The Role of Emotional Intelligence BY Jolliet The Role of the Situation In Leadership Victor H. Broom Arthur G. Ago Leadership depends on the situation. Few social scientists would dispute the validity of this statement. But the statement can be interpreted in many different ways, depending, at least in part, on what one means by leadership. This article begins with a definition of leadership and a brief description of 3 historically important theories of leadership.
The most recent of these, contingency theories, is argued to be most consistent with existing evidence and cost relevant to professional practice. The Broom, Yet, and Ago contingency models of participation In decision making are described In depth, and their work provides the basis for identifying 3 distinct ways In which situational or contextual variables are relevant to both research on and the practice of leadership. Keywords: participation, situational leadership, normative models, contingency theory he term leadership is ubiquitous in common discourse.
Political candidates proclaim it, organizations seek it, and the media discusses it ad nauseas. Unfortunately, research on leadership has done little to inform these endeavors. As Bennie and Anus (1985) have noted, Literally thousands of empirical Investigations of leaders have been conducted In the last seventy-five years alone, but no clear and unequivocal understanding exists as to what distinguishes leaders from moneylenders, and perhaps more Important, what distinguishes effective leaders from ineffective leaders. (p. ) Although this assertion is over 20 years old, our position is that any serious review of the more recent literature would reveal that the quote is as relevant today as it was then. One of the problems stems from the fact that the term adhering, despite Its popularity, is not a scientific term with a formal, standardized definition. Bass (1990) has lamented the taxonomic confusion by suggesting that “there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” In this article, we begin by examining a set of issues surrounding the definition of leadership.
Then we pursue our central objective to examine the role of situational factors in leadership. Our focus is on the leadership of organizations-?public, private, or nonprofit-?rather than leadership in political, scientific, or artistic realms. January 2007 American Psychologist Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 0003-XIX/07/$12. 00 Volvo. 62, NO. 1, 17-24 DOE 10. 1037/0003-XIX. 62. 1. 17 Yale University University of Missouri-?Columbia The Definitions of Leadership Virtually all definitions of leadership share the view that leadership involves the process of influence.
One thing that all leaders have in common is one or more followers. If no one is following, one cannot be leading. One person, A, leads another person, B, if the actions of A modify Bi’s behavior in a direction desired by A. Note that this definition of leading is restricted o intended influence. Eliminated are instances in which the influence is in a direction opposite of that desired by A or in which changing Bi’s behavior was not Ass intention. If leading is influencing, then what is leadership? Clearly, if this term is useful, it refers to a potential or capacity to influence others.
It is represented in all aspects of a process that includes the traits of the source of the influence (see Zacchary, 2007, this issue), the cognitive processes in the source (see Sternberg, 2007, this issue), the nature of the interaction that makes the influence possible (see Viola, 2007, this issue), and the situational intent that is the subject of this article. Note that the definition given above makes no mention of the processes by which the influence occurs. There are, in fact, a myriad of processes by which successful influence can occur.
Threats, the promise of rewards, well-reasoned technical arguments, and inspirational appeals can all be effective under some circumstances. Do all of these modes of influence qualify as leadership? It is in the answer to this question that leadership theorists diverge. Some restrict the term leadership to particular types of influence methods, such as those that are noncreative or that involve appeals o moral values. Others use the form of influence not as a defining property but as the basis for distinguishing different types of leadership. For leadership, terms that are described in more detail by Viola (2007).
Similarly, other scholars have written about charismatic leadership (Conger & Kananga, 1998), tyrannical leadership (Glad, 2004), and narcissistic leadership (Sets De even & Miller, 1985). Another point of difference among definitions of leadership lies in their treatment of the effects of influence. Most theorists assume there is a close link between Victor H. Broom, School of Management, Yale University; Arthur G. Ago, College of Business, University of Missouri-?Columbia. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Victor H.
Broom, School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520. E-mail: victor. [email protected] Deed 17 3. The nature of the incentives, extrinsic or intrinsic, is not part of the definition. 4. The consequence of the influence is collaboration in pursuit of a common goal. 5. The “great things” are in the minds of both leader and followers and are not necessarily viewed as desirable by all other parties. A Heroic Conception of Leadership Victor H. Broom adhering and the effectiveness of a group or organization. If fact, organizational effectiveness is often taken as a strong indication of effective leadership.
Exhibiting leadership means not only influencing others but also doing so in a manner that enables the organization to attain its goals. The usefulness of adding effectiveness to the definition of leadership has recently been questioned by Bodily, Curran, and Hill-popper (2005). They noted the tenuous connections between these two variables in economic organizations and suggested that leadership be defined as a process of “meaning- making” (p. ) among organizational members. We support disentangling the definition of leadership from organizational effectiveness.
Not only is the effectiveness of an organization influenced by many factors other than the quality of its leadership, but there are many processes by which leaders can impact their organizations that have little or nothing to do with what is defined as leadership. For example, mergers and acquisitions, changes in organizational structure, and layoffs of personnel may have great impact on shareholder value but do not necessarily embody the influence contribute to organizational effectiveness, but it would be neither accessory nor sufficient for achieving it.
To the myriad of definitions that have been put forward over the years, we offer the following working definition that will, at least, serve the objectives of this article. We see leadership as a process of motivating people to work together collaboratively to accomplish great things. Note a few implications of this definition. 1. Leadership is a process, not a property of a person. 2. The process involves a particular form of influence called motivating. 18 Most early research on leadership was based on an assumption that has been largely discredited.
Leadership was assumed to be a general personal trait independent of the context in which the leadership was performed. We refer to this as a heroic conception of leadership. Heroic models originated in the great man theory of history proposed by 18th-century rationalists such as Carlyle, Nietzsche, and Gallon. Major events in world history were assumed to be the result of great men whose genius and vision changed the world in which they lived. Among psychologists, William James (1880) stressed that the mutations of society were due to great men who led society in the directions they believed to be important.
The development of psychological testing in the early part of the 20th century provided the potential for testing the trait concept. If leadership is a general personal trait, it should be measurable, and people with a high level of this trait could be placed in positions requiring their talents. If the heroic model proved to be correct, society could enormously benefit through improved leader selection. Efforts to test this heroic model have compared the traits of leaders with followers and effective leaders with those who were ineffective.
The psychological tests used have ranged from tests of aptitude and ability, including intelligence, to personality tests measuring traits such as extroversion, dominance, and masculinity. A detailed summary of all of this work is beyond the scope of this article. Zacchary (2007), whose article appears in this special section, discussed the evidence in more detail. Stodgily, who reviewed 124 studies, noted substantial variability in the findings reported by different investigators.
He stated that “It becomes clear that an adequate analysis of leadership involves not only a study of leaders, but also of situations” (Stodgily, 1948, up. 64 – 65). Reviews such as those by Stodgily (1948) gave pause raid of leadership. Beginning in the sass, there was a move away from dispositional variables as the source of leadership to other and possibly more promising approaches. Zacchary (2007) made the case for resurrecting the study of leadership traits, arguing that their rejection was premature and based on something other than an unbiased appraisal of the evidence.
Although the notion of leadership has declined as a starting point for research, it still constitutes the prevalent view held by the general public (see Viola, 2007). In their article, Hickman and Washman (2007, this issue) sought to count for this discrepancy with their concept of the leader attribution error. .NET. Furthermore, in measuring leadership behavior, they focused exclusively on what leaders did most of the time or on average rather than on the context of the behavior or how that context might cause a shift in behavior from that average.
We conclude that neither of the two approaches to the study of leadership addressed so far has produced a solid body of scientific evidence sufficient to guide practice. The relationships between leader behavior and effectiveness varied markedly from one study to another. Neither the behavior of leaders in carrying out their leadership roles nor the nature of the challenges they met did Justice to the complexity of the phenomena. Today, most researchers include situational variables in their investigations, either as determinants of leader behavior or as moderating variables interacting with traits or behavior.
The Pure Situational Theory Arthur G. Ago The Search for Effective Leader Behaviors Disenchantment with the search for universal traits of leadership led to a new movement in leadership research in the sass and sass. This research was primarily located in woo universities: Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. The shared focus of both research programs was an interest in how leaders behave. They were not concerned with leadership traits as indicated by performance on standardized tests but rather with the leader’s actions in carrying out the leadership role.
The Ohio State consideration and initiating structure. The former dealt with the establishment of mutual trust, two-way communication, rapport, and a concern for the employee as a human being both in and out of the work setting. The latter dealt with defining working relationships, work schedules, work ethos, and accomplishment. Leader behavior research was a step in the direction of acknowledging the role of situation or context in leadership. Unlike traits, behavior is potentially influenced not only by the leaders’ dispositions but also by the situations that leaders confront.
For example, Lowing and Craig (1968), in an imaginative laboratory experiment, showed that leaders confronted with ineffective teams behaved in a much less considerate and supportive manner than those confronted with effective teams. Leader behavior can therefore be an effect of subordinate behavior as well as a cause of it. Nonetheless, the Ohio State University and University of Michigan studies were primarily concerned with the consequences of leader behavior as opposed to its undersecretary 2007 American Psychologist We turn now to our central task of exploring theories and research examining the role of situational factors in leadership.
In discussing the heroic model, we examined its historical origins in the great man theory of history. The antithesis of this movement was an environmental position proposed by many philosophers, including Hegel and Spencer. They saw “great men” as merely puppets of social forces. These forces elected people for positions of leadership and shaped their behavior to coincide with social interests. In a similar vein, Popper (1970) argued that the real causes of effective and ineffective organizational leadership reside in structural features rather than the characteristics of the people who lead those organizations.
The traits of leaders reflect the mechanisms by which they are selected, and their behavior is constrained by the situations that they face. Popper argued that leadership should be viewed as a dependent rather than an independent variable. To put it differently, the traits and behavior of leaders are mediating variables teen structural antecedents and organizational outcomes. Supporting this position are longitudinal studies of changes in organizational effectiveness during periods in which organizations had changes in top leadership (Lieberman and O’Connor, 1972; Sicilian & Proffer, 1977).
Their data show that very little of the variance in organizational outcomes could be explained by cannot observe differences when leaders change, then what does it matter who occupies the positions or how they behave? ” (p. 108). Similarly, on the basis of their study of 46 college and university presidents, Cohen and March 1974) compared the role of organizational leaders with that of a driver of a skidding car, adding that “whether he is convicted of manslaughter or receives a medal for heroism is largely outside his control” (p. 203).
The argument that the attributes of the leader are irrelevant to organization effectiveness has three components: (a) Leaders have very limited power (much less than is attributed to them), (b) candidates for a given leadership position will have gone through the same selection screen that will drastically curtail their differences, and (c) any 19 remaining differences among people will be overwhelmed y situational demands in the leadership role. When these assumptions are valid, it is easy to see that individual differences would be largely irrelevant to leadership.
But how frequently are they valid? Most leaders are not figureheads; selection criteria may reduce the variance in individual differences but they do not eliminate it; and many of the challenges facing leaders are ambiguous, replete with uncertainty, and leave lots of room for differences in interpretation and action. Most social scientists interested in leadership have now abandoned the debate between person or situation in favor of a search for a set of concepts that are capable of dealing both with differences in situations and with differences in leaders.
We follow convention in referring to these as contingency theories. Empirically, contingency theories guide research into the kinds of persons and behaviors who are effective in different situations. Fiddler’s Contingency Model The first psychologist to put forth a fully articulated model dealing with both leader traits and situational variables was Fred Fiddler (1967). He divided leaders into relationshipmotivated and task-motivated groups by means of their relatively favorable or unfavorable description of the leader’s least preferred coworker on a set of bipolar adjectives.
Fiddler studied the relative effectiveness of these two types of leaders in eight different situational types created by all combinations of three dichotomous variables: (a) leader-member relations, (b) follower-task structure, and (c) leader-position power. Fiddler found that the relationship-motivated leader outperformed the task- motivated leader in four of the eight situations but that the reverse was true in the other four situations. Fiddler argued that one’s leadership motivation is a ether enduring characteristic that is not subject to change or adaptation.
Hence it is eschewed the type of leadership training that the Ohio State University or University of Michigan studies may have suggested (Fiddler, 1972, 1973) or selection techniques that the earlier trait research favored. The implication of Fiddler’s theory is for a leader to be placed in a situation that is favorable to his or her style. Short of that as a possibility, he favored trying to “engineer the Job to fit the manager” (Fiddler, 1965); that is, altering one or more of the three situational variables until a fit with the leader is achieved (Fiddler &
Schemers, 1984). Two meta-analyses of the original work and subsequent studies provide at least partial support for this theory (Peters, Hearted, & Pullman, 1985; Strobe & Garcia, 1981). Nonetheless, the theory has also generated considerable theoretical and methodological controversy over the years (e. G. , Ashore, 1973; Kerr, 1974; McMahon, 1972; scratchiest & Kerr, 1977; Shiftless, 1973; vehicle, 1977).
In spite of the controversies, it is clear that Fiddler was a pioneer in taking leadership research beyond the purely trait or purely situational perspectives that preceded his contribution. 20 Path-Goal Theory Shortly after the publication of Fiddler’s theory, a group of psychologists (Evans, 1970; House, 1971; House & Desire, 1974; House & Mitchell, 1974) advanced a contingency theory that attempted to resolve some of the inconsistent and contradictory results that had emerged in research on consideration and initiation structure after the original Ohio State University studies.
This theory suggests that the leader’s role is to create and manage subordinate paths toward individual and group goals, to clarify expectations, and to supplement the environment when sufficient rewards from the environment are caking. The effectiveness of consideration and initiating structure (and two additional behaviors, achievement-oriented leadership and participative leadership) are thought to depend on contingency factors found in (a) subordinate characteristics (e. G. , authoritarianism, locus of control, ability) and (b) environmental characteristics (e. . , task, authority system, work group). When behaviors are properly matched to the situation, Job satisfaction is produced, acceptance of the leaders occurs, and effort to performance and performance to reward expectations are elevated (House & Mitchell, 1974). One well-established hypothesis from path- goal theory is that initiating structure (sometimes referred to as directive or instrumental behavior) will be effective in situations with a low degree of subordinate task structure but ineffective in highly structured subordinate task situations.
In the former situation, followers welcome such behavior because it helps to structure their situation, further structuring behavior is seen as unnecessary and associated with overly close supervision. A meta-analysis (Indris, 1986) is largely supportive of the key propositions in the theory, although some have suggested that the theory is still being developed and testing is incomplete (Evans, 1996; Cherishes and Needier, 1996). The practical applications of this theory, although not yet developed, would be to the training of leaders rather than selection (trait studies) or placement (Fiddler’s model).
However, this training would go beyond the skills used in displaying consideration and initiating structure and would include skills in diagnosing the situation that one encounters and selecting the appropriate behavioral response to that diagnosis. Normative and Descriptive Models of Leadership and Decision Making Our own work (Broom, 2000; Broom & Ago, 1988; Broom & Yet, 1973) shares with path- goal theory a perspective on behavioral contingencies. However, our theory is much narrower in its focus. Specifically, it deals with the form in and degree to which the leader involves his or her subordinates in the decision-making process.
As such, it does not presume to be a theory that encompasses all or even most of what a leader does. The sharpness of our focus nonetheless allows a great degree of specificity in the predictions that are made. Liker (1961, 1967) has argued for a highly participative model of effective leadership argyle on the basis of the University of Michigan studies mentioned earlier. However, more recent reviews and meta-analyses suggest that effectiveness of participation is far from a universal truth (Locke & Cheerier, 1979; Miller & Mongo, 1986; Cheerier & Lean, 1986).
Such variability in results suggests a contingency theory in which the effectiveness of participation is dependent on specific situational variables. Our original work began with a normative or prescriptive model (Broom & Yet, 1973). Five decision processes were specified that ranged from highly autocratic through consultative to highly participative (I. E. , consensus). Seven situational variables were identified that could vary with the decision encountered (e. G. , decision importance, need for commitment, goal alignment, potential for conflict) and that would govern the most appropriate behavioral response.
Prescriptive decision rules were created that eliminated certain decision processes from the feasible set when those processes threatened either decision quality and/or decision implementation for a specific situation. If multiple processes choosing among them, perhaps using the opportunity costs (e. G. , time) or developmental opportunities for subordinates as additional criteria for choice. In its most common representation, the prescriptive model takes the form of a decision tree with branches that apply rules relevant to a specific decision situation.
Six studies summarized in Broom and Ago (1988) and other subsequent studies support the validity of the prescriptive model and its component rules. In an attempt to increase prescriptive validity, Broom and Ago (1988) introduced five additional situational factors (e. G. , severe time constraints) and increased the prescriptive specificity by using linear equations rather than decision rules. In two studies, researchers have examined the incremental improvements in he 1988 model (Brown & Finitude, 1993; Field, 1998).
Broom (2000) has made further changes in the specification of key variables and the method of depicting model prescriptions. In addition to conducting research on a normative model, Broom and Yet (1973) and Broom and Ago (1988) have sought to understand how situations affect leader behavior. They gave leaders a set of 30 written cases, each describing a situation in which a leader was confronted with a problem to solve or decision to make. Each subject was asked to choose from a set of five decision processes, varying in the form and amount of articulation provided by members of his or her team.
Thus the dependent variable was one of behavioral intent rather than actual behavior. Various problem sets have been used over time, but each manipulates relevant situational variables in a systematic manner that reflects a within-person, repeated-measures, experimental design. When administered to a sample of managers, a problem set produces a two- dimensional data matrix. Each row represented the responses from a single manager to each of the 30 circulatory 2007 American stances. Each column represented the responses elicited from different managers to a single situation.
In the analysis of these data, row variance was collapsed across columns, which produced something quite analogous to average style measures from the Ohio State University and University of Michigan studies. Broom and Yet (1973) and Broom and Ago (1988) found that people are different in their overall levels of participation. But when they looked at all the variance in the Row Column (Person 0 Situation) matrix, such preferred style differences only accounted for about 8-10% of the total variance. In the same matrix, situation, treated as a nominal variable, accounts for about 30% of the variance. As