Pros and Cons of Leadership Theories

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After the Japanese "miracle" had come to be recognized within America and Total Quality Management (TQM) had begun making fledgling appearances in American manufacturing, W. Edwards Deming, the so-called "father of TQM" gave us his famous 14 Points for the purpose of enabling the manufacturer to operate under the principles of TQM and the participatory management style that it requires. Several of Deming's (1986) 14 Points conclude with the statement, "substitute leadership" (p. 26). Even now, 20 years later, there is still confusion over the differences between management and leadership. There are several leadership theories, most of which are applicable to differing environments and situations. The purpose of this paper is to examine and practically apply four of those theories of leadership: Situational Leadership, Contingency Theory, Path-Goal Theory and Leader Member Exchange

Situational Leadership
Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard's Situational Leadership Model (SLM) is a variation of contingency theory and as described by Monoky (1998), does "not prescribe a single leadership style, but identifies the three essential elements of task behavior, relationship behavior and … ‘level of maturity'" (p.142) to result in four possible styles of communication and task accomplishment. This model provides variation in task complexity and the relationships between workers and managers in each. An example of a high task – low relationship variation is that which generally can be seen between low- or semi-skilled workers and production managers. The other end of the spectrum is the low task – high relationship variation in which results are measured not in units produced per hour but take such forms as computer programs written for specific purposes; cost savings achieved through process improvement; or marketing innovation emerging from a "brainstorming" session.

Example Application of Situational Leadership
The bottom line of situational theory...
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