The Usefulness Of The Styles And Contingency Approaches In The Managerial Context

Essay by dwillo82University, Master'sB, October 2011

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The styles and contingency approaches provide a useful understanding of leadership in the managerial context by providing framework for which a manager can operate within. Whilst the approach has its limitations and cannot illustrate the correct response in all situations it, as a set of theories, provides practical guidance, consistent with established research, for managers in every day situations by focussing on the most apparent interactions the manager is likely to have - that being with his/her subordinates.

This essay will focus on the Path-Goal Theory of Work Unit Leadership (House 1996) as the most complete model however will provide a brief discussion of the efficacy of the other contingency approaches. An analysis will be made of the disadvantages of the contingency theories where they will be compared to the new leadership theory.


Path-goal theory (House, 1996) is useful because it focuses primarily on the transactional approach to leadership whilst allowing for behaviours which will contribute to and create transformational leadership.

The theory has propositions on what leadership style to use in certain situations that are applicable in most managerial contexts and has significantly expanded on the original theory to attempt to incorporate the work unit. The revised theory has expanded to incorporate elements of Transformational Leadership theory (Bass 1985, 1996) and therefore offers and explains this aspect of leadership as well.

Clarifying behaviour is commonly useful behaviour in a managerial context as it is intuitive to a managers role - that of guiding employees towards successful task completion. Path Goal clarifying behaviour is particularly useful in managerial contexts that provide for satisfying work with ambiguity, such as in a military environment - where directive clarifying behaviour would be most effective. Supportive work goal clarifying behaviour would tend to be more...