Topics: Leadership, Motivation, Management Pages: 4 (871 words) Published: May 18, 2014
Path Goal Theory of Leadership
Path goal theory was initially developed by Robert House to explain workplace leadership. The theory builds heavily on two theories of work motivation: goal setting and expectancy theory. Goal-setting theory suggests that an effective way to motivate people is to set challenging but realistic goals and to offer rewards for goal accomplishment. Expectancy theory explains why people work hard to attain work goals. People will engage in behaviors that lead to goal attainment if they believe that (a) goal attainment leads to something they value (e.g., increase in pay, status, promotion) and (b) the behaviors they engage in have a high chance (expectancy) of leading to the goal. If people do not value the reward for goal attainment or believe that their behavior is unlikely to lead to goal attainment, then they will not be motivated to work hard. Path goal theory builds on these propositions by arguing that effective leaders are those who help their subordinates achieve their goals. According to path goal theory, leaders have a responsibility to provide their subordinates with the information and support necessary to achieve the work goals. One way to do this is to make salient the effort reward relationship by linking desirable outcomes to goal attainment (e.g., emphasizing the positive outcomes to the subordinates if they achieve their goals) and/or increasing the belief (expectancy) that their work behaviors can lead to goal attainment (e.g., by emphasizing that certain behaviors are likely to lead to goal attainment). The term path goal reflects the belief that effective leaders clarify the paths necessary for their subordinates to achieve the subordinates' goals. Leaders can do this in two main ways. First, leaders can engage in behaviors that help subordinates facilitate goal attainment (e.g., by providing information and other resources necessary to obtain goals). Second, leaders can engage in behaviors that remove obstacles...
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