To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Technical note: a study of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory

Thomas D. Cairns (NBC Television Station Division, Yardley, PA, USA)
John Hollenback (GE Corporate Human Resources, Fairfield, CT, USA)
Robert C. Preziosi (Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA)
William A. Snow (California School of Psychology, Marina Del Ray, CA, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 April 1998


This study empirically tested Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory (SLT) among 151 senior executives within service and manufacturing businesses of a large Fortune 100 company. SLT focuses on the interaction of the leader’s behaviour and follower readiness to determine leader effectiveness. SLT suggests that the appropriate level of task and relationship behaviour is the one that “matches” the level of follower readiness. A variety of statistical techniques were used to test the central hypotheses of SLT and the matching concept. The study produced 18 matches and 126 mismatches. One statistical technique, the partitioned test, was found to provide the most insight about SLT and the concept of matching. The researchers recommend its utilization in future research of SLT. The researchers conclude that SLT remains intuitively appealing and empirically contradictory. The concepts of SLT and matching are engaging and further research is recommended.



Cairns, T.D., Hollenback, J., Preziosi, R.C. and Snow, W.A. (1998), "Technical note: a study of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 113-116.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited