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I have attached the one references but the other reference you should have access. no plagiarize, spell check, and check your grammar. Please only use the attached references below. Only 200 wordThe discussion post is belowThe contingency theory of leadership examines, “a leader’s effectiveness is contingent upon with how his or her leadership style matches to the situation.” The contingency theory is still applicable today in the success of a leader’s effectiveness. Trait theory plays a vital part in the contingency model, task structure, and role interdependence are two closely associated traits that determine the effectiveness of a leader. In the contingency, approach leaders are effective when they make clear to employees the task employees are to perform. Job duties, job descriptions, and policies and procedures are also made clear. In today’s 21st century of leadership, task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership is a vital behavioral approach that is successful in the contingency model approach. Yukl (2013), states, “The leadership attributes used as independent variables were usually described in terms of broad meta-categories (e.g., task and relations behavior). (p.162). It is not as important how the leader manages a situation but instead, how the leader’s style of managing is aligned with the culture of the organization. The dependent variable of matching a leader’s style to the right situation can be witnessed in the hiring of NFL coaches who team owners look to match coaches with players that are young as opposed to veteran players.If yes, when is it appropriate?Fiedler’s contingency model has is appropriate when a leader’s behaviors are examined prior to coming into a culture and a determination is made whether that leader is fit for the culture. In the NFL, according to Zaccaro et al. (2001), “The new economy pleads for superior leadership talent and places it under a spotlight. Global competition, the capital markets, and the news media make a senior executive’s performance a high-profile affair.” (p. 306). Leaders are expected to produce results, and in producing results, leaders must engage employees to buy into their vision and think strategically and implement strategic task-oriented results. It does not bode well for any organization to recruit a leader and make a selection without having known of its effectiveness in transforming organizational cultures.Referencesda Cruz, M. R. P., Nunes, A. J. S., & Pinheiro, P. G. (2011). Fiedler’s Contingency Theory: Practical Application of the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) Scale. IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, 10(4), 7–26. Retrieved from….Yukl, G. (2013). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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Fiedler’s Contingency Theory:
Practical Application of the Least Preferred
Coworker (LPC) Scale
Maria Rosa Pires da Cruz*, António João Santos Nunes**
and Paulo Gonçalves Pinheiro***
The present study aims at some considerations about leadership from the contingency
perspective, focuses on the theory of Fiedler, whose basic premise is that group
performance is contingent depending on the interaction of leadership styles and situations
favorable to the leader. Leadership is an issue that has aroused much interest among
people and is probably one of mankind’s most ancient concerns. Fiedler uses the
distinction between task-oriented leadership style and relationship-oriented leadership
style, relating these leadership styles with different types of situation, in order to determine
the contingencies that make either style effective. Based on Fiedler’s theory, a case study
was applied in Cape Verde at the University of Beira Interior (CABOUBI) (association
of African students from Cape Verde) to confirm the applicability of the measures
advocated by the theory (least preferred coworker).
Leadership investigation and practices have been paid renewed attention in the recent
years due to the unprecedented transformations experienced by organizations towards
the end of the last millennium (Tirmizi, 2002). Jago (1982) stated that despite various
investigations on this subject, up to then there was no clear and unequivocal understanding
of what distinguished a leader from a non-leader, and perhaps even more importantly,
what distinguished an efficient leader from an inefficient leader.
Leadership is a topic that has aroused much interest among people, and is probably one
of mankind’s most ancient concerns (Tirmizi, 2002). Leadership exists predominantly inside
people and organizations (Chang and Lee, 2007). Put simplistically, leadership can be said
to be the ability to affect others (Bethel, 1990). Bohn and Grafton (2002) stated that leadership
means the path to create a clear vision of tasks, giving subordinates self-confidence created
Researcher, Department of Management and Economics, University of Beira Interior, NECE – Nucleus of
Business Science Studies, Covilhã, Portugal. E-mail: [email protected]
** Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Economics, University of Beira Interior,
NECE – Nucleus of Business Science Studies, Covilhã, Portugal; and is the corresponding author.
E-mail: [email protected]
*** Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Economics, University of Beira Interior,
NECE – Nucleus of Business Science Studies, Covilhã, Portugal. E-mail: [email protected]
Theory: Practical Application of the Least Preferred
© 2011 IUP.
All Rights Reserved.
Coworker (LPC) Scale
through permanent coordination and communication. It has long been debated if leaders are
born with that characteristic or if anyone can be trained to become a leader (Armandi
et al., 2003). Bass and Avolio (1990) concluded that leadership type and level of success
depend on the agreement between cultural values and the leadership process.
Wu (2009) identified four periods in the development of leadership theory—the theory
of traits/characteristics; the theory of behavior; contingency theory; and new approaches
to leadership. For Armandi et al. (2003), the first leadership theories contain theories
focused on how to be an efficient leader, and not how to make leadership efficient.
Traditional leadership theories see the relationship between leaders and followers as active
and passive (Wu, 2009), whereas in the new theories leadership is a continuous, adjusted
process where the leader’s behavior changes according to the feedback from followers.
Contingency theories of leadership analyze how situational factors alter the
effectiveness of behavior and the leadership style of a particular leader. The assumption
is that neither leaders’ characteristics nor behavior nor styles form leaders automatically.
The key is the appropriateness of leadership styles to the situations faced by leaders.
Among the various contingency theories, the most important, according to Tirmizi (2002),
are Fiedler’s contingency theory of 1964 and 1967, the “paths goal theory” (Evans in 1970;
House in 1971; House and Mitchell in 1974) and the leader participation model (Vroom
and Yetton in 1974). In this study, attention falls exclusively on Fiedler’s contingency
theory. The basic premise of contingency theory for this investigator is that group
performance is contingent, in that it depends on the interaction of leadership styles and
situations that are favorable to the leader (Mitchell et al., 1970).
The objective of this study is to present some considerations about leadership from
the contingency perspective, and more precisely, analyze Fiedler’s contingency theory.
The intention is also to elaborate a case study applied to the Cape Verde at the University
of Beira Interior (CABOUBI) association, so as to check the applicability of one of the
measures proposed by this theory—Least Preferred Coworker (LPC). To attain these
goals, the next section presents the theoretical foundations of the concept and general
approach to leadership and leadership from the contingency perspective. In leadership
from the contingency perspective, the most important aspects of Fiedler’s contingency
theory will be dealt with, such as the operationalization of the model’s situational variables
and the concept of Leader Match. Next, the paper presents some strengths and criticisms
of Fiedler’s model, and then analyzes a practical case of applying the LPC scale, and
finally ends with a conclusion.
Theoretical Foundations
Concept and General Approach to Leadership
Any organization requires management and management requires a certain level of
leadership skill (Wu, 2009). An organization’s success depends on its skill in taking
The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. X, No. 4, 2011
advantage of employees’ competences and knowledge (Armandi et al., 2003). To become
competitive, companies must stimulate their employees and encourage their initiative.
This proactive climate needs more than a traditional manager but rather a leader who
can help to develop employees, installing a sense of effort and commitment. Leadership
is frequently seen as a critical factor for the success or failure of institutions (Bass and
Avolio, 1990). A leader can be a manager but a manager is not necessarily a leader
(Armandi et al., 2003). Although some people use these terms indeterminately, they refer
to different functions. A manager is indicated by the organization and has formal authority
to direct others’ activities to reach the organization’s objectives, while the leader is the
one who influences others in as much as they voluntarily carry out what the leader asks
of them. For Zaleznik (1977), managers and leaders are very different people with regard
to their motivation, their personal background and their way of thinking and acting. This
question has generated some controversy, for example, House and Aditya (1997) alleged
that it is possible for managers to be leaders and for leaders to be managers. According
to Rego and Cunha (2007), leadership and management can be considered as distinct
processes or functions.
Leadership is a universal phenomenon, in that it is manifest in one form or another
in different organizations and contexts (Tirmizi, 2002). According to Dorfman (1996),
leaders have existed in all cultures throughout history. There are as many definitions of
leadership as there are people who have tried to define this concept (Jago, 1982).
According to this investigator, leadership is a process and a characteristic. The leadership
process comes from the use of a non-coercive influence to direct and coordinate the
activities of the members of an organized group with a view to fulfilling group objectives.
As a characteristic, leadership is a set of qualities attributed to those who use a certain
influence successfully. Leadership does not involve the use of force, coercion or
dominance and does not necessarily imply the use of certain titles such as manager,
supervisor or boss. Betel (1990) considered leadership as the ability to affect others.
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to attain
common goals (Northouse, 1997; and Armandi et al., 2003). Fiedler (1965) stated that
leadership is a personal relationship where one individual directs, coordinates and
supervises others in performing mutual tasks.
Heilbrun (1994) and Tirmizi (2002) divide leadership theories in three stages—
(i) definition of the leader; (ii) research into the leader’s behavior; and (iii) focus on the
interaction between the leader and followers. However, Wu (2009) identified four periods
or stages of the development of leadership theories in the last 100 years, illustrated in
Figure 1—(i) the period of ‘traits/characteristics’ from the end of the 1800s to the middle
of the 1940s, when the individual characteristics of efficient leaders were studied; (ii) the
period of behavior, from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s, when investigators studied the
influence of leaders’ style and behavior on the effectiveness of leadership in order to obtain
bases for training leaders; (iii) the contingency period, from the early 1960s to the present,
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory: Practical Application of the Least Preferred
Coworker (LPC) Scale
when investigators formulate theories that pay attention to the behavior and environment
of leaders and followers and the environmental conditions suitable for various leadership
styles; and (iv) new approaches to leadership, from the early 1980s to the present, when
new theories are proposed to classify leadership in transformational, transactional and
laissez-faire styles.
Figure 1: Development of Leadership Theories
Early 1980s – The present
New approaches to leadership
Early 1960s – The present
Contingency period
Mid-1940s – Early 1970s
Behavior period
Late 1800s – Mid-1940s
Period of traits/characteristics
Source: Adapted from Mitchell et al. (1970, p. 254)
Theories of Traits/Characteristics
At the time when this theory was in force, investigations focused on identifying traits that
differentiated a leader from a non-leader (Armandi et al., 2003). The aim was to identify
a set of traits that would help in choosing the right person for posts requiring efficient
leadership. According to Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991), none of the six characteristics
identified as being associated with leaders (drivers with a desire to lead, honesty and
integrity, confidence, intelligence and relevant knowledge about the work) distinguishes
consistently a leader from a non-leader. The main reason for the failure of the trait/
characteristic theory is that it does not consider interaction between leaders and
subordinates, or situational conditions (Armandi et al., 2003).
Behavior Theory
The intention of behavior theory was to identify the determinants of leadership to be able
to train people to be leaders (Armandi et al., 2003; and Wu, 2009). Some approaches
to leader behavior focused on identifying the best leadership styles. This theory was
developed by several investigators at the University of Ohio (Fleishman, 1953) and by
the University of Michigan (Bowers and Shashore, 1966). This theory failed when it
became clear that appropriate leadership styles are moderated by situational restrictions
(Armandi et al., 2003). This is why the contingency and transformational theories dominate
the current thought on leadership (DuBrin, 1998).
The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. X, No. 4, 2011
Contingency Theory
The first comprehensive model of contingency theory proposed that the efficiency of group
performance depends on the combination of the leader’s style in interacting with followers
and the degree of control and influence the leader has over circumstances (Armandi
et al., 2003). Constructing based on the results of the behavior approach, Fiedler (1964
and 1967), quoted by Northouse (1997), suggests that leadership styles are oriented
towards both relationships and tasks. Although this model had some success, it has
notable weaknesses (Armandi et al., 2003) which will be dealt with in the next section.
New Approaches to Leadership
The new approaches include transformational, transactional and laissez-faire theories
(Burns, 1978; Bass, 1997; Chang and Lee, 2007; and Wu, 2009). New theories state
that leaders gain followers’ trust and respect, and so leadership is a kind of adjusted
continuous process whereby the leader’s behavior changes according to the feedback
from followers (Armandi et al., 2003).
Leadership from the Contingency Perspective
In the 1960s and 1970s, theorists, researchers and practitioners of leadership debated
a controversy commonly referred to as ‘situational’ versus ‘one best style’ (Blake and
Mouton, 1982). The situational or contingent approach interprets leadership theory and
research “without the existence of any one best style, the effectiveness of leadership
depending on the situation”. In direct contradiction, the theorists of one best style state
“there is one best style”. This implies applying principles of leadership like those
suggested in behavior sciences.
As mentioned earlier, contingency theories of leadership analyze how situational
factors alter the effectiveness of a particular leader’s behavior and leadership style (Tirmizi,
2002). The assumption is that neither leaders’ characteristics nor behavior nor styles
automatically form leaders. The key is matching leadership styles to the situations faced
by leaders. From the various contingency theories, according to Tirmizi (2002), the most
important are Fiedler’s contingency theory (1964 and 1967), paths goal theory (Evans,
1970; House, 1971; and House and Mitchell, 1974) and the leader participation model
(Vroom and Yetton, 1973). However, this investigation will only analyze Fiedler’s theory.
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory
The basic premise of Fiedler’s contingency theory is that group performance is
contingent in that it depends on the interaction of leadership styles and situations
favorable to the leader (Mitchell et al., 1970). Fiedler uses the distinction between
leadership style oriented towards tasks and that oriented towards relationships, and
proposes to relate these leadership styles to different types of situation with a view
in determining what contingencies make one or another style effective (Jesuíno, 2005).
Orientation towards the task or orientation towards the relationship represents, above
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory: Practical Application of the Least Preferred
Coworker (LPC) Scale
all, leaders’ motivational priorities and one is not better than the other. Leaders motivated
towards tasks are primarily concerned with reaching objectives, while leaders motivated
towards relationships are concerned with developing close interpersonal relationships
(Northouse, 1997). According to Fiedler, an individual leadership style depends on the
leader’s personality, which is fixed (Bedeian and Gleuck, 1983), and in this sense, the
right style should be matched to the right situation (Armandi et al., 2003). Fiedler’s
theory consists basically of relating the leader’s characteristics, determined from how
he classifies the least preferred coworker regarding group effectiveness, determined from
an objective criterion (Jesuíno, 2005). In synthesis, the theory explains group
performance as the result of two factors interacting—(i) leadership styles; and
(ii) situational variables.
Leadership Styles
To classify leadership styles, Fiedler (1965) developed a measure called the Least
Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale. This measure is represented in questionnaire format,
where respondents were asked to describe the colleague they have least preferred working
with, considering a list of 16 bipolar adjectives on a scale from 1 to 8, for example
(unfriendly – friendly, uncooperative – cooperative; introvert – extrovert). The answers on
this scale are totalled and the averages calculated, which represents the LPC (Mitchell
et al., 1970).
If the LPC is high, i.e., if the LPC is described in relatively positive terms, according
to Fiedler, this means the style is oriented towards human relationships (Leister et al.,
1977), that is to say, these leaders’ primary motivation is to have a closer relationship
with the group. On the other hand, if the LPC is low, i.e., the collaborator is described
in relatively negative terms, the style is task-oriented. Fiedler’s logic is that individuals
who evaluate the LPC in relatively positive terms on the LPC scale obtain satisfaction
from the interpersonal relationship, whereas those who evaluate the LPC in relatively
unfavorable terms take satisfaction through task performance (Gray and Starke, 1988).
This measure has been the subject of various investigations, both to validate it and
contest it. According to Jesuíno (2005) and Armandi et al. (2003), before the LPC scale,
Fiedler applied the Assumed Similarity of Opposites (ASO) scale, which consisted of
two scales—the Most Preferred Coworker (MPC) scale and the LPC scale. Respondents
described first the collaborator with whom they found it easiest to work and then the one
they had most difficulty to work with so far. The ASO score was calculated as follows—
first by obtaining the square of the difference between the MPC and LPC for each item,
and then adding the total of squares and extracting their square root. However, as the
ASO scale and the LPC score were highly correlated, Fiedler (1965) came to adopt
exclusively the LPC scale (Jesuíno, 2005).
Jesuíno (2005) tried to identify the meaning of this scale, i.e., what the LPC scale
really measures. According to this investigator, the answer to this question is not simple,
The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. X, No. 4, 2011
with multiple studies attempting to clarify it. Fiedler and his collaborators proposed
successively four different interpretations for the LPC scale (Jesuíno, 2005):
1. In 1957-1958, the LPC was considered an indicator of psychological distance:
individuals with a low LPC were considered more distant than those with a high
LPC. The measure used then was ASO;
2. In 1964-1967, Fiedler proposed that the LPC scale measures two different
motives or needs. Individuals with a high LPC would have a strong need to
maintain good interpersonal relationships, while those with a low LPC would
have a greater need to obtain success in carrying out tasks;
3. From 1969 to 1971, the LPC was presented in terms of cognitive complexity,
whereby individuals with a high LPC would be cognitively more complex than
those with a low LPC score.
4. In 1972, Fiedler interpreted the scale in terms of motivational hierarchy. The
concept of secondary motives was added to interpretation of the motives and
needs scale. That is, in this interpretation, the primary objective of individuals
with a high LPC is interpersonal success, and the secondary one is task
success. On the contrary, the primary objective of individuals with a low LPC
is task success and the secondary one, interpersonal success.
Another aspect of the LPC scale that has warranted attention by investigators is the
classification of the scores obtained, i.e., what is the point of separation for considering
the LPC high or low? According to Jesuíno (2005), in a personal communication, Fiedler
(1981) set the following thresholds—73 or above (high LPC); 64-72 (intermediate LPC);
63 or under (low LPC). That is to say, from that date, the existence of an intermediate
LPC was assumed, and according to Northouse (1997), leaders falling into this category
are socio-independent …
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