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Posted on March 8th, 2013, by

More recent studies have shown that in effective management a crucial role can play additional factors. These situational factors include the needs and personalities of subordinates, the nature of the job requirements and the impact of the environment, the available information. Therefore, the modern theory of leadership appealed to the situational approach, when scientists try to determine what styles of behavior and personal qualities are most consistent with certain situations. Their findings indicate that just as different situations require different organizational structures, also different ways of leadership must be selected depending on the nature of the particular situation. This means that the manager-leader must be able to behave differently in different situations.

There have been developed four models of situations, which help to understand the complexities of the situational leadership: the model of leadership of Fiedler, Mitchell and House approach, theory of the life cycle of Hersey and Blanchard’s model of decision making and leader of Vroom. So, there are several approaches to situational leadership, which differ in the choice of criteria defining management situation. For example, F. Fiedler suggested an approach in which the most important situational factors is the relationship between leader and followers, the structuring of work (that is, clarity as to how and what to do) and imperious leader’s position in the organization. (Fiedler, 1967)

In the “path-goal” model of R. Hausa and T. Mitchell the emphasis is on the characteristics of followers and organizational factors, such as organizational culture, content and structure of the system of formal power relations. (Bass, 2008)

Another model of situational leadership was developed by Victor Vroom and Philip Yetton, which focuses on decision-making process. According to the point of view of the authors of the model, there are five styles of leadership that can use the head, depending on the extent to which subordinates are allowed to participate in decision making. (Vroom, 1988).
Yet the greatest popularity acquired a theory of situational leadership by Americans P. Hersey and K. Blanchard. According to the theory of Hersey Blanchard, the choice of leadership style to a great extent is determined by the willingness of followers to carry out the tasks.

6. Contingency Theory
One of the best known is a contingency theory of leadership of Fred Fiedler. This theory asserts that effective leadership depends on how leader is focused on the task or the relationship, and on the extent to which the leader controls the group. Fiedler’s assumption is that leaders can be divided into two types: representatives of the first are focused primarily on the problem, and of the second are focused on the relationship. The leader, focused on the task (task-oriented leader) is often more concerned to get the job done as it should, and relationships and feelings of employees are not interesting to him. Potential benefits of this style is speed of decision-making, subject to an overall objective, rigorous control over subordinates. The leader, focused on the relationship (relationship-oriented leader) is primarily interested in what feelings and relationships arise among employees, he aims to improve work efficiency by improving human relations: promoting mutual aid, allows subordinates to participate in the formulation of important decisions, takes into account the mood and needs of employees, etc. though later it was established that the style of some leaders can be characterized as oriented both at work and at people. Fiedler argued that neither of these two types of leader is more effective than another, it all depends on the circumstances and the nature of the situation, namely, on what degree of control the leader and his influence among group members. (Fiedler, 1967)

7. Transactional Leadership Theory/Management Theory
The transactional leadership style was first described by Max Weber in 1947, and again by Bernard M. Bass in 1981, and was based on the hypothesis that followers are motivated through a system of rewards and punishment.

Transactional theory focuses on the relationship between leaders and their followers. It analyzes the relations of mutual benefit based on the exchange, when the leader offers certain things, such as resources or remuneration, in exchange for recognition of his power. That is, transactional leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily through appealing to their own self-interest. The theory assumes that subordinates can be motivated by simple rewards, and the only ”˜transaction’ between the leader and the followers is the money which the followers receive for their compliance and effort. (Nohria 2010)

8. Transformational Leadership Theory/Relationship Theory
While the model of transactional leadership is based on external motivations in relationships, transformational leadership is based on intrinsic motivation. Thus, here the emphasis is not on the adulation and devotion of followers, and their real commitment to the leader. In connection with this, the leader of transformational type is an active and creative person, able to think broadly and imaginatively. He arouse emotions in his followers which motivates them to act beyond the framework, inspires and provides individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation and idealized influence to their followers. (Nohria 2010)

If to compare the transactional and transformational theories of leadership, according to Bass “the transactional leaders work within the organizational culture as it exists; the transformational leader changes the organizational culture”. (Bass 2008)

The discussed above various theories of leadership allows to see various aspects of this phenomenon, but still does not give a complete picture of the phenomenon. And yet it is probably impossible to create a single, universal concept of leadership, because the phenomenon itself is extremely diverse in its expression and function: it depends on the types of cultures, personal characteristics of leaders and their followers, specific situations, and many other factors. The discussed the theories of leadership in varying degrees try to explain why only certain people become leaders, however, they do not answer the questions of why some people tend to be a leader, and to what extent can we manage the process of forming of leadership.

Bass Bernard M . (1990). Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership. Free Press; 3 Sub edition
Bass Bernard M . (2008). The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. Free Press; 4 edition
Bryman A. (1986). Leadership and organizations. Routledge
Fiedler, Fred E. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. McGraw-Hill: Harper and Row Publishers Inc.
Montana Patrick J. and Charnov Bruce H. (2008) Managerment: Leadership and Theory. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York
Nohria N. (2010). Handbook of Leadership: Theory and Practice. Harvard Business Press
Vroom, Victor H.; Jago, Arthur G. (1988). The New Leadership: Managing Participation in Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Zaccaro S. J. and R. J. Klimoski (2001). The nature of organizational leadership: Understanding the performance imperatives confronting today’s leaders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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