Good Example Of Essay On Fiedler's Contingency Theory

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Leadership, Style, Situation, Development, Leader, Theory, Management, Nursing

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/09/27

What is Fiedler's Contingency Theory? How did it develop? What are its applications? What are its pros and cons?

The contingency theory of leadership effectiveness was proposed by Fred Fiedler. This theory assumes that the current situation is dependent on the style of leadership rather than the leadership style displayed on the basis of individual factors or characteristics. Fiedler further recognized effective leadership style to depend upon leader-member relations, the structure of the task and the power position enjoyed by the leader.
This theory has been criticized for failing to dichotomize the cutting score for leader-member relations and position power. Moreover, this theory is effective for group functioning only. A practical problem in implementing this theory is that groups need to be divided depending on certain factors to attain desired objectives. Such division may lead to issues when objectives may not be achieved due to small group size. Goals may not be achieved if the strategy used to divide individuals into groups is devoid of like-minded group members (Mitchell et al. 1970). Another criticism is that the Contingency Leadership theory does not allow room for flexibility as it maintains that leaders need to restrict themselves to determine the leadership style depending on the 8 point rating scale.
Does everyone have just one leadership style or can it vary? Why? What factors exert pressure to influence a shift in leadership style? Are the factors exerting pressure to influence a shift in leadership style appropriate with respect to merit and measure? Why or why not?
Leadership style may change depending on the prevailing situation. An effective leader is one who is able to adapt to the prevailing situation and accordingly apply the leadership style which best helps in a particular situation. The shift in leadership style may be influenced especially in situations of change management and restructuring. Leaders may need to change their previous style and adapt a style which helps to mitigate change barriers. Change management situations warrant a transformational leadership style to be highly effective in achieving desired objectives. Practical example of firms embracing change management and restructuring have witnessed the shift in leadership style from transactional to transformational in order to attain desired goals (Bass, 1990). Change management situation is best achieved with task oriented leaders. Transformational leaders motivate followers to attain goals and evaluates short term and long terms wins. These strategies help in effective implementation of change management and leads to organizational success.

• What factors influence a leader to adopt a specific style (personal traits, characteristics, environment, and so on)?

The situation theory of leadership maintains that the leader changes his or her leadership style depending on the current situation as well as the maturity level of the subordinate. This theory was proposed by Hersey and Blanchard who maintained four distinct leadership behaviours by integrating supportive and directive behaviour. Thus, leaders may take on a particular leadership style depending on the environment or the current situation, the maturity levels of subordinates as well as personal traits and characteristics (Blanchard, Zigarmi & Nelson, 1993).

• What role do communications, dynamic listening, and conflict resolution play for a leader?

Significant function is played by the manner leadership style is adapted in order to manage communications, mitigate conflicts and infuse a sense of dynamic listening. The current case scenario requires a leader who can effectively channelize and implement two way communication and coordination in the hospital. This requires dynamic listening as well as motivating followers to achieve desired objectives. The current situation has a conflict of opinion with both the doctor and the head nurse requesting for hiring more candidates so as to cut down on the waiting time for patients. This situation requires a change in leadership style to shift towards that of transformation by encouraging an organizational climate that aligns with task orientation and deadline achievement. Such leadership change will require extensive two way communication, dynamic listening and mitigation of conflicts so as to successfully implement the new process (Borkowski, 2005).

• Using Fiedler's Contingency Theory, how would you help John determine what leadership style he should use? Why?

According to the Contingency Theory, situational factors as well as the leader’s relations or tasks determine leadership style. In this case, John should strive to measure the leader’s relations or tasks by determining the Least Preferred Co-worker scale (LPC). Accordingly, the leadership style should be chosen depending on the favourable and unfavourable descriptions of the LPC after measuring them on a range of 8-point bipolar adjectives. John should match the 8 point scale to the correct situation by considering high and low LPC scores for effective determination of leadership style.

• What is the relevance of ethics in the above scenario?

The above scenario presents a situation in which patients have a long waiting time in emergency rooms and the average turnaround time to examine and discharge a patient in an emergency room takes around eight hours. This is not acceptable according to the quality standards and hence turnaround time for patients need to be drastically reduced. The above situation presents in itself an issue of ethics as it warrants individuals to properly manage patients and take care of them. Often hospitals are short staffed and a nurse may need to cater to several patients at a time. This may lead to ethical dilemmas resulting in patients complaining about the lack of time and attention given by medical practitioners.

• Which leadership style do you consider the best? Why?

The current situation warrants a transformational leadership style which believes in individual consideration, charisma, intellect and inspiration. The staff nurses as well as ER doctors need to be motivated as well as leadership needs to intervene in mitigating the several bottlenecks by revising current processes and systems. Change management implementation is highly challenging and the above attributes best help in mitigating change barriers and fostering change management implementation.

• What would be the most effective leadership style in the above case scenario using Fiedler's Contingency Theory? Why?

The above scenario requires a restructuring of processes and systems so as to remove current bottlenecks. In this case, Fiedler’s Contingency Theory will help in determining the Least Preferred Co-worker based on the 8 – points rating scale. The high and low scores assigned on the LPC rating scale will help in determining the leadership style (Fiedler & Mahar, 1979). Transformational leadership uses inspirational stimulation, motivation, individual consideration and intellect and helps in implementing change management in firms. John needs to mitigate the communication, coordination and process barriers so as to save time and lead to effective turnaround time. The current operating systems are disintegrated and lacks coordination and proper communication. This needs to be revised and processes needs to be changed. This kind of situation is best dealt by leaders who effectively motivates followers to embrace change. Hence, transformational leadership style is best suited to manage this situation.
• Assess your own leadership qualities using what you've learned. What is your natural leadership style? Are you task-oriented or relationship-oriented leader?
I believe in achieving tasks and meeting deadlines. Hence, I consider myself to be task oriented and not relationship oriented. A task oriented leader focuses on achieving tasks and meeting deadlines rather than focussing on maintaining relationships with colleagues and subordinates. In the current scenario, it is essential that the firm focuses on achieving tasks within a given timeframe so that patients did not have to wait for a long time in emergency rooms. However, as a leader, I need to motivate subordinates to meet objectives and accomplish deadlines. This means that I need to reinforce and appreciate them on positive behaviours so as to foster an organizational climate that is in sync with accomplishment of tasks within a said timeframe.


Bass, B. M. (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning toshare the vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18(3), 19–31.
Blanchard, K.H., Zigarmi, D. & Nelson, R.B. (1993). Situational leadership after 25 years: a retrospective. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 1(1), 21 – 36.
.Borkowski, N. (2005). Organizational Behavior in Health Care. Jones & Barlett Publishers, U.S.A.
Fiedler, F.E. & Mahar, L. (1979). The effectiveness of contingency model training: a review of the validation of leader match. Personnel Psychology, 32, 45 – 62.
Mitchell, T.R., Biglan, A., Oncken, G.R. & Fiedler, F.E. (1970). The contingency model: criticisms and suggestions. The Academy of Management Journal, 13(3), 253 – 267.

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