Situational Leadership: House's Path-Goal verses Hersey
and Blanchard's Leadership Model
Do you ever reflect on someone that had or has such a positive impact on you that when you think of them words like competent, inspiring, intelligent, courageous, respect, and mentor come to mind? Chances are all of us have had or still have someone like this in our lives, and that someone, is an effective leader. There are many definitions of leadership and although they have different words in them, they all mean the same; leadership is the process of influencing others and facilitating collective efforts in order to accomplish an objective (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, & Uhl-Bien, 2010). Harry Truman once said that a leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do and like it. Just like there are many definitions of leadership there are also many theories on how someone is able to reach the level of a leader, and even more so; how to become an effective leader. Two of those theories are the path-goal theory and the leadership model created by Hersey and Blanchard. In the following paragraphs the reader will receive an understanding of each theory, a discussion of how it is effective in an organization and then a comparison and contrast between the two. To begin with, the path-goal theory will be the first one covered. Path-Goal Leadership
The path-goal leadership theory was introduced by Robert House and was defined as a style of leadership where the key function of the leader is to adjust their behavior to complement situational contingencies in the work environment (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, & Uhl-Bien, 2010). Price (1991) goes on to explain that in order to get desired organizational results certain tasks need to be performed the results of those tasks are goals, where the task itself are paths. When goals are reached rewards are given, so this leadership theory relies on the leader being able to set clear standards for reaching the goal, clear instructions for performing the task, and recognition and rewards for those subordinates. This path-goal theory works well in any organization.
The path-goal theory holds four specific leader behaviors (directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-orientated) and three follower behaviors ( job satisfaction, acceptance of the leader, and expectations of rewards) (McLaurin, 2006). Depending on the task at hand and the situation in the work environment a leader will adjust their behaviors to ease the path the subordinate needs to take to achieve the desired goal. The directive leader will give followers instructions when the task is complex and this will increase employee satisfaction. The supportive leader will treat followers based on their needs which will also increase employee and job satisfaction. The participative leader will obtain opinions from the followers and include them in decisions which will promote satisfaction and increase acceptance of the leader. The achievement-orientated leader will set high standards and goals which will increase the followers self confidence and satisfaction (McLaurin, 2006). This theory is based on what is taking place in the work environment and the ability of the leader to utilize different behaviors, once the leader determines which behavior is necessary, then the end result will be successful for the organization. Hersey and Blanchard's leadership model is more widely known, yet is based on situational contingencies as well. Hersey and Blanchard Leadership Model
Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard developed the situational leadership model with leader behavior and followership in mind. Their model has three dimensions, relationship behavior, task behavior, and readiness level; the later belonging to the followers and the first two associated with leaders (Papworth,...