BBMM503: Leadership Development - Contingency Approach to Leadership - Operations & Management Assignment
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Internal Code: 1IJID
Contingency Approach to Leadership
Task: In the contemporary business environment, leadership has been noted as one of the most important factors to steer the operations as well as the management of the organization (Fairhurst & Connaughton, 2014). Strong leadership requires vision and critical thinking which would enable the leaders to understand the requirements and preferences of their external as well as internal stakeholders. Keeping this in mind, leadership scholars and theorists have devised different leadership theories and styles such as transformational, transactional or contingency theories, which may prove to be instrumental in defining the leadership practice of an organisational head and provide the paradigm for organising goals as well as implementation methods (Yahaya & Ebrahim, 2016). To limit the scope of this part, special focus would be given on contingency approaches to leadership and what are the possible advantages and disadvantages of these approaches. Contingency approach in leadership is based on contingency theory which primarily refers to the dependency of leadership on not just a single factor (for instance the leader himself/ herself) but a combination of things or situations which have the potential of altering the leadership style depending upon the circumstances. As per the contingency theory, the success of a leader depends upon certain contingencies or variables which are encountered while working with a team such as task challenges, subordinates, group dynamics and organisational requirements (Manning, 2013). These requirements need to be appropriated in the given leadership style to create a strategic path and imminent growth. Applying these principles into the contingency approach, it aims to define and delineate the possible characteristics, nature of subordinates and mechanisms involved to appropriate the leadership style which would suit the requirements and preferences of the organisation. Different personality dimensions of the leader such as behaviour, critical thinking, leadership style and personal traits have to be matched with the followers’ needs, maturity level, experience and cohesion. Both of these would be assimilated into the larger situation which would consist of organisational structure, involved systems, task distribution and overall environment (Manning,2016). Over time, several other theories have also been devised under the umbrella of contingency approaches as a means to improve upon the leadership practices such as situational leadership theory and Fiedler’s contingency theory. In Fiedler’s contingency theory, the emphasis lies on the leader’s personality and its impact on the situation in which it operates. This theory mainly outlined two styles of leadership: relationship- motivated and task motivated (Chow et al., 2018). Tasks primarily refer to organisational systems, challenges and possible methods of gaining competitive advantage in the marketplace. On the other hand, relationship motivated aspect refers to the importance of interpersonal relationships in the leadership context. Fiedler applied the main concept of situation in three crucial domains: task structure, position power and leader- member/follower relationship (Chow et al., 2018). These domains appropriate the place and importance of leadership in different situations such as task structure determines the challenges, clarity and means to accomplish the task and position power recounts the leaders’ authority over reward punishment for the followers. LPC scale (Least Preferred Co-worker scale) was the main instrument used by Fiedler to measure the leadership style of organisational heads. The heads scoring low on the scale were termed as task motivated and the ones which scored higher were relationship motivated. The other leadership approach which originated under the contingency theory was situational leadership approach, derived from Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard’s theory of situational leadership. This approach mainly refers to two important elements in the organisational structure which determine the necessary dynamics of employer-employee relations: leadership style of the leader and the members/followers maturity level (Thompson, G., & Glasø, 2015). Subsequently, the theory classifies four leadership approaches: directive approach (telling), coaching approach (selling), supporting approach (participating) and entrusting approach (delegating) (Thompson, G., & Glasø, 2015) which directly correspond with four levels of member/follower maturity.