingencies, determined by three factors: 1. Leader-member relations – Degree to which a leader is accepted and supported by the

group members. 2. Task structure – Extent to which the task is structured and defined, with clear goals and procedures. 3. Position power – The ability of a leader to control subordinates through reward and punishment. High levels of these three factors give the most favorable situation, low levels, the least favorable. Relationship-motivated leaders are most effective in moderately favorable situations. Task-motivated leaders are most effective at either end of the scale. Fiedler suggests that it may be easier for leaders to change their situation to achieve effectiveness, rather than change their leadership style. Fielder, F. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw. This theory defines factors that determine how the leader’s personality and styles

of interacting with others affects the group performance and organization. The appropriateness of the leadership style for maximizing group performance is contingent upon the favorableness of the group-task situation. Group performance is related to both the leadership style and the degree to which the situation provides the leader with the opportunity to exert influence. Fiedler (1967) defines the group, leader, and leader effectiveness: The Group: A set of individuals who share a common fate and are interdependent in the sense that an event that affects one member will affect them all. Leader: The individual in the group given the task of directing and coordinating task-relevant group activities or who in the absence of a designated leader, carries the primary responsibility

for performing these functions in the group. Leader Effectiveness: "…Defined in terms of the group’s output, it’s morale, and the satisfactions of its members. Feidler also classifies groups according to the work relations among the members: Interacting groups: Require close coordination of several team members on the performance of the primary task. Many tasks also require the close and simultaneous coordination of two of more people. Co-acting groups: Members work together on a common task, but each member does their job relatively independently of other team members. Counteracting groups: Individuals work together for the purpose of negotiating and reconciling conflicting opinions and purposes. Each member works toward achieving his or her own ends at the expense of