Situational Leadership Model Research Paper

Pages: 13 (3900 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Leadership Model

The origin and effectiveness of the situational leadership model

The modern day society is extremely challenging and dynamic, both for the average individual as well as for the professional. The dynamics of the contemporaneous world are due to a wide array of social, economic, political, technological and otherwise changes, such as the advent of technology or the opening of boundaries. And within the business community, these challenges are intense and they continually pressure the managers to develop in order to keep up.

The managerial position within today's climate is one of the most difficult positions and this is due to the countless changes and challenges which affect the business community. Examples in this sense include the transformation of the staff members from the force operating the machines into the organizations' most valuable assets, the incremental demands of the customer base, the incremental pressures from the part of the shareowners, the need to be technologically developed, the mounting pressure towards environmental stability or the growing competition within both national and international markets.

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In order to cope with these tremendous challenges, organizational managers develop and implement a wide array of strategic courses of action. The question lies however in the means in which managers are able to combine their strategies and attitudes in order to respond to the differentiated requirements. One particular answer in this sense is constituted by situational leadership. In a most simplistic formulation, situational leadership theory argues that effective management implies the construction and implementation of specific approaches to solving problems. No universally available solution exists, but the solution has to be developed in such a manner that it addresses the main issues of the situation, such as the task at hand, the maturity of the group which has to be managed or the expected outcomes.

Research Paper on Situational Leadership Model Assignment

The aim of this research document then is that of assessing situational leadership and revealing its origin and effectiveness. An onion ring methodology would be used in this direction, and the results of the research process indicate an increased level of effectiveness of the situational leadership model.

2. Thesis statement

In light of the context presented throughout the introductory section, a question is being posed relative to the ability of the situational leadership model to support managers in better answering the challenges of the modern day society. In a more direct formulation, the thesis states the following:

Modern day managers are faced with incremental challenges at the level of both internal as well as external environments. The situational leadership model allows them to better respond to these challenges.

3. Background to the study

The idea for the study was raised by the realization of the multitude of elements which impact the modern day business society and the curiosity of how organizational leaders respond to the emergent challenges. The background is constituted by a series of previous works focused specifically on the dynamics and rapidity of change in the business community, understood as the totality of social, cultural, technological, economic, political and otherwise elements which impact the business community. Some relevant examples in this sense include:

Changes in the means in which the populations perceive the importance of environmental stability. Traditionally, the populations would engage in high levels of consumerism without regard to the impacts these had upon the natural environment. Today however, the customers are becoming more environmentally concerned and they as such force economic agents to pollute less, to produce items which are less environmentally damage, to dispose of their waste in a more environmentally responsible manner and so on.

Changes in the purchasing powers of individuals. Before the 2007 economic crisis unfolded, the purchasing powers of the populations were on the rise. As the crisis takes its tool however, the people are less able to make their purchases, and this subsequently impacts a multitude of industries which depend on the purchasing powers of individuals. This basically means that economic agents need to retail their products and services at lower prices, which in turn generates the necessity for internal process of change within the organizations.

The metamorphosis of the staff members from the force operating the machines into the most valuable organizational assets. This transformation forces organizational leaders to better motivate and retain the staffs who reveal the ability to support the organization reach its overall objectives.

In light of these new challenges, as well as in light of several other challenges and environmental changes which have been addressed in previous research endeavors, a question arises as to the means in which economic agents overcome the challenges.

4. Literature review

In order for the research project to be relevant, it has to commence with the explanation of the situational leadership concept. Subsequently, it would also explain the origins of the idea as well as the effectiveness as revealed in the literary sources.

4.1. The situational leadership model

The concept of situational leadership was created specifically to strengthen the importance to focus on the various challenges with which economic agents are faced. In other words, it argues that different challenges need to be addressed in different manners. This very differentiated means of managing the different challenges is understood as the one size which does not fit all (Hersey, 2004). In other words, managers need to develop specific strategic endeavors which answer to the precise requirements of each problem. And these specific strategies have to be adopted for particular situations are not only adequate within the business community, but also in the totality of domains, including fields such as medical care or education (Blachard and Johnson, 1983).

For a more adequate understanding of the concept however, it is important to reveal several explanations as they are presented in the specialized literature. In their Management of organizational behavior, authors and parents of the situational leadership concept simply argue that "it is essential to treat different subordinates differently, and to vary behavior as the situation changes" (Hershey and Blanchard, 1969).

Fred C. Lunenburg and Allan C. Ornstein (2007) state that the situational leadership identifies two specific leadership styles:

Task behavior and Relationship behavior.

In terms of the task behavior leadership style, the two authors argue that this is revealed by a technical approach in which the manager identifies and delegates the responsibilities, as well as communicates the means, deadlines and other criteria according to which the tasks are to be developed and completed. Secondly, in terms of the relationship behavior of situational leadership, this is characterized by the emotional stimulation of the employee in the meaning that the employee-employer relationship is a dual one in which the manager listens to the employee and integrates his opinion in the organizational processes.

The success of the situational leadership style however depends greatly on the maturity of the followers. Specifically, the model is constructed around a highly sensitive variable of followers' maturity. The maturity of the individuals is assessed through the lenses of experience and maturity on the job, as well as the personal psychological maturity of the employees. The final strategic effort is to be developed and implemented in accordance to the maturity of the followers. For instance, if the maturity of the employees is low, the strategic effort would integrate clearly defined tasks and a reduced level of relationship among employees and between employees and their leader. In the opposite situation however, when the levels of employee maturity are increased, the strategy can be characterized by lower levels of structure and emotional support (Marriner-Tomey, 2004).

4.2. The origins of the situational leadership model

The situational leadership model was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, each detailing their theories in their own literary works. Paul Hersey is for instance a professor and he detailed the situational leadership theory in his book entitled Situational leader. Ken Blanchart is a recognized leadership professional who detailed the situational leadership model in his book entitled the one minute manager. The idea first came to the authors when they were working together to write the book Management of organizational behavior. At that time, the model was introduced as "the life cycle theory of leadership," which was eventually renamed into "the situational leadership theory" (Hersey and Blanchard, 1969).

As the parents of the theory have been identified, it is important to also identify the theoretical origins of the concept. This purpose is well served by Fred C. Lunenburg and Allan C. Ornstein (2007), who explain that the theory "is an extension of Tannenbaum and Schmidt's leadership styles continuum, Blake and Mouton's managerial grid and Reddin's three dimensional leadership styles [,] following the lead of the earlier Ohio State leadership studies."

4.3. The effectiveness of the situational leadership model

Bernard L. Erven at the Ohio State University argues that the implementation of the situational leadership style is a highly efficient means of increasing a leader's ability to manage a firm or a group of people. From his standpoint, managers are either autocratic either democratic. Each of the two approaches to leadership has advantages and disadvantages. But when they are integrated… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Situational Leadership Model" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Situational Leadership Model.  (2010, October 29).  Retrieved October 20, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Situational Leadership Model."  29 October 2010.  Web.  20 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Situational Leadership Model."  October 29, 2010.  Accessed October 20, 2020.