Leadership Theory in the Wizard of Oz

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Leadership Theory in the Wizard of Oz
The movie The Wizard of Oz based on the story by L. Frank Baum has been used by many as a lesson in leadership. There are several emerging leaders in the story from Dorothy up to the Wizard of Oz himself each with their own leadership and motivational style. Let’s examine this classic film as it relates to 2 popular theories: the Path-Goal Theory and the Expectancy Theory of Motivation. I.The Path-Goal Theory

The Path-Goal Theory is a leadership model that asserts that a leader’s effectiveness is maximized by varying their style of leadership under different situations. The leader’s job is to guide their team to the correct path to meet their goals. The leader is responsible for the motivation, satisfaction and performance of their subordinates based on the style of leadership they choose in any given situation. The theory outlines four styles of leadership applicable to different situations. They are directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership and achievement-oriented leadership. Each of these four styles is demonstrated in The Wizard of Oz. Directive Leadership:

Directive leadership is when a leader tells their subordinates what to do and how to do it. This style of leadership is best used in ambiguous situations when a subordinate’s role is not clearly defined. This style is demonstrated by Glynda the witch of the North in her first encounter with Dorothy. Dorothy’s goal is clear – she wants to get home to Kansas. In order to achieve this goal, Glynda directs Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz. She explains both the goal (get to the wizard) and specifically how to achieve this goal (follow the yellow brick road). In this situation, Dorothy is grateful for Glynda’s direction because she was unsure of how to proceed on her own and the leadership both increases Dorothy’s satisfaction and gets the job done.

A second example of directive leadership is seen in...
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