Use of the Path-Goal Theory in the "Jeanne Lewis" Case

Topics: Leadership, Business, Situational leadership theory Pages: 5 (1788 words) Published: February 23, 2011
Use of the Path-Goal Theory in the "Jeanne Lewis" case
Path-Goal theory of leadership suggests that a leader needs to influence followers' perceptions of work goals, self-development goals, and paths to goal attainment: “Leader behaviors thus are expected to be acceptable when employees view them as a source of satisfaction or as paying the way to future satisfaction. In addition, leader behavior is predicted to be motivational to the extent it (1). Reduce roadblocks that interfere with goal accomplishment (2) Provides the guidance and support needed by employees and (3) ties meaningful rewards to goal accomplishment.” (R. Kreitner & A. Kinicki Organizational Behavior, 8th edition, P475) Path Goal theory is one of important theories in leadership which is developed by Robert House in 1970. This leadership theory describes that “Leaders are those who show employees how their performance would lead directly to tangible results” (Path goal theory-2004). In addition to theory which indicates the responsibility of the leaders to elaborate the path towards desired goals so the subordinates are able to perform their tasks accurately, remove the obstacles in employee’s way and ascend the rewards along the route. Tom Stemberg saw an opportunity and initiated an office supplies superstore in 1985. The pioneers who helped Tom in seeking new dimensions were experienced professionals including; Krasnow, CFO, VP of Operations and VP of Merchandising. Staples opened its first store in Brighton Massachusetts in1986. After 6 years, this tenacious and enthusiastic team of Staples was able to implement its manipulation over the market and expanded drastically to123 stores especially in northeast to avoid completion and make cost effective to advertise. With such pace of growth, it became big challenge for Staples the senior management to handle and move further, so they kept looking for individuals with progressive, completive drive, willing to move literally any department and enthusiastic to learn and move forward themselves. Jean Lewis was hired by Staples as a summer internee in the Marketing department in 1991. After her graduation from Howard University in 1993 she was recruited by Staples as a Marketing Manager for Sales and Forecasting Field Marketing. Soon after, she secured the position of Director of New England Operations handling with 50 stores with budget of 250 millions. Assessing her leadership style and tenacity in her decisions and her ability to handle such demanding work environment, within a year she was promoted to the position of the Director of Sales for 150 stores on the East Coast. She was promoted again and became the VP and the Divisional Merchandising Manager for furniture and decorative supplies with the budget of 350 millions, right after she earned the position of SVP of Small Business and Retail Marketing. Lewis’ rapid shifting from operations, sales, mechanizing, and marketing taught her lot about Staples culture. A. Identify the leadership behavior that Lewis used with her employees. Robert House categorized four leadership styles: Supportive leadership, Directive leadership, Participative leadership and Achievement Oriented leadership . The management culture of Staples influenced Jean to choose an Achievement Oriented leadership style because this was an appropriate style for that job. She took very aggressive steps including shifting 25 store associates, setting vigorous store targets, and renovating training programs in less than 12 months period. This leadership style not only consisted of setting challenging goals f or both work and self development with high standards and expectations but also had one-way communication and central hierarchy. The leader also showed confidence in the capabilities of the follower to succeed and attain desired goal.

B. Discuss Lewis’s leadership behavior as it relates to characteristics in the Path-goal theory.
Year 1994 was pivotal in the career of Jean...
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