Supervision: When to Use Directive Research Paper

Pages: 11 (3005 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Leadership

These are;

"When teachers are functioning at a very low developmental level.

When teachers do not have awareness, knowledge or inclination to act on an issue that a supervisor, who has organizational authority, thinks to be of critical importance to the students, the teachers, or the community

When teachers will have no involvement and the supervisor will be involved in carrying out the decision. If the supervisor will be held totally responsible and the teachers will not When the supervisor is committed to resolving the issue and the teachers are not.

When decisions do not concern teachers, and they prefer the supervisor to make the decision

In an emergency, when the supervisor does not have the time to meet with the teachers" (Bailey, 2006, 75).

The first two are the most appropriate to this paper. When a teacher first enters the workforce, they have a certain level of knowledge that gave that person an appropriate foundation, but the individual does not necessarily have the competencies that the job requires. In this case, directive control may be needed because the new teacher is "functioning at a very low developmental level" when compared to the standard. Some teachers may have even been on the job for awhile but not realize why they are not performing up to standard. This is another reason why the supervisor may use directive control behaviors to properly train the employee.

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One item that must be noted is that directive control methods are not appropriate in all situations. When a teacher is new or does not understand what is expected, a directive control approach can be very effective. It can also quickly raise a teacher to an expected standard. However, when a teacher has achieved the level of competence that is expected, there are other methods that can be more appropriately used during supervision. At this stage of a teacher's career it is easier to use a more permissive approach because they are a trusted faculty member. However, it may be necessary to revert to a directive approach if a corrective action is needed. Since it is not always necessary to use the directive approach, a supervisor must understand what every employee needs and assist them on that basis.

Research Paper on Supervision: When to Use Directive Assignment


Directive control behaviors are great when used effectively. Many times they a supervisor needs to be directive because the level of competence of an individual or group needs to be increased. However, there are also many instances in the workplace when directive behaviors have opposite the intended effect. Directive control behaviors are important in the instances mentioned above, but they can be destructive when a leader takes and authoritarian view and maintains this role outside of its intended spectrum. A supervisor needs to understand the role of directive leadership to use it effectively.

My personal supervisory bias is toward using directive behaviors because then I am confident that the job will be performed correctly. However, through this study I have found that although direction is helpful sometimes, there are many instances where it is not.


Bailey, K.M. (2006). Language teacher supervision: A case-based approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37(4), 887-907.

Clem, S. (1993). Evaluation and supervision. CONNECT: Electronic Forum.

Einstein, W.O., & Humphreys, J.H. (2001). Matching diagnostics to leader behaviors. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(1), 48-60.

Glickman, C.D. (2002). Leadership for learning: How to help teachers succeed. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Kolb, J.A. (1995). Leader behaviors affecting team performance: Similarities and differences between leader member assessments. The Journal of Business Communication, 32(3), 233-247.

Kukulu, K., Buldukoglu, K., Kulakac, O., & Koksal C.D. (2006). The effects of locus of control, communication skills and social support on assertiveness in female nursing students. Social Behavior and Personality, 34(1), 27-53.

Pearce, C.L., & Sims, H.P., Jr. (2002). Vertical vs. shared leadership as predictor of the effectiveness of change management terms: An examination of aversive, directive, transactional, transformational, and empowering leadership behaviors. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(2), 172-197.

Pistole, M.C., & Fitch, J.C. (2008). Attachment theory in supervision: A critical incident experience. Counselor Education and Supervision, 47(3), 193-237.

Raths, J., & Lyman, F. (2003). Summative evaluation of student teacher: An enduring problem. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(3), 206-219.


Literature Review

This appendix to the main paper is meant to review literature that discusses different facets of directive control behavior and how they affect the supervisor/subordinate relationship.

Leadership and supervision are two heavily researched topics. However, directive control behaviors or directive control supervision have not been looked into in any great depth. The amount of material on both of these topics is scant. Many different studies have included directive control as a small component of the study, but few have made the concept a major part of their research. Therefore, it is necessary to look through different studies on supervision and determine how they have viewed the different aspects of directive control.

Pearce and Sims (2002) looked at how leadership was conducted by most organizations and whether a team approach was better than a more traditional vertical approach. Directive control was one of the vertical (leadership from above rather than a lateral style) leadership styles that the authors focused on. The research defined directional leadership as a type of leadership that involve[s] planning and organizing subordinates roles and responsibilities" (Pearce & Sims, 2002). All types of vertical leadership were compared statistically to shared leadership via survey. The research team found that more of the variance for team effectiveness was predicted by shared leadership than by vertical leadership. This means that a team of workers is statistically more effective in its given goal when leadership is shared than when there is a designated leader regardless of vertical style. This is a problematic finding because it is difficult to group all forms of vertical leadership. Also, the finding was much more significant for smaller groups.

One of the main reasons that a manager chooses to use a directive style of leadership is because the group of employees is underdeveloped in their understanding of the required tasks. In this case, the team, or individual, will need more structure than a more competent employee would, and thus a directive supervisory style would be more appropriate. Kolb (1995) found that employees desire the comfort of a definite structure in their job. The workers surveyed said they felt that a leader who was actively involved with policies and plans was more likely to be a proactive leader rather than one who was reactive. The reactive leader is less stable and decreases worker productivity. Thus, directive control behaviors by the manager were seen as a positive by the employees in this study.

Kukulu, Buldukoglu, Kulakac, & Koksal (2006) found that culture also pays an important role in whether an employee responds well to directive leadership or not. In a study conducted us8ing nursing students as subjects, the authors found that students that had been raised in a very structured environment (whether in the individual home or culturally imposed) were more likely to respond well to a directive style of leadership. Those who were raised to be autonomous flourished under a style of leadership that was less restrictive and more creative.

Pistole and Fitch (2008) examined the role of attachment in supervision. The findings in this study were much like those of the cultural study. Two factors influenced the role attachment played in the supervisory relationship: a culture that valued attachment, or a person who did not feel confident in the job that they were doing. The second type of employee seems to thrive under the vertical, directive style of leadership and have productivity decreases when forced to complete a task with little direction (Pistole & Fitch, 2008). This meshes well with other research which suggests what the appropriate role of directive control behaviors are.

Directive control also calls for a leader who is charismatic enough to generate the trust necessary for the directive relationship to succeed. The worker must be able to see that the supervisor has confidence in their skill level before that leader will be accepted. Einstein and Humphreys (2001) looked at how directive leaders were perceived by their subordinates. The most important part of the relationship, according to the research, was the belief by the employees that the leader was an expert. This led to a belief that the direction that was being received was appropriate to meet the set goals. The researchers did find that a leader must be willing to move from "directive to persuasive to involving to inspirational styles of leadership" as the competency and confidence of the employees increased. If the supervisor remained in a directive role for too long then productivity of the employees would decrease.

These studies bear out two points that are important for understanding the role of directive supervisory behavior. First, there are certain groups of people that will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Supervision: When to Use Directive.  (2011, January 25).  Retrieved January 15, 2021, from

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