The first comprehensive contingency model for leadership was developed by Fred Fiedler. The Fiedler contingency model proposes that effective group performance depends on the proper match between the leader’s style and the degree to which the situation gives control to the leader. Identifying Leadership Style:
Fiedler believes a key factor in leadership success is the individual’s basic leadership style. So he begins by trying to find out what that basic style is. Fiedler created the least preferred coworkers (LPC) questionnaire for this purpose; it purports to measure whether a person is task or relationship oriented. The LPC questionnaire contains sets of 16 contrasting adjectives (such as pleasant – unpleasant, efficient-inefficient, open- guarded, supportive-hostile). It asks respondents to think of all the co-workers they have ever had and to describe the one person they last enjoyed working with by rating that person on a scale of 1 to 8 for each of the 16 sets of contrasting adjectives. Fiedler believes that based on the respondents answers to this LPC questionnaire he can determine their basic leadership style. If the least preferred coworkers is described in relatively positive terms (a high LPC score), then the respondent is primary interested in good personal relations with his coworkers. That is, if you essentially describe the person you are least able to work with in favorable terms Fiedler would label you relationship-oriented. In contrast, if the least preferred coworkers are seen in relatively unfavorable terms (allow LPC score) the respondent is primarily interested in productivity and thus would be labeled task oriented. About 16 percent of respondents score in the middle range. Such individuals cannot be classified as either relationship oriented or task oriented and thus fall outside the theory’s predictions. The rest of our discussion therefore relates to the 84 percent who score in either the high or low range of the LPC. Fiedler assumes...
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