Path Goal Model
The path goal model is a leadership effectiveness theory that focuses on the role that a leader plays in motivating the subordinates. The model is based on the premise that there is only way to achieve the organizational goals and the leader knows this way (Barney, 1985).the leader can therefore make the path to goal achievement easier for the subordinate and cause improvement in an organization.
This means that the subordinates must always follow him and wait for his instructions. Core to this model is the assumption that the follower is entirely dependent on the leader, and he is rational as well ((House, 1974). Leader’s behaviour is contingent to the performance of the subordinates. This is because of his ability to motivate them.
Leaders can use incentives to make it easier for the subordinates; these incentives include rewarding the best achiever among the subordinates. This creates an atmosphere of competition as all will present their best foot forward, and there will be an improvement in the performance. The leader can also do away with restrictions that may impede the subordinates from achieving their highest. The leaders can also be available to make any clarifications required for the subordinates to achieve. This ensures that there is room for corrections in order to avoid doing the unnecessary by the subordinates (Barney, 1985).
Leader can take a participatory role in this model or a more limited one. In the participatory role, they clear the path themselves and get completely involved in the steps that the subordinates take, however for the limited role they are less involved in the actions themselves, they simply give directions as to how the goals can be achieved (House, 1974). In some instances the leader can give clues and hints and not be clear about the exact route to be used to achieve the goal, this however does not mean that he is not aware of the right path to be used.
There are four types of leadership styles that are expected in a path goal model; they include;
- Supportive leadership
This type of leadership is concerned with the needs of the subordinates. The leader creates a friendly surrounding that allows for the subordinates to consult on issues that are troubling them (Evans, 1970). At the same time this increases the confidence and self esteem of the subordinates because the leader is their friends and understands most of what they are undergoing.
This type of leadership is mostly efficient when dealing with work environments that are dangerous or stressful. In this type of environments the leader helps in making sure that the work does not put the subordinates in harm either physically and psychologically.
- Directive leadership
The leader in this case takes a more authoritative role whereby he issues directives and specifications as to how a particular procedure and process should be done. This means that there are clear guidelines that the leader will set and will expect for them to be followed. This is achieved by having schedules set for the subordinates. There should be a time table that shows what is to be done and who is to do it (Barney, 1985). This ensures that there is proper coordination and accountability.
There are also rewards that are used as incentives to the subordinates; this is to act as a motivational factor to them. It increases the efficiency and they all meet deadlines as expected. Rewards also increase the level of innovation and invention by the subordinates making the work of the leader easier. This type of leadership is mostly more efficient when delivering tasks that require proper structuring and are complicated. It is also more suitable when the subordinates are not well experienced in the situation and require to be given all the guidelines as the steps they should take. With time it increases the subordinates competence as they become more and more accustomed to the schedules and timetables set by the leader. This makes the subordinates to have more control and security in his capability and ability to deliver.
- Participative leadership.
This is the type of leadership whereby the leader is completely hands on every activity. The leader also incorporates the subordinates in the decision making and implementation process. This means they work as a team and the leader is only there to make the ultimate decisions but the subordinates play a big role in this (Evans, 1970).
This type of leadership is mostly common when the subordinates are experienced and have proved severally that they can be able to deliver in such instances. It is also used when teams are forms and the leader is there for the ultimate decision making, control and accountability for the actions of the members of the team (House, 1974). It is also applicable in instances where the subordinates are qualified in different fields and each and every field has fundamental importance in the decision making. For instance when deciding the best packaging for a product, there is need for an economist, marketer, engineer and the leader should be the manager of the firm.
- Achievement oriented leadership
This type of leadership, the leader sets the goals to be achieved by the subordinates, they can be both based on the occupation and personal traits for instance a leader can set a goal for one to control their emotions when dealing with clients especially on sensitive issues in a law firm. This is because in some occupation personal attributes and emotions play a big role in achieving the goals for the firm (House, 1974).
The leader shows the subordinates that he believes in them, and their capabilities to handle the issue at hand. This helps in improving the subordinate’s experiences as they are able to handle more and more pressure from the task at hand easily. This leadership style is mostly exercised when dealing with complex and sensitive issues that require unison in the person and the task being delivered by that person.
Path goal leadership is used to ensure that there is proper interaction between the leader and the subordinates in an effort to improve the performance of the latter (Barney, 1985). This is because upon the departure of the leader one of the subordinates will be the one to take on the role of being the leader. This means that he must be able to deliver as a leader as much as he was able to deliver as a subordinate.
An illustration of the requirement for success of the path goal model
Evans, M. G. (1970), the Effect on the Supervisory Behaviour on the Bath-Goal Relationship. Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance, McGraw Hill Publishers, p 277-298
Barney, J.B. (1985). Dimensions of Informal Social Network Structure: Toward a Contingency Theory of Informal Relations in Organizations, Social Network, 7, 1-46
House J. Robert, Mitchell T.R, (1974), Path Goal Theory of Leadership, Journal of Contemporary Business, North Georgia College Publishers