11 Oct 2022


Contingency Leadership Theories: Everything You Need to Know

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Fielder’s Contingency Theory 

Fielder’s contingency theory stressed that leaders are not effective in all situations. Argue what the implications are for leadership within organizations if we accept this assumption. 

Fred Fielder stated that there is no one particular style of leadership that can be called the best style. Instead, he argued that a leader’s effectiveness is measured by how that particular leader’s style works to control a certain or different situation (Match, 2015). The first implication from this model is that almost anyone is suited for leadership because he/she can choose the situations which best fit his style or disposition. Conversely, the effectiveness of a leader can be enhanced by altering a situation to fit the leader. 

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Other implications are; the fit or the favourableness of leadership situations should be evaluated subjectively, or by the criteria developed by Fielder, and the effectiveness of a leader should be evaluated using the Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) scale (da Cruz, Nunes, & Pinheiro, 2011). This theory insinuates that the leader most likely to succeed is a relationship-oriented leader as opposed to a task-oriented leader. Under this theory, a task-orientated leader can only be effective under special circumstances, such as subordinates having enough instructions to complete their task. 

Decide how upper management can ensure a good fit between management and work context. 

Management can use the LPC scale to decide which leader ship candidate is suited for the nature of an organization. For instance, for a manufacturing organization, there are more tasks and involved as opposed to relational process requiring a management team with a low LPC scale. An advertising or public relations firm, on the other hand, will require a relationship-oriented managerial team (high LPC scale). Training would be another effective way to ensure management fits the work context. The most significant advantage of Fielder’s contingency theory is that it is flexible (Match, 2015). As discussed in Question 1, a leader can choose whichever situations that fit his style. While disposition cannot be taught, leadership in general can. As such, the management team can be taught how to adjust or react to certain situations through periodic or even life-long training. 


da 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). 

Match, R. L. (2015). From fred fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership to the leader-match approach to management development. Organizational Behavior 4: From Theory to Practice , 146. 

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