Participative Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Situational leadership theory, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 8 (2176 words) Published: November 25, 2011
Participative leadership style is always more effective than autocratic/directive leadership styles. Discuss.

Executive Summary

To say there has been an immense amount of research undertaken on the topic of leadership would be an understatement. The theoretical and empirical research on leadership in the workplace covers a diverse range of theory and there has been much critique and discussion of the theories to date. This paper review will discuss the path-goal leadership theory and it’s application in an organisational setting. The first part of the report will look at the evolution of this theory and the underpinning elements of each leadership style. The second part will compare participative and directive leadership styles using examples to illustrate the relevant use of each style and necessity for leaders to be able to use both or a combination of the two.

Table of Contents

Introduction p. 4

Path-Goal Leadership Theoryp. 4

Participative vs. Directive Leadershipp. 6

Practical Implicationsp. 8

Conclusion p. 9

Reference Listp. 10

For decades the study of leadership has been a focus in management, psychology and organisational behaviour with “over 35,000 research papers, articles and books written” on the topic in an attempt to define leadership and understand which style best drives effective leadership (Killian 2007). In 1974 Stogdill said, “there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have tried to define the concept” (Yukl 1989, p. 251). A statement that is relatively true even 37 years on with many approaches to leadership still emerging and continued debate and discussion around the existing theories. A modern and fairly recent definition of leadership explains it as “influencing, motivating and enabling others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organisations of which they are members” - a definition agreed upon by fifty four leadership experts from thirty eight countries (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010).

With so much research dedicated to the subject of leadership there are a vast array of theories and associated leadership styles including but not limited to:

* Trait Theories
* Contingency Theories
* Situational Theories
* Behavioural Theories
* Transformational Theories

Each has their own unique approach and perspectives on what constitutes an effective leader however for the purpose of this report the focus will be on the path-goal theory and the leadership styles it encompasses.

Path-Goal Leadership Theory
The path-goal approach to leadership is one of several contingency theories. The contingency perspective is built upon the notion that leaders choose their style to suit the situation and this contemporary model has had much noteworthy critique and testing over the years. Defined as an “expectancy theory of motivation that relates several leadership styles to specific employee and situational contingencies” ((McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010, p461), the theory suggests that a leader can have an influence on the performance, satisfaction and motivation of their subordinates which can be applied through all levels of an organisation.

Evans and House first initiated support for the path-goal theory of leadership in the early 1970s following inconsistencies in the results of earlier research. A study by Evans (1970) of two organisations demonstrated a link between the behavior of leaders and the impact on the behavior and goal attainment of subordinates. In 1971 House presented a path-goal theory of leadership effectiveness derived from a path-goal theory of motivation,...
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