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Least Preferred Co-Worker Model

The LPC contingency model is a questionnaire that is related to the class of standardized self-reports and consists of a series of semantic differential scales. The respondent uses the LPC contingency model in order to describe the worker with whom he “may not work well.”

Thus, this paper introduces the information on the LPC contingency model. It presents and defines how situations moderate the relationship between leadership effectiveness and a trait measure called the “least preferred co-worker”, and articulates the relationship between the LPC score and how effectiveness depends on situational variables named situational favorability.

The first fairly complete situational leadership model was proposed by Fred Fiedler. Fiedler leadership model states that the effectiveness of groups depends on matching the degree of the leader’s control and how this control affects the group.

It is believed that the basic style of leadership,which is inherent in every human being, is the key factor in his/her success as the leader. Therefore, Fiedler began his studies with the fact that he attempted to define and understand this basic style of leadership. For this purpose, he designed the least preferred co-worker questionnaire – LPC that wasconsisted of 16 pairs of antonymous adjectives, such as cooperative/uncooperative, ffective/ineffective, open/guarded, friendly/unfriendly, supportive/hostile, etc.

The purpose of LPC is to define the leader’s style (task-oriented or focused on human relations). The respondent was asked to remember all the people with whom he/she has ever worked. Then the respondent should describe the person with whom he/she has worked least well, evaluating each of 16 pairs of antonymous adjectives that describe the person on a scale of 1 to 8 points.

Fiedler believed that if the least preferred co-workerwas described in relatively positive tones (a high LPC score), this means that the respondent is interested in good relations with his/her peers. In other words, the respondentwho gives the person with whom he/she least likes to work rather positive description, this means that he/she is focused on human relations. At the same time, if you describe the least preferred co-worker in the negative tones (a low LPC score), you are mainly interested in productivity, and thus have a task orientation.

Thus, the leader with a high LPC score uses the positive adjectives in order to describe the least preferred co-worker. In turn, the leader with a low LPC score uses the lower end of the semantic differential scales.Consequently, both high-LPC (focused on human relations) and low-LPC (task-oriented) leaders can be useful and beneficial for any organization or company iftheycorrespond to the current situation.

There are major three situational factors that define situational control or situational favorableness:

  1. Leader-member relations: the level of subordinates’ confidence in their leader, as well as their level of trust and respect to him;
  2. Position power: the level of control when the leader has the power variables, such as hiring and firing, industrial discipline, promotion and salary increases;
  3. Task structure: the habitualness of task, clarity of its formulating and structuring rather than its vagueness and lack of structure.

Therefore, the relationship between the leader and his/her subordinates can be good or bad, task structuring – high or low, and position power – strong or weak.

To sum up, it is possible to conclude that Fiedler leadership model is an important contribution to the development of leadership theories as a whole, as it focuses on the situation and identifies three factors that influence the leader’s behavior.