Path Goal Theory
In order to encourage, support and motivate their followers, Path Goal Theory requires a leader to take into account situational factors when adapting a leadership style. Successful integration of situational factors with a leadership style can lead to maximized satisfaction and effort from the follower. The Path Goal Theory states leaders must:
Forge a path for followers to obtain their goal through coaching and direction •
Remove roadblocks and obstacles that are preventing followers from accomplishing goal •
Increase rewards and incentives along the way
Subordinate Factors (Follower Characteristics)
A follower’s self-efficacy and self perception of competence in performing tasks to achieve goals. B.
Authoritarianism: is defined as the degree to which the followers seek structure and task clarity. C.
Experience: Knowledge of or skill in achieving a goal.
Locus of control: How one perceives how much they can control events that affect their goal achievement. Those with low internal locus of control seek to participate and engage in decision making. On the contrary, those with a strong external locus of control like to be directed and provided structure. Coach Lengyel has a diverse group of followers with a variety of contrasting personal characteristics. Due to their lack of experience, youth and general “rag-tag” composition, the players on the team lack confidence, ability, cohesion and self efficacy. Given these characteristics, these players have a high external locus of control and yearn for task clarity and guidance. In contrast, Coach Red Dawson and Interim President Donald Dedmon have more autonomy and have established themselves more in their respected roles. Lengyel adjust to the varying characteristics of these followers by engaging them more in the decision-making process and seeking their advice on certain issues that arise. 2.
Task structure: A leader needs to analyze the elements and nature of a task a follower is responsible for and identify and remove any difficulties it could pose to the follower. B.
Formal authority: is the power position of the leader which can affect the satisfaction of a follower. If directive leadership and a highly formal authority system are in place, the redundancy can cause follower dissatisfaction. C.
Work group: Group dynamics and relationship among followers. In situations where team cohesiveness is low, followers need supportive leadership. Where a group is more established and talented, a directive or achievement oriented style is more optimal.
The players face significant environmental challenges in both their task structure and work group dynamics. First, the vast majority of the team consists of freshmen or students who have never played organized football. Learning the complex play schemes and the intricacies of the competitive collegiate game in such a short period is certainly daunting. Moreover, positions players such as the punter do not fully comprehend everything their roles entail. Since almost all the players haven’t played with each other, the team lacks the camaraderie and cohesion of their competitors. The confluence of these factors and the physically demanding tolls of the game have created significant roadblock in accomplishing their goals. The fear of embarrassing the community and university with poor performance on the field and the stress of the tragedy compounds the challenges the team face and weighs on them greatly. As a result, the players are more sensitive and an overbearing and authoritarian leader will only exacerbate the situation. Similarly, the stress of the tragedy is also weighing significantly on both Coach Dawson and Interim President Dedmon. After losing colleagues and players he coached and recruited from the tragedy, Dawson has significant doubts about whether he can be around the game anymore. The drastic changes with Dawson’s workgroup and...
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