Path-goal theory of leadership
-The contingency of the theory specify some of the circumstances in
which each of the behaviours is likely to be effective or ineffective.
-The essence of the theory is for leader to be effective engage in
behaviour that complement subordinates environment and abilities in
a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to
subordinate satisfaction and work unit performance.
-Path goal theory concerns relationship between formally appointed
superior and subordinates. How superior affect the motivation and
satisfaction of subordinate.
-A theory of task and person oriented supervisory behaviour.
-individual will be effective if they complement the environment
(ensure subordinate can attain work goals so they will experience
intrinsic satisfaction and receive rewards)
Independent variables: leader behaviour
-2 general classes of leader behaviour: path-goal behavior and behavior
directed toward satisfying subordinates needs.
-House and Mitchell defined 4 kinds of behaviours:
1.directive path-goal clarifying leader behaviour
-behaviour directed toward providing psychological structure for
-Reduce subordinate role ambiguity, clarify follower perception
concerning the degree to which their effort would result in successful
performance (goal attainment), and the degree to which performance
would be extrinsically rewarded with recognition by the leader through
pay, advancement, job security.
2.supportive leader behaviour
-behaviour directed toward the satisfaction of subordinates needs
-create a friendly and psychologically supportive work environment
-supportive leader is a source of self confidence, social satisfaction,
stress reduction and alleviation of frustration for subordinate
-Supportive leader behaviour was expected to increase performance
when behaviour was contingent on goal-directed effort.
3.participative leader behaviour
-Behaviour toward encouragement of subordinate influence on
decision making and work unit operation
-Participative leader was asserted to have 4 effects:
a. concern effort and work-goal attainment; work-goal attainment and
b. increase congruence between subordinate goal and organizational goals
c. increase subordinate autonomy and ability to carry out intention
d. increase subordinate involvement and commitment and by increasing
social pressure of peers. => increase organizational performance.
4.achievement oriented behavior
-behaviour toward encouraging performance excellence
-Achievement oriented leader: cause subordinate to strive for higher
standard of performance and to have more confidence in their ability to
meet challenging goals.
Implicit assumptions and boundary conditions
-The initial path-goal assumed that role ambiguity is stressful and
unpleasant and reducing ambiguity will lead to subordinate
satisfaction and effective performance.
-Propositions concerning path-goal clarifying behavior are most likely
invalid when subordinates are under conditions of substantial stress or
Empirical evidence relevant to measurement issues
-When the task demand of follower are ambiguous, nonauthoritarian
leader directive behaviour can be a source of clarification so
instrumental to both follower performance and satisfaction
-When task are unambiguous, supportive leader is predicted by path-
goal theory to have a positive effect on follower satisfaction and
-However, participative leader behavior is not necessarily useful under
Proxies for theoretical moderator
-Followers whose jobs are satisfying, but which have unclear
performance demands, will view nonauthoritarian leader directive
behaviour as satisfying and instrumental for performance.
-The high level of ability at higher organizational levels should lessen
the instrumentality of leader defectiveness.
-Ambiguity of role and task demands and satisfaction increase and
routine decrease with increase in level in organization.
-Effective leader arouse motives that are relevant to particular
-Motive arousal is equivalent to enhancing valence (attraction) of
particular kinds of behaviours and outcomes.
-As a result of motive arousal, intrinsic valence of behaviour and
-Leader who enhance follower self-esteem and arouse follower
motives appeared to be similar to charismatic leader.
Axiom of the theory on page 335
Path goal clarifying behaviour
Leader behaviours that are capable of making subordinates needs and
preferences contingent on effective performance by clarifying:
(a)subordinate performance goals
(b) means by which subordinates can effectively carry out tasks
(c)standard by which subordinates’ performance will be judged.
(d)Expectation that other hold for subordinates
(e)Judicious use of reward and punishment, contingent on performance
-the acceptability and motivational effect of path-goal clarifying
behaviors depends on the tasks performed by subordinates.
-Path-goal clarifying behaviour will have most positive effect on
subordinates when subordinates role and task demands are ambiguous
and intrinsically satisfying.
-According to original path goal theory, have the following proposition:
-when the task demand of subordinates are satisfying but ambiguous,
path-goal clarifying behavior by superior will be a source of
clarification and subordinate satisfaction so will be motivational
-The higher the degree of subordinate self-perceived ability relative to
task demands, the less subordinates will view path-goal clarifying
behavior by superiors as acceptable.
-when the task demands of subordinate are ambiguous and
dissatisfying, path-goal clarifying behavior will be dissatisfying to
subordinates, will be seen as over controlling, will be resented and
The contingency of the theory specify some of the circumstances in which each of the behaviours is likely to be effective or ineffective. The essence of the theory is for leader to be effective engage in behaviour that complement subordinates environment and abilities in a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and work unit performance. Path goal theory concerns relationship between formally appointed superior and subordinates. How superior affect the motivation and satisfaction of subordinate. A theory of task and person oriented supervisory behaviour. individual will be effective if they complement the environment (ensure subordinate can attain work goals so they will experience intrinsic satisfaction and receive rewards) 2 general classes of leader behaviour: path-goal behavior and behavior directed toward satisfying subordinates needs. House and mitchell defined 4 kinds of behaviours: directive path-goal clarifying leader behaviour behaviour directed toward providing psychological structure for subordinates.