Normative Leadership Style

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In this article have analyzed Normative Leadership theory, a theory that is theoretically elegant and characteristically practical. Even in today’s increasingly changing global business scenarios, this robust theory enables Leader to select one of the five leadership styles namely decide, consult individually, consult group, facilitate and delegate by using the model’s time-driven and development-driven decision tree.

Trait and Behavioural Theory Timeline:
In the 1930s leadership theories were based on leaders’ traits. Two dimensional behavioral theory (autocratic versus democratic) was published at University of Iowa in 1939. In 1940s University of Michigan published Job centered versus employee centered theories and in mid 1950s University of Ohio published considerations versus structure theories. In 1960s Fredrick came out with two factor theory maintenance or extrinsic factor versus motivators or intrinsic factors. In 1967 McGregor suggested leadership behaviors based on different assumptions on employee motivations in describing his “Theory X” and “Theory Y”.

Birth of Contingency Leadership Theory:
In 1970s, it became evident that no single leadership style is best for all situations; leaders need to change their leadership style to suit situation. Researchers then started working on situational and contingency factors which led to the development of contingency theories such as Fiedler theory (1967), Leadership continuum theory (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1973), Path goal theory (House & Mitchell, 1974) and Normative theory (Vroom & Yetton, 1973; Vroom & Jago, 1988, 1995). While Fiedler theory recommends changing the situation rather than changing leadership style, rest of the contingency theories recommend using right style at right situation to deliver effective leadership.

Normative Leadership Theory:
In 1973 Vroom and Yetton developed a contingency model based on the leader’s choice of autocratic versus participative responses to decision making situations. Extensive validation research of the model resulted in the development of Vroom-Jago model in 1988 (again updated in 1995). The research aimed to develop taxonomy for describing leadership situations, which could be used in a normative model linking situations to the leadership styles. A set of seven situational variables were used (Vroom & Yetton, 1973) to predict which among the five leadership styles would be the most effective to deal with the situation. Vroom conducted extensive empirical studies to investigate how leader’s behavior is affected by situation faced by leader keep. The studies were conducted with a focus on the leadership role and on how differences in the challenges that leader face would affect leader’s behavior.

The five leadership styles are (1) Decide: The leader makes the decision and announces it or sells it to the followers. Leader may gather information from others within the group and outside the group without specifying the problem, (2) Consult Individually: The leader explains follower individually about the problem, gathers information and suggestions and then makes the decision, (3) Consult Group: The leader holds a group meeting, explains followers the problems, gathers information and suggestions and then makes the decision, (4) Facilitate: The leader holds a group meeting and acts as a facilitator to define the problem and the limits within which a decision must be made. The leader seeks participation and concurrence on the decision without pushing his or her ideas and (5) Delegate: The leader lets the group diagnose the problem and make the decision within stated limits. The role of the leader is to answer questions, provide encouragement and resources.

Originally seven situational variables were identified to answer the questions with high (H) or low (L) score. These are (1) Decision significance: How important is the decision to the success of the project or organization high or...
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