What are the contingency models of leadership

Contingency model

The leadership contingency model makes statements about the effectiveness of leadership behavior in various situations. Its main message is that the success of leadership depends to a large extent on the management style (personnel management). This is operationalized by the LPC value (Least Preferred Coworker Score). This expresses how the supervisor assesses the employee with whom he can work worst. If its assessment results in a low value, this is viewed as the leader's task orientation; a high value, on the other hand, indicates its employee orientation. Further influencing factors of leadership success are the situation variables task, position power of the leader and the leader-led relationship. Since the individual leadership style is seen as almost unchangeable, if the situation and style do not match, either an attempt must be made to change the situation or to find a leadership style that is suitable for the respective situation. So far, the approach has not been empirically confirmed. Above all, the determination and explanation of the LPC value as an indicator of the management style and the strong simplification of the situation are the subject of conceptual criticism. See also personnel management and corporate management, each with references.

A theory of leadership formulated by Fred E. Fiedler, the name of which is derived from its basic statement that the effectiveness of a group depends on the common occurrence of two factors (contingency = dependence on certain circumstances): the leadership style and its " situational chances of influence ”(“ situational control ”).
In his book “A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness” (1967) Fiedler postulated that the effectiveness of a - working group is determined by the interaction of personality traits of the leader and the “favorable situation”. The “situational favorable” ranges from “extremely favorable” (the leader is valued by the group, has a position of power and a clearly defined area of ​​responsibility) to “less favorable” (the leader is unpopular, has little power and sees himself as an unstructured task across from).
According to Fiedler, task-oriented supervisors are successful in situations that are either very favorable or extremely unfavorable, while relationship-oriented supervisors are successful in situations of “medium favorable”.

Fiedler understands leadership style to be a “solidified behavior pattern” that someone follows in a wide variety of leadership situations. He differentiates between the employee-oriented and the task-oriented leadership style and chooses the terms “relationship-motivated” or “task-motivated” leader.
According to Fiedler, the leader's chances of influencing a leadership situation are determined by three variables:
(1) The leader-employee relationships, measured by the level of loyalty, reliability and support that the employees show towards the leader. These relationships are considered to be independent of the style of the leader.
(2) The task structure, measured by the extent to which goals, solutions and instructions are available or known and individually determined.
(3) Position power, measured by the level of formal authority that allows the leader to reward and punish employees. The leader's chances of influencing result from the combination of these three variables. According to Fiedler, there are eight possible leadership situations (see figure above).
The most important of the three determinants are the leader-employee relationships; the second most important determinant is task structure, and positional power comes last. In terms of their importance for the leader's chances of influence, the three variables are therefore not of equal value. Therefore, the situational chances of influence in situations I-III in the figure are assessed as high overall, in situations IV-VI as medium, in situation VII as medium / low and in VIII as low.
Each leader determines his leadership style and his situational chances of influencing himself on the basis of questionnaires with scoring. To this end, the supervisor in question is asked to remember those with whom he has worked the least well (“Least Preferred Co-Worker = LPC”) from all the people with whom he has worked at some point. This person can be described using 16 opposing adjectives (pleasant - uncomfortable, friendly - unfriendly, etc.), whereby the LPC scale has the values ​​1 (= most negative description) to 8 (= most positive description). The sum of the 16 scale values ​​gives the LPC value. A high LPC value comes about when the least valued person is described in a very positive way; the more negative the description, the lower the LPC value.
The classification of the individual leadership style is based solely on the level of the LPC value: If the LPC value is above a certain figure, the leader is classified as relationship-motivated (= employee-oriented leadership style); If the LPC value is below a certain figure, the leader is classified as task-motivated (= task-related leadership style). Fiedler justifies this approach as follows: In the case of a leader who still judges the person he least appreciates relatively positively (= high LPC value), one can conclude that there is a high degree of consideration. In the case of a negative description (= low LPC value), on the other hand, the conclusion that the fulfillment of the task is so important to him that he behaves particularly negatively towards those who do not do a good job is reasonable.
The benchmark for the result of the meeting of leadership style and situational chances of influence is the effectiveness of the group, specifically in terms of the operational performance provided by the group. In order to be as effective as possible, leadership style and situational opportunities for influence must be brought into agreement (“leader match” approach).
In empirical studies, Fiedler determined the correlation between the Lf \ 'U-value and the performance of the group (as a measure of effectiveness) for each of the 8 leadership situations.
The task-motivated leader achieves the greatest effectiveness in situations with high chances of influencing as well as in situations with low chances of influencing. The relationship-motivated leader is most effective in situations with moderate chances of influence.
If the self-diagnosis shows that leadership style and leadership situation do not match each other optimally, the leader should try, according to Fiedler, to change his own leadership situation - not his own leadership style.
Fiedler argues that leadership style “is just as much a part of your personality as your behavior towards your parents or your children. How easy is it to change your leadership style? To be specific, you might as well try to become a completely different person. Your personality, and therefore your leadership style, have matured throughout your life, and one is as difficult to change as the other. "
However, Fiedler understands leadership style to be a motivational orientation that exists in the persistent need structure, in the sense that the two types of supervisors pursue different goals with the same task:
· Supervisors with a low LPC score deal with the interpersonal relationships in the work group in order to be able to perform successfully;
· Supervisors with a high LPC score, on the other hand, deal with the work item in order to achieve good interpersonal relationships.
This is to be distinguished from the actual behavior of the superior towards his employees. This is shown, among other things, in the fact that the manager's options to change the leader-employee relationships are considered and recommended regardless of the manager's type.

Fiedler's leadership theory can ultimately be reduced to the following consideration: The leader is confronted with two things, namely with people and with tasks. Accordingly, he himself depends on the activation of two main motives, namely his contact motive and his achievement motive. However, since group performance alone is viewed as a measure of leadership success, it may be that the supervisor with a more pronounced contact motive (= relationship-motivated) is more successful in certain management situations, while the one with a more pronounced achievement motive (= task-motivated) achieves more effectiveness in other situations.

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