Management of transactional and transformational theories of leadership

Kuhnert and Lewis developed transactional and transformational theories of leadership in 1987. They believed that both demanded different skills. Transactional theories include the allocation of work, making routine decisions along with monitoring performance and interacting with other functions within the organisation. On the other hand, transformational theories are about having the skills and personal qualities to be able to recognise the need for change and being able to identify appropriate courses of action.The first leadership theory I will study here will be House and Mitchell’s Path Goal Leadership Theory. The Path Goal theory essentially represents an application of expectancy theory of motivation. The theory believes that the leaders are a very important source of motivation provided their behaviour can enhance desirability of good performance in the eyes of their subordinates.

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The nature of the Path Goal Theory is such that it contains four main areas. These areas include the behaviour of their leaders and the outcomes they produce along with contingency factors based on the subordinates and the environment. If we where to analyse the environmental contingency factors we would see that they in turn branch into a further three areas. These are the task structure, a formal authority system and finally a work group. The task structure states out what task is to be performed and how it is to be structured and the formal authority system details the interpersonal roles such as liasing with leaders and figureheads, informational roles such as monitoring subordinates or being a spokesperson.

Finally the formal authority system spots out the decisional roles such as those that an entrepreneur would carry out or possibly a negotiator. After environmental issues we then would move on to subordinate contingency factors. These are based upon the core attributes of any employee and are control, experience and ability. They will feel that if a subordinate were lacking in great detail in any of these factors they will not be up to what is best for their business and possible alternatives would need to be sought out.

Together with this, House developed four styles of leader behaviour. House believed that a leader could be either directive, supportive, participative or achievement orientated in their behaviour to managing the organisation. If he was to be directive in his approach, House believed that the leader would be expected to provide precise instruction on what is required and how it is to be achieved, whereas a more supportive approach would be to would be to adopt a friendly and more concerning approach to all of their subordinates.

On the other hand the leader could be of a participative nature where they would seek opinions and suggestions from the subordinates in a delegation style approach before decisions would be finalised. Equally it is possible for the manager or leader to be more achievement orientated where they would set out the primary aim of setting tasks and goals that would be very challenging for the subordinates concerned that could see them under a lot more pressure than they where previously under.

The path-goal contingency leadership theory holds promise for improving our understanding of how a channel leader’s behaviour affects other channel members. In a recent article by Barnett and Arnold it provides a justification of path-goal theory’s relevance to the marketing channel, and describe an application of the theory within a channels context. The purpose of this study is to report experimental results of an exploratory investigation of path-goal theory in a marketing channels environment. This investigation focuses on the examination of concepts in path-goal theory, and on evaluation of the appropriateness of the theory for prediction of channel member behaviour.

Another very important leadership theory was introduced in 1973 and was named by Vroom and Yetton. This was later expanded in 1988 by Vroom and Yago to attempt to identify styles of leadership appropriate to particular situations. It assumes that leaders can vary their style of behaviour and that only some aspects of the situation area actually relevant. The model postulates that it is the degree of subordinate involvement in the decision making process that is the major variable in leader behaviour.

Within Vroom ; Yetton’ Situational Theory there are many factors that are very important. Firstly, depending on the situation of problem, solving or decision making leaders can or will be able adapt the form of leadership from an autocratic, via a consultative to a participative form of leadership. Hereby it is possible to identify and evaluate the consequences of the use of different forms of leadership, and the use of a specific form can be the consequence of a conscious choice. The basis for the conscious choice is two decisional sets of rules – one that has to ensure the quality of the decision and one that ensures the implementation or acceptance. Secondly there is the choice of leadership form also depends on priority of the time aspect (time – efficiency) vs. the development aspect (time – investment).

However there is a potential difficulty for leaders in being inconsistent in their style. If a leader was to somehow change their style then conflicts, confusion or lower morale may occur which would no doubt result in a decrease in productivity for the organization concerned. What is important however is that the outcomes are of almost paramount importance. These generally result in total satisfaction of the job, good performance from all, everyone working towards the one goal and finally good motivation levels showing a willingness to work and putting the organization first.

Overall we realize that there is many leadership styles and theories that many people have interpreted in there own ways and what they believe will happen. What is important for us to notice is that Vroom’s model is focused primarily for decision-making whereas House’s Path Goal Theory is an application of expectancy theory for motivation. One extra key difference is that Vroom model is based on an analysis of how a leaders decision affects its quality and acceptance by subordinates where House links to the subordinates by the leaders behavior. To be successful House has to get leaders to clarify and help subordinates all the way.