American Public Directing Enthusiastic Beginners Situational Leadership Paper For this week, read Chapter 5 (130-139) in the Dugan textbook. Read this art

American Public Directing Enthusiastic Beginners Situational Leadership Paper For this week, read Chapter 5 (130-139) in the Dugan textbook.

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Video – Types of Leadership Styles (link)

Situational Leadership II (SLII) is the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and practical method of effectively managing and developing people, time, and resources in the world. SLII provides leaders with a model and the tools for creating open communication and developing self-reliance in those they manage. It is designed to increase the frequency and quality of conversations about performance and development. As a result, competence is developed, commitment is gained, and talented individuals are retained. SLII is recognized as both a business language and a framework for employee development because it works across cultural, linguistic, and geographical barriers. The foundation lies in teaching leaders to diagnose the needs of an individual or a team and then use the appropriate leadership style to respond to the needs of the person and the situation.

Review the figure 5.2 in the Dugan text. There are four specific leader styles aligned on the chart. They are directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. These are leader styles. There are also the follower’s developmental levels described as D1 – D4. There is a direct relationship between the followers level of competence and the leader’s style. For each developmental level there is an appropriate style of leadership that should be adopted (i.e. a style that depends on the situation).

Select one of the four leadership styles. Choose a specific follower development level (D1 – D4) and give an example of how this leadership style and developmental level would work in real life. In other words, create a “situation” that needs to be led and explain this concept in your forum.

Instructions: Minimum 250 words, not including references and quotes which must be cited in APA format. texts, although often without substantive critique. Academic leadership texts, however,
frequently omit it entirely or position it as a footnote given its near total lack of empirical
support (Graeff, 1983, 1997; Thompson & Vecchio, 2009; Yukl, 2013). To complicate things,
the evolution of situational leadership reads like a bad episode of reality television—shifting
claims, altered premises, a split between the creators’ approaches to and uses of the concept,
and the equivalent of academic throwdowns challenging the legitimacy of the concept. So,
why include it in this text? Situational leadership persists as a popular tool for teaching and
explaining leadership across disciplines. Indeed, the terminology of situational leadership
seems to have slipped into the language of how leadership is informally described even when
it is not tied explicitly to the theory itself. Despite being deeply flawed, situational leadership
has a definitive influence on the informal theories people hold.
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
The premise of situational leadership is that there is no single “best” way to lead and that to
accomplish goals leaders must adapt their behaviors to meet followers’ needs under varying
contextual conditions (Blanchard, Zigarmi, & Nelson, 1993; Blanchard, Zigarmi, & Zigarmi,
2013; Hersey & Blanchard, 1969; Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 2013). Leaders’ behaviors
fall along two continua: supportive and directive. If these sound familiar, they should. They
mirror the task and relational metacategories advanced by style leadership, along with the
ways in which the continua interact as outlined by the Leadership Grid. What situational
leadership adds is consideration of how the context shapes followers’ needs, which are framed
as a function of their development (i.e., varying levels of commitment and competence).
Follower development, in turn, dictates the leader style that should be employed to maximize
leadership outcomes.
Although situational leadership represents a fairly straightforward approach, explaining the
specifics can be tricky because its authors have generated multiple versions—and when I say
multiple versions I mean lots and lots of versions. For the sake of space and clarity, we will
use Situational Leadership II (Blanchard et al., 2013), but let me walk through a few important
elements of how we even get to this version.
Whose Theory Is It Anyway?
Hersey and Blanchard (1969) codeveloped the original situational leadership theory
along with early revisions. However, the two parted intellectual paths in the late 1970s …
sort of. They continued to publish a management text together that features situational
leadership (Hersey et al., 2013) but also developed separate consulting firms and
independent revisions of the concept. Hersey’s work is now referred to as the situational
leadership model, while Blanchard and colleagues’ is called Situational Leadership II.
Confused yet?
What’s This Based On?
Situational leadership’s major contributions were theoretically justified using Korman’s
(1966) proposition that there may be a curvilinear relationship between task and relational
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
behaviors and leader effectiveness. In other words, simply increasing the frequencies of
both task and relational behaviors may not result in more effective leadership. Said another
way, the Sound/Team leadership style advocated for in the Leadership Grid may in fact not
always be the one best way to lead. Hersey and Blanchard (1969) suggested this nonlinear
relationship between task and relational behaviors and leader effectiveness occurred
because of situational influences associated with followers’ needs. However, scholars
challenged the use of Korman’s proposition as a theoretical justification, and it was
removed from later explanations (Graeff, 1983, 1997) and replaced with a justification
based on “conversations with our colleagues at Blanchard Training and Development, Inc.,
our own experience, and the ideas managers have shared with us” (Blanchard, Zigarmi, &
Zigarmi, 1985, p. 7). Hmmm … that sounds legit!
This Is a Theory … I Mean a Model?
Situational leadership was originally labeled a theory. The creators later dropped the word
theory, eventually replacing it with the term model. Graeff (1997) points out with
absolutely no hint of sarcasm that this represented “a fourstep evolution of the theoretical
arguments or foundations for Situational Leadership” (p. 163) from (1) relatively precise
but problematic to (2) theoretically ambiguous to (3) atheoretical and based on informal
theories to (4) the realization that it is in actuality … a model. Are you pizzled yet?
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Does Terminology Even Matter Anyway?
Shifting labels across versions of situational leadership lack detailed explanations, making
it difficult to track content and arguments. Of primary concern is the description of
followers’ needs, which reflect one of the major contributions the theory purportedly
offers. Initial conceptualizations referred to this as follower “maturity” and measured it on
a unidirectional continuum from low to high. Maturity was later segmented into two
bidirectional continua labeled job maturity (i.e., ability) and psychological maturity (i.e.,
willingness). These were later changed with the labels “development” replacing maturity
and “competence” and “commitment” replacing job maturity and psychological maturity.
Along with the changes in labels, the actual continua changed in recent versions and are no
longer described as linear. Oh, and almost all of the other elements of the model were
renamed. Would you be surprised at this point if I shared that all of this did little to resolve
critiques regarding the lack of clarity in the theory… I mean model?
Applying the Concept
Blanchard et al. (2013) asserted that three learnable skills are involved in enacting situational
leadership. These include setting clear goals, diagnosing followers’ relative development
related to assigned goals, and matching leader styles to followers’ developmental levels.
Figure 5.2 provides a visual representation of the model and its component parts.
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
FIGURE 5.2 Situational leadership II
Leadership and the One Minute Manager, Updated Edition by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi, Drea Zigarmi. Copyright
© 1985, 2013 by Blanchard Management Corporation. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Assessing followers’ development lies at the heart of situational leadership. Blanchard et al.
(1993) described development as “the extent to which a person has mastered the skills
necessary for the task at hand and has developed a positive attitude toward the task” (p. 27).
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
This is assessed based on a follower’s varying levels of competence and commitment.
Competence refers to the degree to which a follower has the requisite knowledge and skills
needed to accomplish a goal. Commitment reflects both the confidence individuals have that
they can complete the task effectively without significant oversight and their degree of interest
and enthusiasm for the task. When these are triangulated, a fourpoint continuum ranging from
developing to developed (congrats … you’ve finally made it, my friend!) emerges (see Figure
The Enthusiastic Beginner (D1): Reflects low competence levels, but high commitment;
motivation is likely high because the scope of learning necessary for the task is still
The Disillusioned Learner (D2): Reflects low to some competence and low commitment;
motivation may have dropped and frustration set in regarding the difficulty of the task, but
knowledge and skills are beginning to accrue.
The Capable But Cautious Contributor (D3): Reflects moderate to high competence, but
variable commitment levels; demonstrated knowledge and skills to accomplish the task, but
a lack of confidence can cause doubt; alternatively, the follower may become bored, also
lowering motivation.
The SelfReliant Achiever (D4): Possesses the requisite knowledge and skills along with
selfconfidence and enthusiasm for the task.
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Enacting situational leadership involves identifying the leader style that best matches the
developmental level of a follower on a given task. Leader styles reflect “the way you work
with someone… It’s how you behave, over time, when you’re trying to influence the
performance of others, as perceived by them” (Blanchard et al., 2013, p. 12). Four specific
leader styles align with followers’ development levels. These are visible along the
performance curve in Figure 5.2:
Directing (S1): Highly directive behavior coupled with lower levels of supportive
behaviors; provision of clear instructions about what needs to be done and how to do it;
highly structured with regular feedback and monitoring of progress.
Coaching (S2): Both highly directive and supportive; clear structure and direction along
with a strong investment in the individual; begins to engage the follower as an active
contributor to the process as well as in decision making.
Supporting (S3): Lower levels of directive behaviors coupled with highly supportive
behaviors; shared decision making; role becomes that of facilitator to support followers,
using their knowledge and skills to accomplish goals.
Delegating (S4): Lower levels of both directive and supportive behaviors; locus of
control shifts to the follower for decision making and task direction; focus on monitoring
and offering support and growth opportunities.
The leader’s style should progress over time from directing through coaching and supporting to
delegating as much as possible, and this list reflects that order. This progression is based on
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
the belief that followers can and will increase their competence and commitment when
properly supported, which in turn allows the leader to evolve styles.
Notable changes between early versions of situational leadership and more recent incarnations
influence how it is enacted. First, Blanchard et al. (2013) explicitly state the importance of
treating followers as individuals rather than a homogenous collective. This means that the
specification of a follower’s development happens through a dyadic relationship between
individual leader and individual follower. Second, they are clear that a follower’s
development level is associated with a particular task and can vary between tasks. As such, a
directing style might be necessary for one area of responsibility but a supporting style could be
most effective with the same person in another area of responsibility. Finally, they stress that
enacting “situational leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with
people… You look at people more as partners. You don’t see them as subordinates” (pp. 101–
102). This positions diagnosing development as a mutual process rather than the simple
labeling of followers based on perceptions. Again, these represent shifts from the original
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
How Research Evolves the Concept
Although research has been conducted on situational leadership, few studies appear in
academic journals limiting the amount of credible insights regarding the model. Graeff (1983,
1997) offered perhaps the most biting critiques, arguing “the major problem confronting all of
the versions is the continued lack of a sound theoretical foundation of the hypothesized
relationships” (Graeff, 1997, p. 164). The few empirical studies of situational leadership that
do exist largely call into question major components of the model. For example, Thompson and
Vecchio (2009) found that matching followers who have high competence and high commitment
with a leader style comprised of low directive and low supportive behaviors simply does not
work. They go on to suggest that the only elements that appear accurate in the model are pairing
new followers with leader styles that are higher in task behaviors and more experienced
followers with styles that are more supportive, allowing for greater autonomy.
In the case of situational leadership, empirical research actually calls into question the
legitimacy of the model rather than extending our understanding of it. Thompson and Vecchio
(2009) argued that “without compelling empirical evidence of the validity of SLT’s principles,
it is difficult to endorse the use of the model in leadership training programs” (p. 845). Note
here that they are referring to a lack of compelling evidence to support the original version, the
contemporary version, and even the base principles informing the theory. They go on to assert
that “those who instruct others within leadership training programs should, as a matter of
professional honesty, advise their trainees that SLT still lacks a strong empirical grounding,
and that its alluring character should not substitute for the absence of empirical substantiation”
(p. 846).
Situational leadership advances the importance of attending to task and relational meta
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
categories when enacting leadership, along with asserting that there is no one “right” way to
lead. However, serious concerns arise regarding its continued promulgation given major faults
in its theoretical grounding as well as empirical evidence that calls into question its core
premises. This begs the question of why it continues to have influence. I have to believe that
this has to do, at least in part, with its seductive and alluring practicality. Table 5.4 identifies a
number of strengths and weaknesses associated with situational leadership.
TABLE 5.4 Strengths and weaknesses of situational leadership theory
Advocates that there is no single “right” or
universal way to lead
Major concerns regarding theoretical
foundations and numerous alterations
Offers prescriptive advice that is both
intuitive and appealing in its practicality
Empirical evidence does not substantiate
and in some cases refutes assumptions
Takes into account the influence of
contextual factors such as follower
In no way addresses a leader’s own
development in the leadership process
Making Connections
If empirical evidence disproves the accuracy of situational leadership, why is it so
often incorporated into people’s understandings of leadership? How might this reflect
dominant stocks of knowledge, ideology/hegemony, and social location?
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
What stands out as useful about situational leadership? What do you think needs to be
addressed in the deconstruction and reconstruction processes?
Pathgoal leadership marks a third inflection point in the cluster of theories emphasizing
production and effectiveness. It builds on the affirmation that there is no one “right” way to
lead while directing greater attention to the complexity of influences that emerge from
considering how leaders, subordinates, and situational factors interact to shape leadership
outcomes. It does this by more closely examining the role of subordinate motivation.
Interestingly, pathgoal leadership is often framed as a theory that has reached its apogee in
terms of utility. It holds a unique position in the literature as simultaneously appreciated for its
historical importance and its limitations. Theory is rarely allowed to expire or transition to
new forms even when empirical research fails to support its propositions. This positions
pathgoal theory as an important source for learning not just about incremental advances in
understanding leader behaviors but also about the approach to and treatment of theory by a
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
House (1971) formalized pathgoal theory based on early conceptual work by Georgopolous,
Mahoney, and Jones (1957) and Evans (1968, 1970), with two revisions of the theory
occurring based on emerging empirical evidence and shifting trends in the leadership literature
(House, 1996; House & Mitchell, 1974). The central proposition of pathgoal theory is that
leaders must “engage in behaviors that complement subordinates’ environments and abilities in
a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction
and… performance” (House, 1996, p. 323). How leaders do this is what makes the theory
unique as it infuses considerations from expectancy theory, which addresses the role of
motivation in decision making (Vroom, 1964). Expectancy theories suggest individuals are
motivated based on the belief that a particular behavior will result in a specific outcome and
the degree to which that outcome is attractive.
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Thus, effective leaders enact behaviors that create pathways linking subordinate effort to goal
attainment and goal attainment to attractive extrinsic rewards (see Figure 5.3). In essence,
leader behaviors serve as points of intervention to increase motivation and the subsequent
quality of effort by “increasing personal payoffs to subordinates for workgoal attainment,
and making the paths to these payoffs easier to travel by clarifying it, reducing roadblocks
and pitfalls, and increasing the opportunities for personal satisfaction en route” (House, 1971,
p. 324).
FIGURE 5.3 Motivational functions of leader behaviors
Applying the Concept
House (1996) was initially clear that pathgoal theory should be applied only to dyadic
supervisory relationships in which one actor holds a formal authority role and the other is a
Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory. Retrieved from
Created from apus on 2017-06-22 08:36:25.
subordinate. It should not be applied to a leader’s influence over entire teams or organizations.
Nor is it designed for use in informal leadership relationships, collective leadership
processes, or leadership focused on change. This creates narrow boundaries for the theory,
which in many ways is refreshing when compared with how frequently theories are
overextended and positioned as providing answers to any and all leadership challenges. Here
we have a theory specifically designed for use in supervisory relationships. Figure 5.4 offers
an adapted visual of the theory.
Copyright © 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
FIGURE 5.4 Adapted representation of pathgoal theory of leadership
Pathgoal theory extends beyond the two traditional metacategories of task and relational
behaviors to also include participative and achievementoriented behaviors. Each of these
behaviors plays a role in shaping subordinate motivation and is described in the section that
Directive: Provides structure to the work experience so expectations and pathways to work
goal attainment are clear.
Supportive: Displays concern for the needs of a subordinate and contributes to a
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