The “Contingency Model” of leadership effectiveness postulates that effectiveness of a group is contingent upon the relationship between leadership style and the degree to which the situation enables the leader to exert his influence. This investigation was an attempt to explore the usefulness of the theory as a guide to the study of leadership in public elementary schools. As predicted by the model, the favorableness of principal‐staff relations was a significant situational mediator of leadership effectiveness. In elementary schools where principals were well supported by teachers, a task oriented leadership style was associated with effectiveness; however, in schools where principals were less well supported by teachers, a relationship oriented leadership style was associated with effectiveness.
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