Ambiguity surrounding “follower competence and commitment” of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory (SLT) has rendered validation difficult. The purpose of this paper is to address this difficulty by presenting different perspectives for determining follower development level and applies these perspectives for testing the validity of SLT.
The study population was drawn from 80 supervisors and 357 followers. Financial organizations were chosen because much of the existing research on SLT has so far focussed on service-oriented organizations in education, healthcare, and armed services.
Measuring the degree of agreement between leader rating of follower competence and commitment and follower self-rating was found to be a core issue for determining follower competence and commitment. SLT predictions are more likely to hold when leader rating and follower self-rating are congruent, rather than using leader rating alone, which has been applied in previous studies.
Both leader and follower need to diagnose follower competence and commitment, first individually and then together, to discuss similarities and differences and attempt to agree upon the determination of follower competence and commitment. If the rating is based on some mutual agreement, then it is assumed in accordance with SLT that the leader can provide the follower with an appropriate amount of direction and support.
The findings in the present study are of great importance for future research on SLT. It may change the approach for testing the validity of the theory. A leader-follower congruence approach will, in the authors view, constitute the future research avenue for research on SLT.
Thompson, G. and Glasø, L. (2015), "Situational leadership theory: a test from three perspectives", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 527-544. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-10-2013-0130Download as .RIS
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