The theory was developed by Robert House and has its roots in the expectancy theory of motivation. The theory is based on the premise that an employees perception of expectancies between his effort and performance is greatly affected by a leaders behavior. The leaders help group members in attaining rewards by clarifying the paths to goals and removing obstacles to performance. They do so by providing the information, support, and other resources which are required by employees to complete the task.
Houses theory advocates servant leadership. As per servant leadership theory, leadership is not viewed as a position of power. Rather, leaders act as coaches and facilitators to their subordinates. According to Houses path-goal theory, a leaders effectiveness depends on several employee and environmental contingent factors and certain leadership styles. All these are explained in the figure 1 below:
The four leadership styles are:
According to the theory, these leadership styles are not mutually excusive and leaders are capable of selecting more than one kind of a style suited for a particular situation.
The theory states that each of these styles will be effective in some situations but not in others. It further states that the relationship between a leaders style and effectiveness is dependent on the following variables:
The theory has been subjected to empirical testing in several studies and has received considerable research support. This theory consistently reminds the leaders that their main role as a leader is to assist the subordinates in defining their goals and then to assist them in accomplishing those goals in the most efficient and effective manner. This theory gives a guide map to the leaders about how to increase subordinates satisfaction and performance level.
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