15 Apr 2022


Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

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Fiedler’s Contingency Theory (FCT), is a leadership theory that was formulated by Fred Fiedler in the 1960s. According to this theory, good leadership does not only depend on the style but also on also on being able to take charge of the situation (Mulder, 2013). According to the theory, the factors that influence leadership include makeup of the group, nature of the task, and power of a leader. The theory was developed after Fiedler conducted a research on the relationship or the contingency between the effectiveness of leadership style and the situation. Therefore, the main implication of the theory is that leadership should be based on the situation and the influencing factors. 

However, just like any other theory, FCT has pros and cons. The main advantage of the theory is that it is well researched, given its stated parameters. Another advantage of the theory is that it is a “contingency theory,” making it more adaptable than one take all theory (Toshi, 2015). Nevertheless, it is disadvantageous in that it’s least preferred co-worker (LPC) scale is subjective. The theory is also disadvantageous because the LPC scale can only apply to supervised groups, and not open groups. 

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It is not possible for everyone to have just one leadership style. The main reason is that leadership style depends on a situation and other factors such as the personality of a person and the leadership qualities. Therefore, factors influencing a shift in leadership style include situations, the type and nature of followers, and leadership qualities (Jepson, 2010). These aspects are suitable with respect to merit since the leader must pay attention to the subject, and he or she must use the qualities to guide followers. 

The main factor that influences a leader to adopt specific style is his personality, mainly because it does not change. Other factors include the operating environment and situation. Communication is important in leadership because it is the tool that is used by leaders to connect with followers, effectively execute strategies, and inspire people. Dynamic listening is equally important in leadership because it helps the leader to understand what is not being told verbally. At the same time, it gives a leader to have in-depth understanding of the problem. In addition, conflict resolution skills also help a leader to solve complex issues affecting the team (Jepson, 2010). 

In order for John to determine the leadership style he should use in this scenario, he should first understand what makes up the team, especially the relationship between him and other leaders such as Dr. Smith and Mary. He should also understand the nature of the task, which is uncertain in this case. At the same time, he should consider the power that he has in the organization. Therefore, John should adopt task-oriented leadership style because his relationship with other team members is weak, the nature of the task is uncertain, and he has weak powers (Mulder, 2013). Hence, the most effective leadership style John can use is task-oriented. In addition, the relevance of ethics in the scenario is that John must be ready to accept divergent opinions from other team members. 

However, I consider people-oriented leadership style the best because it helps in energizing employees, as they feel recognized and appreciated. Therefore, it helps in building a beneficial relationship between a leader and followers. Hence, based on what I have learned, I think I am naturally a relationship-oriented leader, as I am not only interested in accomplishing tasks but also building a relationship with followers or colleagues (Mulder, 2013). 


Jepson, L. J. (2010). An analysis of factors that influence the success of women engineering leaders in corporate America (Doctoral dissertation, Antioch University). Antioch University.

Mulder, P. (2013). Fiedler Contingency Model. Retrieved from https://www.toolshero.com/leadership/fiedler-contingency-model/

Toshi, F. (2015). Leadership Theories: Situational Leadership Theory and Contingency Leadership Theory . Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-theories- situational-theory-contingency-toshi

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Fiedler’s Contingency Theory.


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