Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Leadership Substitutes

Leadership substitutes are individual, task, environmental, and organizational characteristics that tend to outweigh the leader's ability to affect subordinate satisfaction and performance.

Kerr and Jermier propose that there may be certain "substitutes" for leadership that make leader behavior unnecessary and redundant "neutralizers" which prevent the leader from behaving in a certain way or which counteract the behavior.

Neutralizer
A neutralizer is a factor that paralyzes, destroys, or counteracts the effectiveness of leader behaviors, making it impossible for then to have an impact.
Substitute
A substitute makes leader behaviors not only impossible but also unnecessary.

Table 46 lists several substitutes for leadership and indicates the type of leadership behavior relationshiporiented or taskoriented that is replaced.

The concept of substitutes for and neutralizers of hierarchical leadership is an interesting one. The leadership substitutes model is embedded in several contemporary organizational practices, including selfmanaging work teams and individual self management.