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The contingency theory describes aspects of leadership that apply to some situations but may not apply to other situations. This theory tries to show how certain aspects of leadership can change the leaders influence and therefore their effectiveness (Yukl, 2013). This theory began in strategic management back in the 1960’s, it remained popular through the 1960’s to the 1980’s (Collinson, Rugman, 2011 & Lawrence, Lorsch, 1967). There are task motivated leaders which perform best when the either have high or low control over situations, in contrast, relationship motivators perform best under moderate control (Fiedler 1978). This lends to the argument that a leader’s effectiveness is contingent on where this leadership takes place.
The LPC contingency model describes a leader trait called the least preferred coworker score, this score has changed many times over the years and what exactly the score means remains in question. This question of that the scores actually mean is part of the reason that the model has received criticism. Fiedler’s (1978) interpreted that LPC scores will show the leader’s motive hierarch, a leader that exhibits a high LPC score is motivated to have strong interpersonal relationships with their staff. In contrast, a leader with a low LPC is motivated by achievement of task and tends to emphasize task oriented behavior when problems arise.
There is still a place in the workforce today, when interviewing prospective employees, the interview questions should be geared toward the employee’s ability to fit into the organization. Due to the possibility of discrimination, testing for one’s ability to do a job become less used, instead in the contingency style of organization the interview would evaluate the interviewees skill or occupational aptitude (Jablin, 1975). While this model still has a place today, it may not be able to stand on its own, it may be better suited to be used alongside some of the new leadership trends being seen today.
KARIM, S., CARROLL, T. N., & LONG, C. P. (2016). Delaying Change: Examining How Industry and Managerial Turbulence Impact Structural Realignment. Academy of Management Journal, 59(3), 791–817. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.5465/…
Yukl, G. (2013). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall