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Path-Goal Theory

Summary of Path-Goal Theory. Abstract

Robert House 1971

The Path-Goal Theory of Robert House says that a leader can affect the performance, satisfaction, and motivation of a group by:

- Offering rewards for achieving performance goals,
- Clarifying paths towards these goals,
- Removing obstacles to performance.
However, whether leadership behavior can do so effectively also depends on situational factors.

According to House, there are four different types of leadership styles depending on the situation:

  1. Directive Leadership: The leader gives specific guidance of performance to subordinates.
  2. Supportive Leadership: The leader is friendly and shows concern for the subordinates.
  3. Participative Leadership: The leader consults with subordinates and considers their suggestions.
  4. Achievement-oriented Leadership: The leader sets high goals and expects subordinates to have high-level performance.

The Situational Factors of the Path-Goal Theory are:
I) Subordinates' Personality:
     A Locus of Control (A participative leader is suitable for subordinates with internal locus of control; A directive leader is suitable for subordinates with external locus of control).
     B Self-perceived ability (Subordinates who perceive themselves as having high ability do not like directive leadership).

II) Characteristics of the environment:
     - When working on a task that has a high structure, directive leadership is redundant and less effective.
     - When a highly formal authority system is in place, directive leadership can again reduce workers' satisfaction.
     - When subordinates are in a team environment that offers great social support, the supportive leadership style becomes less necessary.

👀TIP: On this website you can find much more about the Path-Goal Theory!

Compare with Path-Goal Theory:  Leadership Styles  |  4 Dimensions of Relational Work  |  Hierarchy of Needs  |  Result Oriented Management  |  Results-Based Leadership  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Herzberg Two Factor Theory  |  Competing Values Framework  |  Theory X Theory Y  |  Change Management  |  Seven Surprises  |  Seven Habits  |  SMART  |  PAEIEmotional Intelligence  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Framing  |  Cultural Intelligence

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