Fiedler’s Contingency Theory of Leadership

Contingency theory of leadership was coined by Fred Fielder in 1960s.  This theory provides the idea that leadership effectiveness depend on two factors. These factors include leaders’ tasks and situation. Fielder suggested that leadership style is fixed and is measured by Least Preferred Co-Worker scale (LPC). The scale helps leaders answer different questions in their leadership role. It asks leaders to remember a co-worker that they have least enjoyed working with. These ratings are in the scale of eight adjectives. For instance, the scales used may be cold, unfriendly, distant, unkind, and uncooperative among others.   Fielder’s contingency theory include characteristic of leader’s situation that are different. For instance, the type of followers, work tasks, resource, technology and economic environment. All these situations vary from one organization to the other.  The leaders’ effectiveness is determined by these situation factors.  If leaders are able to score a high LPC, they are effective in leadership. They are considered to have harmonious interpersonal relationships. Leaders with low LPC score focus on task accomplishment other than relationship with followers.

Leadership styles and situation characteristics can lead to effective leadership.  The leader is able to use different strategies for different situations. The leaders can adapt task oriented style where one focuses of accomplishing the tasks. Another leader may use relationship oriented style where interpersonal relationship with followers is key. Given the right situation a leader will be effective in his role.  Contingency model helps leaders to be dynamic. Depending on the situation, the leader is able to apply appropriate style.  Through applying contingency model of leadership, one can become an effective leader in different organizations. A leader can assess the situation at any given time. Changes can therefore be made to fit all situations.


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