The Hersey-Blanchard Situation Essay, Research Paper
The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Theory
One of the most widely followed leadership models is the situational leadership theory of Paul Heresy and Kenneth Blanchard. Situational Leadership Theory is a contingency theory that focuses on the followers. Leadership will be successful when the leadership style used is appropriate for the level of the follower’s maturity. This emphasis on the followers reflects sociological arguments that it is the followers who accept or reject the leader. Thus leadership effectiveness is contingent on the followers’ actions. This is an important dimension that has been overworked or underemphasized in most leadership theories.
The term maturity, as defined by Hersey and Blanchard, is the ability and willingness of people to take responsibility for directing their own behaviour. Hersey and Blanchard present four specific leadership styles: telling, selling, participating and delegating. They are described as follows:
+ Telling (high task-low relationship). The leader defines roles and tells people what, how, when and where to do various tasks.
+ Selling (high task-high relationship). The leader provides both directive behavior and supportive behavior.
+ Participating (low task-high relationship). The leader and follower share in decision making, the main role of the leader being facilitating and communicating
+ Delegating (low task-low relationship). The leader provides little direction or support.
The final component in Hersey and Blanchard s theory is the defining of four stages of maturity:
+ M1: People are both unable and unwilling to take responsibility for doing something. They are neither competent nor confident.
+ M2: People are unable but willing to do the necessary job tasks. They are motivated but lack the appropriate skills.
+ M3: People are able but unwilling to do what the leader wants.
+ M4: People are both able and willing to do what the leader wants.
The above graph integrates the various components into the situational leadership model.
This theory is one of the most utilised models today, used by industry and government. Yet it has not undergone extensive evaluation to test its validity. Thus on the basis of research to date, conclusions must be guarded. Some researchers claim that evidence provides partial support for the theory, while other researchers find no support for its assumptions. As a result, an enthusiastic endorsement for the theory at this time is not possible.