Leadership 0100

This course is intended to assist students in identifying and defining leadership in formal and non‐formal educational settings, communities, and organizations.  Students will learn through reading, observing, applying, discussing, creating, and evaluating leadership in context.

Leadership 0100

Course Expectations

 

Expectations and Requirements Readings:

Students are expected to do any required reading in advance of the lectures and discussions and should be prepared to ask and answer questions in class and participate in class discussions. Writing/Communicating Ideas: All "written" assignments and papers must be typed or word-processed. On all written work, papers will be evaluated (in part, at least) on content, analysis and synthesis of the topic, and organization, clarity, neatness, and use of language. Because it is particularly important for school administrators to know how to communicate effectively and concisely, it is suggested that students seek help if they have particular difficulty in writing or communicating their ideas effectively. For help in writing, you may wish to consult Elements of Style by Strunk and White or On Writing Well by William Zinsser which can be purchased at major bookstores. A scoring guide or rubric will be included with each project or assignment.

 

Assignments:

Assignments are due when specified. The professor may refuse to accept a late paper. If the late paper or project is accepted, it will incur a lower grade; the professor reserves the right to decide whether to accept the late assignment or to not accept the late assignment. Participation: Students are expected to participate in discussions and group work. As future leaders, it is important to refine skills in speaking and active listening. This includes learning to effectively share one's own ideas, as well as helping others to expand, refine and enhance their ideas.

 

Attendance Policy:

Because a large part of each class is participatory, class attendance is mandatory. Attendance will be taken during each class period and during team meeting periods. If a student wishes to earn a grade of A- or better for the course, he or she must attend the course/team meetings at least 90% of the time the course meets. When a student has attended less than 80% of class time/team time, then the student’s name will be submitted to the academic vice president; at this point, the professor also has the option of dropping the student from the course. If the student wishes to remain in the course, she or he must submit in writing (typing) a request to remain in the course, plus a detailed explanation of how the time and work will be made up. It is then up to the discretion of the professor to suggest the student drop the course or allow the student to remain in the course. After a student has attended less than 70% of the course, then he or she has earned an "F" grade unless the student drops the course. This attendance policy is consistent with the University policy as stated in the student handbook. 

Module 1

Pre-Module Readings

Opening Reflection

Introduction to-----

Module 2

Pre-Module Readings

Opening Reflection

Introduction to-----

Module 3-Path-Goal Theory

Pre-Module Readings

Use your pointer to hover over the Information hotspot to access the pre-module reading assignment.

As you read each chapter you may want to take notes, develop questions, make connections, and/or identify areas of confusion. You can then post on the discussion board for further support.

This module will take approximately 1 week to complete.

Opening Reflection

Path-goal theory is about how leaders motivate their followers to accomplish goals. Take a minute to think about leadership experiences that you have had in the past. Chances are, at least one of your leaders used a path-goal style.

 

In this module, we will learn the history of path-goal theory. We will then discuss the role of leaders, followers, and the situation in path-goal theory. The ideas behind path-goal theory are relatively simple. However, the theory has many parts, so taken together it can be pretty complex.

 

Introduction to Path-Goal Theory

As mentioned earlier, path-goal theory is about how leaders motivate followers to accomplish their goals. It first appeared in the leadership research literature in the 1970's in order to increase employee performance and satisfaction by motivating employees. Bob House has been credited with developing this theory. You may have heard of this theory before if you’ve taken any kind of motivation class.

(You can find out more about Robert "Bob" House by clicking on the link above)

Path-goal theory assumes effective leaders will provide valued rewards for the follower (the “goal”) and then help them find the best way of getting there (the “path”). Along the way, the effective leader will also provide emotional support as needed. The leader’s actions should strengthen the follower’s beliefs that if they exert a certain level of effort, then they will accomplish a task and if they accomplish a task, then they will achieve a valued outcome (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2012).

 

In path-goal theory, the leader needs to figure out how to use a leadership style that allows him/her to motivate employees. Thus, the leader needs to complement or supplement what is missing in the work environment. Leaders try to provide the rewards in the work environment that their followers need to reach their goals.

Meeting goals by removing obstacles

Basically, subordinates are on a path to achieve their goals. However, they will meet certain obstacles in meeting their goals. The leader is there to help remove these obstacles so that the subordinate can meet his or her goals.

 

Coming Up...

We will now discuss the different components of path-goal theory. First we will talk about leader behaviors, then subordinate characteristics, and finally task characteristics. We will end this module with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of path-goal theory.

Leader Behaviors

Directive Leadership 

A directive leader sets clear standards of performance and makes the rules clear to subordinates. Most instructors of large classes are directive leaders. They tell students exactly what they need to do to get an A in the class.

Supportive Leadership

The main goal of these leaders is to make work pleasant for their followers. These leaders respect their followers and treat them as equals.

Participative Leadership

If you have ever been part of a small, seminar-style class you may have had a participative leader. This leader would allow members of the class decide how the class would be formatted.

Achievement-Oriented Leadership

Challenge subordinates to perform work at the highest level possible. 

Leaders could show one to all of these types of leadership at any point in time. Path-goal theory is NOT a trait theory of leadership. This theory does NOT state that a participative leader is always a participative leader. Rather, it suggests that leaders change their styles with various subordinates and in different situations, similar to the situational leadership model. Different situations may call for different types of leadership behavior.

Leader Behaviors Quick Check

Now that you have learned about leader behaviors, check your understanding with the questions below.

Fill in the blanks by using the four types of leadership behaviors to complete each statement.

(The answers are not case sensitive.)

 focuses on relationships. This type of leader shows sensitivity to individual team members' needs, and considers each team members' best interests. This leadership style is best when tasks are repetitive or stressful.

 focuses on communicating goals and expectations, and assigning clear tasks. This style works best when tasks or projects are unstructured, or when tasks are complex and team members are inexperienced.

 focuses on setting challenging goals for the team. The leader has confidence in the team's abilities, and expects the team to perform well, and the leader maintains high standards for everyone. This style works best when team members are unmotivated or unchallenged in their work.

 focuses on mutual participation. This leader consults with the group, and considers their ideas and expertise before making a decision. This approach works best when team members are experienced, when the task is complex and challenging, and when  team members want to give their input.

 

Subordinate and Task Characteristics

Path-goal theory contains two groups of follower variables:

  1. the satisfaction of followers
  2. followers’ perception of their own abilities relative to the task to be accomplished.

First, path-goal theory suggests that leader behaviors will be acceptable to the followers to the degree followers see the leader’s behavior will lead to satisfaction for them.

Second, followers’ perceptions of their own skills and abilities to perform tasks can also affect the impact of certain leader behaviors. For example, followers who believe they are capable of performing a task are not as apt to be motivated by a directive leader as they would a participative leader.

Thus, subordinate characteristics determine how followers will interpret a leader’s behavior. There are a number of subordinate characteristics that have been studied in path-goal theory including need for affiliation, preference for structure, desire for control, and self-perceived task ability. You can read more about each of these in your text.

How Does Path-Goal Theory Work?

Dr. Jason Carthen is one of the top executive coaches in the world. His research based Leadership Strategies, and Personal development tools are recognized and used by some of the most successful companies in the world and have helped shape over a half million successful leaders, managers and employees.

Jason Carthen of Redeemed Management & Consulting: The Leadership Minute: Path Goal Leadership

Click on the monitor to access the video or copy and paste the link into your browser.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHRlKAp-BgQ

Reflection:

After watching the video reflect on what was presented. How does this information influence your thoughts on leadership?

 

 

Remember at the beginning of the semester we said that we were going to learn about both the science and practice of leadership. Well the theory of path-goal theory suggests that leaders need to choose leadership styles that fit the needs of the subordinates and the situations. The theory says that directive leadership is best in situations in which task demands are ambiguous and organizational rules are unclear. Similarly, supportive leaders are necessary when work is structured, unsatisfying, or frustrating. Participative leadership is best when a task is ambiguous and when subordinates have a strong need for control. Finally, achievement-oriented leadership is best when subordinates are required to perform ambiguous tasks (Northouse, 2013).

In practice, the theory provides direction about how leaders can help subordinates to accomplish their work in a satisfactory manner.

Below you will find a table that explains how path-goal theory works in short form (adapted from Northouse, 2013).

 

Table 6.2. How Path Goal Theory Works in the Short Form

Leader Behavior

Group Members

Task Characteristics

Directive Leadership

Provides guidance and
psychological structure

Dogmatic
Authoritarian

Ambiguous
Unclear rules
Complex

Supportive Leadership

Provides nurturance

Unsatisfied
Need Affiliation
Need Human Touch

Repetitive
Unchallenging
Mundane and mechanical

Participative Leadership

Provides involvement

Autonomous
Need for control
Need for clarity

Ambiguous
Unclear
Unstructured

Achievement-Oriented Leadership

Provides challenge

High expectations
Need to excel

Ambiguous
Challenging
Complex

 

As you can see from the table, certain situations call for more than one type of leadership. Ambiguous situations call for directive, participative, and achievement-oriented leaders. This is where path-goal theory can become confusing.

In sum, path-goal theory is straightforward in theory. It says that an effective leader has to attend to the needs of subordinates. The leader should help followers define their goals and help them figure out what path to take to reach these goals. When obstacles arise, leaders should help subordinates overcome them.

 

Leadership Terms and Characteristics Quick Check

Look at the leadership behavior terms and definitions on the left side and match them with the task characteristics from the right side.

Click and drag to complete a matching puzzle pair. 

  • Directive Leadership Provides guidance and psychological structure
    Ambiguous Unclear rules Complex
  • Supportive Leadership Provides nurturance
    Repetitive Unchallenging Mundane and mechanical
  • Participative Leadership Provides involvement
    Ambiguous Unclear Unstructured
  • Achievement-Oriented Leadership Provides challenge
    Ambiguous Challenging Complex

Strengths and Weaknesses of Path-Goal Theory

Strengths

  • Path-goal theory provides a useful theory to help us understand how different leadership behaviors affect the satisfaction and work behavior of subordinates.
  • The theory integrates motivation principles into a theory of leadership.
  • Path-goal theory provides a practical model that helps leaders see the important ways in which they can help subordinates.

 

Weaknesses

  • Path-goal theory is so complex and incorporates so many different aspects of leadership that interpreting the meaning of the theory can be confusing.
  • The theory has only received partial support in empirical studies that have tried to test its usefulness.
  • The theory does not adequately explain the relationship between leadership behavior and worker motivation.
  • Path-goal theory treats leadership as a one-way event. It assumes that the leader affects the subordinate, but the follower does not affect the leader. As we know, leadership is about the interaction between leaders, followers, and situations.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Path-Goal Theory Quick Check

Identify each statement as a strength or weakness of Path-Goal Theory. Label the left side "Strengths" and the right side "Weaknesses".

Drag and drop the statements on the correct page.

  • Path-goal theory provides a useful theory to help us understand how different leadership behaviors affect the satisfaction and work behavior of subordinates.
  • The theory integrates motivation principles into a theory of leadership.
  • Path-goal theory provides a practical model that helps leaders see the important ways in which they can help subordinates.
  • Path-goal theory is so complex and incorporates so many different aspects of leadership that interpreting the meaning of the theory can be confusing.
  • The theory has only received partial support in empirical studies that have tried to test its usefulness.
  • The theory does not adequately explain the relationship between leadership behavior and worker motivation.
  • Path-goal theory treats leadership as a one-way event. It assumes that the leader affects the subordinate, but the follower does not affect the leader. As we know, leadership is about the interaction between leaders, followers, and situations.
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Module 3-Discussion

1.Create a post that addresses the following:

  • Pick a leadership situation from your life. Describe and analyze it from the perspective of Leader-Member Exchange theory that we learned last module. How do the ideas form the Path-Goal theory fit with what happened in the situation?

2.Respond to two of your fellow classmate’s analyses by using your understanding of the Path-Goal theory. 

Case Study 7.1

Read the Case Study 7.1 scenario in the textbook and watch the scenario below.

After interacting with the Case Study, submit a document that describes the three different leadership styles that Art, Bob, and Carol have including identifying which leader uses an aspect of the Path-Goal theory, what aspect, and how it is integrated/applied. Provide evidence to support your submission.

Module 3 Wrap-Up

In this module, we learned about path-goal theory. Path-goal theory is about how leaders motivate their followers to accomplish goals. The effective leader will provide valued rewards to the follower and then help the follower find the best way to meet goals. The leader’s actions should strengthen the follower’s beliefs about expectancy, instrumentality, and valence.

There are four types of leader behaviors that are a part of path-goal theory.

 

 

  1. Directive
  2. Supportive
  3. Participative 
  4. Achievement-oriented

 

 

There are a number of subordinate characteristics that have been studied in path-goal theory.

 Subordinate characteristics determine how followers will interpret a leader’s behavior. 

  1. Need for affiliation
  2. Preference for structure
  3. Desire for control
  4. Self-perceived task abilit

The characteristics of the task also affect how leaders’ motivate subordinates. Popular task characteristics include the design of the task, the authority system of the organization, and the primary work group of the subordinates.

 

Different situations and subordinates require different types of leadership. Supportive leaders are necessary when work is structured, unsatisfying, or frustrating. Participative leadership is best when a task is ambiguous and when subordinates have a strong need for control. Finally, achievement-oriented leadership is best when subordinates are required to perform ambiguous tasks. Path-goal theory has a number of strengths and weaknesses.

 

Question 1

1. Define Path-Goal Theory in your own words.

Question 2

2. Name and describe in detail the four different types of leader behavior.

Question 3

3. Discuss the strengths of the path-goal theory in relation to other theories/approaches such as the contingency theory, situational approach, etc.

Question 4

4. Discuss the weaknesses of the path-goal theory in relation to other theories/approaches such as the contingency theory, situational approach, etc.