Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Situational Factors

Fiedler's model suggests that the situation in which a leader operates can be characterized by three factors:

Leader - member relations
This refers to the degree of confidence, trust, and respect followers have for the leader.
Task structure
the degree to which the job assignments are procedurized (that is, structured or unstructured).
Position Power
the degree of influence a leader has over power variables such as hiring, firing, discipline, promotion, and salary increase.

The classification of these three individuals according to Fiedler would be as shown in Table 42 .

Leader Orientation

The second key variable in this model is the leader. Fiedler explains that leaders behavior is based on their motivational needs. He believes that leaders are born with certain talents and preferences for certain styles and that the personality of the leader cannot be changed. Fiedler developed the Least Preferred Co Worker Scale (LPC) to measure two leadership styles:

  1. task or controlling, structuring leadership
  2. and relationship or passive, considerate leadership

The LPC scale, reproduced in Figure 44 , produced scores between 18 and 144. Low LPC leaders are usually described as those scoring below 58 points. High LPC leader score 64 or more points. A score of 5863 indicates a mix of motivation in the leadership style.

Figure 45 illustrates the style of leadership most appropriate for particular combination of situational characteristics.

Combining leader LPC scores with situation favourableness, Fiedler examined the statistical correlations between LPC scores and group performance for each situational actant.

The situational characteristics are shown at the bottom of Figure 45 .

The vertical axis indicates the correlation between a leader's LPC score and the group's performance. A median correlation above the midline shows that the relationship oriented leaders tend to perform better than the taskoriented leaders. A median correlation below the midline indicates that taskoriented leaders perform better than the relationshiporiented leaders.

A growing number of leadership researchers do not wholly agree with Fiedler's model. These researchers claim that the reliability and validity of the LPC questionnaire measure are low.

Other argue that the model has series conceptual deficiencies limiting its utility for explaining leadership affectiveness, deficiencies such as its narrow focus on a single leader trait, ambiguity about what is really measured, and the absence of explanatory processes.

Despite these criticisms, Fiedler's contingency model has made an important contributions to the study and application of leadership principles.