Theories of Leadership Assignment

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Theories of Leadership Assignment

Theories of Leadership Assignment


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contrast two leadership theories with regard to their treatment of the interaction between the leader and the situation or context

Leadership theories often examine the interaction between the leader and the situation or context. In this assignment, you will identify and contrast two leadership theories with regard to their treatment of the interaction between the leader and the situation or context and evaluate the applicability of the theories to a variety of situations.

General Requirements:

Use the following information to ensure successful completion of the assignment:

· Learners are required to use APA style for their writing assignments.

· This assignment requires that at least two additional scholarly research sources related to this topic, and at least one in-text citation from each source be included.


In a paper of 1,000-1,250 words, contrast two leadership theories with regard to their treatment of the interaction between the leader and the situation or context and evaluate the applicability of the theories to a variety of situations. Include the following in your paper:

1. A brief overview of each theory. Identify the theory and state its main components.

2. A clear, research-supported contrast of the two theories with regard to their treatment of the interaction between the leader and the situation or context.

3. An evaluation of the applicability of the theories given the contrast you described. Is one or the other more applicable to a variety of situations? Why or why not?

Read Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5.



contrast two leadership theories with regard to their treatment of the interaction between the leader and the situation or context

Leadership is a comprehensive process which is the application of both practical as well as research area to influence the people and lead them towards the achievement of the goals. In simple words, it is the process of motivating the group or individual to work for the achievement of the common goal. Over the years, many authors have given different theories in context to Leadership and how it should be achieved.

Some of the major Leadership Theories are as follows:

  1. Fiedler’s Contingency Theory: The Fielder’s Contingency Theory works on the grounds of the working environment prevalent in the organization. According to the contingency theory, there is no one specific way to lead the people in the organization towards achievement of the goals. The leadership style needs to be changed in accordance to the situation in the business, the degree of control and influence of the leader and the level of understanding between the subordinate and the leader. The best method to lead the company is by choosing an optimal way which considers all the contingencies that may arise in the business whether internally or externally. The leader’s level of authority and the effectiveness could be measured in the Contingency Theory using the following scale:
    • Leader-member relationship – If there is a good communication between the employees and the leaders, there will be a good and healthy relationship between the leaders and members and they will be able to work efficiently.
    • Degree of task structure – If the task structure is good and efficient in the organization and the work is assigned properly, there will be a high degree of task structure.
    • Leader’s position power – If a leader exercises higher authority and attributable power, there will be a higher leader’s position power.
  2. Hersey Blanchard’s situational leadership: Hersey defined the leadership style to be dependent on the different situations a leader faces. The leaders behave differently in different situations. According to this theory, the leader should be capable enough to blend or adapt himself and his skills as per the requirement. His leadership style should be flexible enough to meet the requirements in the organization. Hersey Blanchard has defined 4 different kinds of Leadership Behaviors:
    • Telling:
    • Selling:
    • Participating:
    • Observing:

    Hersey has given four maturity levels on which the group dynamics work. These are:

    • M-1: It refers to the team that has basic incompetence in carrying out the tasks or is unwilling to carry out the tasks in the organization.
    • M-2: This state refers to the condition where the group is willing to carry out the task but are unable due to their inability.
    • M-3: This is when the employees are competent to carry out the task but lack confidence and self- belief.
    • M-4: This is the stage where the employees in the group are ready, willing and able to carry out the task.

    In a similar manner, Hersey has provided for 4 permutations on the basis of the above given factors:

    • R1 – Low competence and low commitment
    • R2 – Low competence and high commitment
    • R3 – High competence and low/variable commitment
    • R4 – High competence and high commitment


  3. Path Goal Theory: The employees in the organization have individual goals. It is important for the business to align the goals of the organization with the individual goals of the employees. This achievement of individual goals works as a motivational factor for them. It is the duty of the leader to help the employee in achieving his goal. Thus this theory states that the Leader’s behavior or actions will be happily accepted by the employees as long as they are directed in order to help the employee achieve his goals in present or future. In other words, the leader paves the “path” for the employees to achieve their goals. There are 4 kinds of leaders that can be defined under the Path Goal Theory:
    • Directive: It is that kind of leader which emphasizes on the completion of the work.
    • Supportive: This kind of leader is not only concerned about the completion of the task but of the employee’s well- being as well.
    • Participative: A participative leader involves the employees too in the decision making and take into consideration their suggestions.
    • Achievement- Oriented: This kind of leader enforces the competitive situations at the employees so that they can develop and learn.
  4. Machiavellianism: It refers to the deployment of manipulating and resisting conduct while performing the functions. Sometimes the leaders need to take the road of Machiavellianism so as to get the work done from the employees. Such leaders are manipulative in their conduct and know the art of getting work done from the employees. Such leaders believe that the ends justify the means and focus on getting the work completed. These leaders excel in the field of meeting the requirements and bringing revenue to the business. They exercise the hard ways in the business. Some of the characteristics of such leaders are:
    • These leaders excel in the art of control and manipulation
    • They exercise the authority assigned to them
    • They are cunning
    • They are duplicitous
    • They have an approach of narcissism while working
    • They are very secretive
  5. Leader member exchange theory: The Leader member Exchange Theory works on the theme that there is a two way communication between the leaders and members. In an organization both of them need to have trust and faith in each other which will help in the smooth functioning. The leaders tend to create two diverse groups where one is in- group and the other is out- group. The in- group refers to the group of employees with whom the leader works closely and is associated more whereas the out- group is the set of employees leader works less with. The in- group members are the ones who have larger experience, are skilled and experts in their job. They tend to make the work of the leader easy. This relation between the leaders and members is highly dependent on the Trust they share, personal compatibility, subordinate competence, high interactions and extrovert personality. Whereas the out- group members are supposed to approach the leaders in a formal manner.
  6. Attribution theory of leadership: The attribution theory of leadership refers to the judgment formed by the leader about the employee which is based on the work done by the employee. The leader once forms the opinion and works accordingly on the employee. This model has to facets:
    • leader attributions for and reaction to poor performance by subordinates, and
    • observer attributions for and reactions to poor performance by the leaderThe attribution approach starts with the position that the leader is essentially an information processor. Based on information about subordinates and their behaviors, the leader makes a determination an attribution of the cause of each subordinate’s behaviors and selects strategies to deal with any poor performers.The attributions so formed are on the basis of the leader’s skepticism and intelligence. There are three dimensions onto which the performance of the employees is adjudged:
    • Distinctiveness: Is the task occurring in this activity only?
    • Consensus: Did the other employees face the similar kind of situations?
    • Consistency: Is the performance of the employees consistent?
  7. Trait theories: The Great Man Theory forms the basis for the Trait Theories according to which the Leaders are born and not made. A trait is the distinguishing quality or a unique characteristic that one possesses. This trait differentiates the person from the other people. The trait theory suggests the traits that a leader must possess so as to ace in the field of leadership. It states the basic traits attributable to Leadership. This theory is associated with the personal, physical and social attributes of the individual and forms the basis for his skepticism and analytical skills. According to this theory, the leadership traits are:
      • Intelligence
      • Passion
      • Honesty and Integrity
      • Skepticism

    The following chart displays the various kinds of traits to be possessed by the leader:

    Trait theoriesBut the Trait theory has some limitations as well. These limitations are imposed as to the theoretical approach of the Trait Theory. These can be understood as following:

    • Leadership Traits are not hereditary, they can be developed over a time.
    • It is a theoretical approach and it can be difficult to identify the traits.
    • No physical evidence can be gathered to adjudge the traits of the individual
  8. Behavioral theories of leadership: Behavioral Theory of leadership deals with how the Leader reacts or behaves to a given condition. His stimulus to a given situation defines his behavior. It defines what the leader does; whereas trait theory defines what the leader is what he is made of. Thus, Behavioral theory focuses on the psychological approach of the leader. On the basis of the behavior manifested by the individual, there are three kinds of Leaders;
    • Autocratic Leaders: Autocratic Leadership is a style where the leader does not take into consideration the inputs from his subordinates. Such kind of leader takes the decision on his own and the whole team is under the obligation to follow it. There is no delegation and an environment of strictness is maintained. It is put into practice in such areas where the inputs of the employees are not needed for the function to be executed.
    • Democratic Leaders: Democratic Leadership style refers to that style of leadership where the team members are included in the decision making. Suggestions and inputs are invited from the members and the decision is taken upon agreement from all the members i.e. subordinates. The involvement from all the members and subordinates make it a very work- friendly style and a good motivation factor. But it gets difficult to manage so many employees and it is difficult to honor everyone’s inputs.
    • Laissez- Faire Leaders: Laissez- Free Leadership is an extension to the Democratic Style of Leadership. The employees are given the liberty to take their own decisions and work accordingly. This is why one can find a number of different decision taken individually. This kind of leadership is applied to those groups which have a good coordination and understanding to carry out the work. But often this kind of leadership can fail and the leader can turn out to be lazy in executing his duties.
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