Olivet Nazarene University
Leadership and Management in Nursing
BSN 118 NRSG 463
Beth Michalesko, Professor
February 10, 2011
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory Applied to Nursing
In order to determine the type of leader one will become, it is necessary to know the different styles of leadership exist and how they are used. It is also necessary to understand one’s self to know which style is most fitting. There are several theories that have been identified to describe leadership, including, but not limited to, Trait, Style, Situational-Contingency, and Transformational (Yoder-Wise, 2007, p. 10-11). Many of these theories can be broken down to more specific theories based on the theorist(s) who developed them. Of special interest is Fiedler’s Contingency Theory of Leadership.
The basic premise of Fiedler’s Contingency Theory can be summed up as “contingent upon the interaction of the leader’s orientation and the favorableness of the group task situation” (Rice & Chemers, 1973, p. 281). This is quite reminiscent of the nursing process, which focuses on assessing a situation, diagnosing the problem, planning an intervention, implementing the intervention, and evaluating the outcome. A leader using Fiedler’s theory will assess the problem and adapt his or her behaviors based on the situation and the people involved (Yoder-Wise, 2007, p. 11). There is a strong emphasis on the relationship between the leader and the followers, and how this relationship affects the behaviors of the leader.
A leader’s orientation can be described by measuring the “esteem of the least preferred co-worker” scale (Chemers & Skrzypek, 1972, p. 172). This scale, developed by Feidler, “asks the individual to think of all of the individuals with whom he has ever worked and to rate the one person with whom he could work least well” (Chemers & Skrzypek, 1972, p. 172). Based on how the “least preferred... [continues]
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