House's Path-Goal Theory of Leadership - Explained
What is House's Path-Goal Theory of Leadership?
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What is House's Path-Goal Theory?
Path-Goal Model of leadership was proposed by Robert House. It concerns the relationship between leadership styles and situations. More specifically, it explores which leadership styles are more effective in any given situation.
What are Situational Factors of the Path-Goal Theory?
- Locus of Control. A participative leader is suitable for subordinates with internal locus of control; A directive leader is suitable for subordinates with external locus of control.
- Self-perceived ability. Subordinates that believe they have a high ability themselves, do not like directive leadership.
Characteristics of the environment:
- When a group is working on a task that has a high structure, directive leadership is redundant and less effective.
- When a highly formal authority system is in place, directive leadership can again reduce workers' satisfaction.
- When subordinates are in a team environment offering great social support, the supportive leadership style becomes less necessary.
According to House, there are four different types of leadership styles depending on the situation.
What are the Leadership Styles of the Path-Goal Theory?
The model posits that the primary leadership function is to clarify objectives, set goals, identify methods of accomplishment, and remove obstacles for the subordinate. In this way the leader makes subordinates believe that the methods will lead to higher performance, the performance will be rewarded, and the rewards are valuable.
To do this effectively, a leader must adopt a leadership style that fits the situation. As part of this model, House identified 4 types of leadership style:
- Directive - Emphasis on telling the subordinate how to perform a task. Used primarily when a subordinate lacks experience or the job is highly complex (requiring management direction).
- Supportive - Emphasis on personal relationships with subordinates. Used primarily when the job is uninteresting or work is stressful.
- Participative - The leaders involve subordinates in the decision-making process. Used when a subordinate is experienced and the job is complex.
- Achievement-Oriented - Managers motivate subordinates by setting lofty goals, focusing on task engagement, and individual improvement. Used when the task is complex and subordinates are not motivated.
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