Contigency Theory

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Introduction

Managers and leaders in any organization are expected to influence the actions of their employees through several channels. Some of these include communicating with staff members, stimulating subordinates to work hard and ensuring that all the resources within the company are allocated well. These expectations can either be met successfully or unsuccessfully. Numerous researchers felt the need to come up with theories that govern successful leadership. One of these theories is known as the contingency theory.

An analysis of the contingency theory

Fielder (1964) came up with this approach to leadership after realizing that leaders could function well if they changed their styles to suit the situation at hand. This is where the name contingency originates. Fielder conducted several studies of effective and ineffective leaders. Thereafter he concluded that the most successful approach would be to match organizational settings with leadership styles. These two parameters form the basis of the contingency theory of leadership.

According to Fiedler, leadership style may be defined as the way leaders and employees interact with one another. One cannot claim that a manager's leadership style changes from time to time. On the contrary, this is a fixed parameter since every leader has a different personality. The latter term largely affects the nature of the leadership style. Since this trait is important, Fielder came up with a method for categorizing leadership styles. He used the Least Preferred Coworker Scale (LPC). The Scale is applied only to leaders; the latter are asked to rate the person they feel has worked very poorly with them. The scale starts from one to eight and may be a classification of a co-worker from the past or the present depending on which worker was the worst. Examples of personality traits that guide the scaling process include; •Unfriendly versus friendly workers

•Hostile versus supportive
•Guarded versus open...
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