Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

The Path-goal Theory

Another important contingency leadership concept was developed by Martin Evans and Robert House. In contrast to Fiedler's contingency theory, the pathgoal theory suggests that various styles can be and actually are used by the same leader in different situations. The path goal concept recognizes at least four distinctive types of leader behavior:

Directive leadership
which involves letting subordinates know that they are expected to do, giving them specific guidance, asking them to follow rules and regulations, scheduling and coordinating their work, and setting standards or performance for them. This closely parallels to the Ohio State University dimension of initiating structure.
Supportive leadership
which includes considering the needs of subordinates, displaying concern for their welfare, and creating a friendly climate in the work group. This behavior is similar to the Ohio State University consideration style.
The achievementoriented leader
sets challenging goals and expects subordinates to perform at their highest level.
The participative leader
consults with subordinates and uses their suggestions before making a decision.

Leader behavior interacts with two contingency factors to affect subordinate performance and satisfaction: