As a worldwide business leader, i encounter many different instances involving radically different employees. Return a little dated, Fiedler’s Contingency version of leadership helps finding a means forward. My work has actually taught me that any leadership method must take it the instance into account, and also not all leaders work well in all conditions. This is the core of Fiedler’s Contingency model of Leadership, i beg your pardon was among the an initial leadership theories the took situational parameters right into account, leading to a brand-new approach in management studies.

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What is Fiedler’s Contingency design of Leadership?

Fiedler’s contingency design of leadership explains which kind of leader leader to high performance in among eight various situations. Each case is defined by three dimensions: leader-member relations, job structure, and also position power. Depending on these dimensions, a task-oriented or relationship-oriented leader is most perfect for driving performance. 


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Contents

The Leadership formats of Fiedler’s Contingency version of LeadershipThe Situational Variables the Fiedler’s Contingency design of LeadershipAdvantages and Disadvantages the Fiedler’s Contingency ModelFiedler’s Contingency theory – example Situations
Fiedler’s Contingency design – Introduction

In the 1960s, some researchers realized the a emphasis on traits or leadership habits was no enough. Leadership studies and theories had to take it the case of the followers and also the organization into account. The addition of situational aspects increased complexity, and current leadership theories were not sufficient anymore. This new approach to leadership opened up for numerous Situational management Theories, such as the Situational management Model.


Fiedler’s Contingency Theory emerged in the mid-sixties and also was one of the an initial situational leadership models. Fred Fiedler was an American psychologist originating indigenous Austria. He headed business research at the university of Washington for an ext than two decades until that left in 1992. Fiedler an unified several vault studies’ results and came up through a formula recognized as Fiedler’s situation Leadership design or Fiedler’s Contingency version of Leadership.

According to this model, a leader’s contribution to performance relies on leadership behavior and also the level of compliance v each situation’s circumstances. The novelty through this was that Fiedler declared that a leader might be effective in one situation and not in another. A good leader is no necessarily successful when heading all species of establishments in all situations. To cover this aspect, Fiedler consisted of numerous leader-situation combinations that can guide leaders on how to act.

The model consists of two different leadership behaviors and three situational dimensions. Depending on these dimensions’ stamin level, among eight different cases apply, and a certain form of leadership actions will cause high or low performance.

Fiedler concluded that a leader can not be reliable all the moment in all kinds the situations. Instead, the Fiedler model suggests that a leader v the right habits should it is in leading and that each human being only has actually one stable leadership style, nevertheless of experience and also training. This suggests that a leader the does not fit the situation should be switched out. Fiedler realized that this approach would be extremely impractical, therefore he recommended the the instance should be changed to fit the leader’s habits instead. Ns am not sure just how it would certainly be simpler to change the case than adjust the leader, for this reason this post will dig deeper into this aspect.


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Fiedler’s model entails a three-step evaluate in developing the proper mix of leader and also situation:

Assess the leader leadership style or leadership actions by using the LPC scaleAssess the situation by examining it along three various situational dimensionsMatch the situation and the leadership actions to gauge the expected performance by making use of the Fiedler Contingency model chart visible below

These various aspects and the procedure of evaluate are explained in more detail below.


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Remember, Fiedler argued that it would certainly be easier to readjust the situation than the leader. Us will present you exactly how this deserve to be excellent by providing a couple of examples additional down in this article. Be affected by each other in mental that modern-day leadership styles assume that the leader can adapt come the situation. Read more in these posts for instance: 6 leadership formats by Goleman, and also the Situational management Model.

The Leadership layouts of Fiedler’s Contingency model of Leadership

Fiedler’s Contingency design of Leadership has two varieties of management styles: task-oriented or relationship-oriented leadership behavior.

The lack of added styles borders Fiedler’s theory compared to more contemporary leadership theories such as the six leadership layouts by Daniel Goleman, which brings added perspectives, behaviors, and approaches that the leader deserve to use.


By making use of Fiedler’s least desired coworker scale, or LPC, a leader come out together either relationship-oriented or task-oriented. Which style a leader uses is developed by answering a questionnaire with eighteen concerns with opposite answers. The leader thinks of the least preferred team member and also answers questions with a scale from 1 come 8, varying from uncomfortable to pleasant, unfriendly come friendly, or similar.

A high score on the LPC scale way that the leader is pleasant and lovely to work with and therefore assumed to be a relationship-oriented leader. A short score way that the leader is an overwhelming and care less around people, which shows that the leader offers a task-oriented leadership style.

Relationship-Oriented Leadership

A relationship-oriented leader develops bonds and also relationships v team members and also other stakeholders. Relationship-oriented habits leads come trust, friendship, and a supporting team climate.

Relationship-orientation compares come transformational leadership from the Full variety Leadership model or a mix the democratic, affiliative, visionary, and also coaching management from the six leadership styles by Goleman. (Information on all these and more can be uncovered in our leadership layouts portal.)

Task-Oriented Leadership

A task-oriented leader cares around getting the job done, job execution, quality, output, and also other non-human aspects. The task-oriented leader put a 2nd priority on relationships and people.


Task-oriented leadership has similarities v transactional management from the Full range Leadership version or a combination of directive and also pacesetting leadership. In extreme cases, a task-oriented leader might even be utilizing an autocratic leadership style. (These layouts can likewise be discovered in our leadership layouts portal.)

As mentioned, a leader displays one that the 2 behaviors and also cannot switch between styles follow to Fiedler`s contingency model.

The Situational Variables the Fiedler’s Contingency model of Leadership

Fiedler’s Contingency model of Leadership specifies three situational dimensions:

Leader-member relations: to trust levels, respect, commitment in between leader and also followerTask structure: The level that clarity, rules, and job descriptionsPosition power: Reward and punishment opportunities available to the leader, essentially the leader’s authority and position.

Each that Fiedler’s three contingency variables will be defined in detail below.

Leader-Member Relations

The first dimension is called Leader-Member relations and describes just how well the team and its leader work-related together, consisting of trust levels, willingness to monitor the leader, etc.

If the pendant respect and also trust your leader, lock are more likely to follow willingly. This method that the leader has an ext power and also a more substantial opportunity to influence the team. The stronger the influence and the willingness to follow, the less official authority the leader will require to acquire the project done.

This renders a the majority of sense: A great leader gets world to follow with inspiration, and also a bad leader depends much more on formal government to get world to listen.

Some parts of the concept of the leader-member relation are similar to Max Weber’s classification of authority, wherein charismatic leadership builds on the leader’s persona, and also rational-legal authority build on governmental leadership and also formal power. Describe our in-depth articles in the leadership styles portal to learn an ext about these elements by clicking the links in the previous sentence.

The leader-member measurement has two possible assessment outcomes: an excellent and Poor.

Task Structure

Task Structure explains the level of clarity, instructions, rules, policies, processes, etc.


In high task framework situations, the input, process, output, policies, project descriptions, and other defining rules are well known. This means that it is obvious what demands to be done, when, how, and by whom.

Low task framework requires more judgment, improvisation, and frequent decisions due to the fact that many the the parameters necessary to execute the task room unknown.

The Task framework of a case can be assessed as low or high.

Position Power

Position power defines the leader’s possibilities to reward and also punish employees, combined with other facets of the leader authority. If your manager has actually the right to readjust your value or also fire you, but your supervisor doesn’t, you’re an ext likely to hear to the former; it is as basic as that. Generally, the greater up in the hierarchy, the greater authority and also the stronger position-power the leader has.

Position power is designated together either solid or weak.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiedler’s Contingency Model

Fiedler’s contingency model has its strengths and its restrictions as most other leadership models. Although the introduction of situational components was impressive, the limitation in the variety of leadership actions is significant in comparison come the six leadership styles by Goleman or the Situational leadership Model.

Advantages the Fiedler’s Contingency model of Leadership

The benefits of Fiedler’s Contingency version of management are:

It takes situational facets into account, unlike many other management models native the same timeIt is simple to understand and also provides clear guidanceIt underlines the differences in between situations and helps leader to assess and understand the instance they action in

Disadvantages that Fiedler’s Contingency version of Leadership

The flaw of Fiedler’s Contingency model of management are:

The assumption that leadership behavior is static can limit leader from also trying to adjust their waysThe LPC range is based upon subjective judgment, and any error in evaluate can result in the not correct guidanceOnly two various leadership behaviors can result in leaders being assessed as either-or, resulting in confusion and unclarityThe presumption that leader are connection or task-oriented is incorrect. Modern leadership concept underlines that leaders can show both behaviors at the exact same time.Fiedler’s Contingency theory – instance Situations

This chapter has two instances of assessing a leadership instance by using Fiedler’s contingency design of leadership. Friend can additionally read tips and suggestions on exactly how to move from one worth to another for every of the situational dimensions.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model: Advertising agency Example

An Advertising agency serves together our very first example. Let us consider the three different dimensions to describe the situation.


The proclaiming agency’s creative process requires an excellent guidance and also close assistance from the leader since it is developed on creative work quite than pre-set processes and rules. Due to the work’s creative nature, the employees space asked of your opinions and also shape the work together. The leader needs to recognize the employee well, consisting of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, to distribution the work-related to the right people depending on what needs to be done.

The over indicates the the leader-member relationship is good.

Since the jobs handled by the company can be really different in size, shape, and also message, there room relatively couple of guidelines and instructions on exactly how to perform the work. Every project has actually its needs on how work is done and what sort of output is needed. This short level of clarity in tasks and a high degree of an altering conditions indicate a low task structure.

This advertising company creates various projects depending on the customer, scope, etc., and a task manager v the appropriate experience, contacts, and also knowledge is appointed come lead each project. Each of the project members has their permanent line managers, who assistance them in the background.

Since the line managers are responsible for setting salaries, hiring, and also firing, the task manager requirements to command the work without finish responsibility because that the resources. If a project member does fine or bad, it will be visible in the task manager’s assessment of the team member, yielded to the line manager. This rather loose control over the team members shows a weak power place for the task manager in this case.


Good leader-member relation, low job structure, and also weak power position correspond to instance four in the contingency theory chart.


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Situation 4 states that a task-oriented leader will execute poorly, and also a relationship-oriented leader will perform well. When setting this project up, the task owner must appoint a relationship-oriented job manager come reach greater performance.

However, Fiedler’s contingency version is likewise about transforming the situation to right the leader. What if friend only have a task-oriented project manager available. What need to you execute then?

The Fiedler contingency design chart mirrors that a task-oriented leader works best in instances one, two, and eight. Instances three and also six offer medium performance through task-oriented management behavior. The eighth instance is undesirable since all dimensions room weak, therefore let us leave that one out.

Which situational dimensions require alteration, and also how?


To acquire situation one: task structure requirements to walk from short to high and also position power have to go native weak come strong.

To achieve situation two: job structure should go from low to high.

In this example, the project owner considers it impossible to change into a high job structure instance given the work’s nature, calculation both cases one and two unattainable.

One alternative remains: transition from case four to instance three, i m sorry requires solid position power. Many thanks to this guidance, the job owner investigated methods to boost the position power without changing reporting lines. These to be the ways they moved forward with:

The project manager’s assessment shall account for 50% of the salary boost evaluation comes up following year.A one-of-a-kind bonus regimen stipulated the two task team members would acquire a monetary incentive at the finish of the project. The selection of this team members to be at the discretion the the project manager.The job manager started reporting come the this firm CEO, placing her in ~ the same ordered level as the heat managers.

By doing these changes, the place power strengthened fairly a bit, raising the opportunities of a successful job outcome when run by this specific project manager. Proceed reading an additional example or go to our leadership styles portal for information on maid leadership, transformational leadership, or any of the various other 25 formats in the portal.


Fiedler’s Contingency Model: rapid Food Restaurant Example

You recognize the drill indigenous the ahead example, therefore this one will be shorter. Right here are 7 statements relenten the case at this fast-food franchise.

High turnover since there space many comparable jobsLittle personal attachment since people are easily replaced because of the low skill requirementsAfter a short training session, everybody to know what to do, giving small need for close support and also guidance by the managerDivision of labor is extremely detailed: one human makes burgers, a 2nd handles fries, a 3rd handles sodas, and also a 4th person takes the orderProcesses are highly standardized, meaning that each meal is prepared according come pre-set rules and also instructionsMeticulous instructions for all tasks have been ready centrally because that each franchise come maximize its efficiency and standardizations.The change supervisor walk not collection the earnings or hire and also fire people. The restaurant owner handles all these things. The super can carry complaints to the owner, but that is pretty much it.

Statements one, two, and also three suggest low leader-member relations. Task structure is high according to statements four, five, and six. Finally, seven indicates weak position power because that the transition supervisor but solid position power for the restaurant owner.

According come Fiedler’s chart, this describes case five in the case of the restaurant owner and also situation 6 in the change supervisor’s case.


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For this come work, the owner needs to display task-oriented behavior. Provided the nature that the work, this is more than likely not a surprise. Being close to your employees and providing support and guidance when the work-related is repetitive and also easy can slow under the employees. One employee the cannot monitor instructions and work at the supposed quality and speed, might get fired.

Situation six is a bit much more complicated. Fiedler’s chart reflects that no task-oriented no one relationship-oriented management will bring about high performance. Together in the previous instance of the heralding agency, the increase of place power will an outcome in situation five. Mean the supervisor improves the relationships v the team members, making certain they feel an excellent at work, have actually fun, and also smoothly obtain through their day. In the case, an excellent leader-member relations might be the outcome, which turns case six into case two. Essentially, a well-liked and popular task-oriented leader have the right to work as a supervisor.


Read the final an overview of this short article or go to our leadership styles portal for info on servant leadership, change leadership, or any kind of of the other 25 formats in the portal.

Fiedler’s Contingency model of management – Summary

It is an excellent to be aware of and also understand Fiedler’s Contingency design of Leadership. It can help you in her leadership duty to watch the different facets of each situation and adjust the situational size to produce a an ext suitable situation.

However, the model boundaries the habits of the leader a lot. Just two different habits are defined, and leaders space expected to use only among those behaviors.

Although Fiedler’s model brought second perspective to the ar of management studies once it came, several frameworks v situational factor to consider have emerged because then. Many of those administer a more comprehensive view, an ext flexibility, and also a greater degree the situational understanding. I indicate you look at into and learn much more about the Full variety Leadership Model, Resonant management with the 6 Leadership formats by Goleman, and the Situational management model. Click the web links to walk to our write-ups on those topics.

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Further Reading

I recommend you review our overview write-up explaining tons of management Theories and Frameworks indigenous the 1800s and also onwards, you can uncover it right here: leadership Styles.