The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership

Path-goal theory indicates the methods of the leaders of motivating their employees. The primary target of this approach is to improve the performance of the team members of the company and the contentment of the followers by directing the efforts towards inspiration of the workers. The central point of this attitude is focusing on the motivation and appraise of this followers and employees in different situations. From this angle, in order to be an effective project manager, the person is expected to construct his style of leadership up various circumstances that would motivate the followers (Miner 2006). Therefore, there are different factors that affect the style of a leader.

“The path-goal theory of leadership proposes that situational and subordinates’ characteristics moderate the effectiveness of various leader behaviors” (Mathieu 1990, p. 180).

The path-goal theory implies that the efficiency of a leader is determined by his style and how it corresponds to the situation (Cross 2014). There are three main contingency factors that affect the leadership performance: the leader-worker connection, task structure and the position power of the affected. Each of the factors defines whether the style of the leader would be developed or negatively interacted.

Moreover, the theory implies that people are divided into two groups: task-motivated and relationship-motivated. Basing on this, the leader (or a project manager) can understand in which situations different employees will be more productive. For example, people of the first category are more likely to perform their best in both beneficial and non-beneficial environment. On the other hand, the representatives of the second group are more likely to perform in fairly favorable conditions.

One of the main strengths of this theory is that it is established in various researches, and it is proved to be effective and compelling (Hughes 2014). Moreover, a better understanding of the leadership was achieved with the help of this approach. In other words, after the releasing of the theory, the researches stopped trying to determine the single approach towards leadership and acknowledged it depends on the situation.

Also, the theory has its structure and is quite predictable, so it provides information that can be useful for organizations other theories cannot. As a conclusion, it doesn’t expect people to be effective in all situations. However, the main drawback of the approach is its inability to explain why certain types of leadership are more practical than the others. “A final criticism of path-goal theory is that it fails to explain what organizations should do when there is a mismatch between the leader and the situation in the workplace adequately” (Keskes 2014, p. 32).

The path-goal theory has a target of motivating the followers for accomplishing more complicated goals (Landrum & Daily 2012). In a case where a leader chooses the right approach towards his employees, the path-goal theory will prove its efficiency and allow the workers to achieve the designated targets. For example, in a company where a significant amount of workers are employed part-time, a leader should provide them with direction and support while not forgetting about the full-time staff.

Reference List

Cross, V 2014, The path-goal theory of leadership in companies. Web.

Hughes, R 2014, Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience, McGraw-Hill Education, New York. Web.

Keskes, I 2014, ‘Relationship between leadership styles and dimensions of employee organizational commitment: A critical review and discussion of future dimensions’, Intangible Capital, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 26-51. Web.

Landrum, N & Daily, C 2012, ‘Corporate accountability: A path-goal perspective’, International Journal of Business Insights and Transformation, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 50-62. Web.

Mathieu, J 1990, ‘A test of subordinates’ achievement and affiliation needs as moderators of leader path-goal relationships’, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 179-189. Web.

Miner, J 2006, Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership, M. E. Sharpe, Armonk. Web.

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