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The Leadership Continuum model
Tannebaum Autocratic vs. Democratic Leaders
Leadership theory R. Tannebaum and W.H. Schmidt 1973
The Leadership Continuum model of Tannebaum and Schmidt (1973) suggests that autocratic leaders are more likely to make their own decisions and not engage their subordinates, whereas a more democratic leader (laissez-faire manager) gives subordinates a greater degree of delegation in decision-making.
In 1938, Lewin and Lippitt proposed classifications of leaders based on how much involvement leaders placed into task and relationship needs. This range of leadership behaviors was expressed along a continuum by Tannebaum & Schmidt in 1973, ranging from boss-centered (task) to subordinate-centered (relationship).
To choose the most appropriate style and use of authority, the leader must consider:
1. Forces in the manager: belief in team member participation and confidence in capabilities of members.
2. Forces in the subordinate: subordinates who are independent, tolerant of ambiguity, competent, identify with organizational goals.
3. Forces in the situation: team has requisite knowledge, team hold organizational values and traditions, teams work effectively.
4. Time pressure: need for immediate decision under pressure mitigates against participation.
Advantages of the Leadership Continuum Model include:
• Gives managers a range of choices for involvement.
• Presents criteria for involvement and delegation.
• Focuses decision maker on relevant criteria (e.g., forces & time).
• Emphasizes employee development and empowerment.
• Is heuristic--encourages research to see how effective delegation may be under the... [continues]
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