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Path-Goal Theory | Robert House

The path-goal theory was implemented by Robert House in 1971 and then revised in 1996. This theory was implemented in order to characterize the way how the leaders stimulate and motivate their subordinates in achieving the given goals.

Thus, this paper introduces the information on the path-goal theory and its main characteristics. It discusses, explores, and answers the questions concerning the above-mentioned theory.

To start with, there are four different styles of leadership depending on the situation:

  1. Directive leadership: the leader provides specific instructions for subordinates to perform the given tasks;
  2. Supportive leadership: the leader is friendly and cares about subordinates;
  3. Achievement-oriented leadership: the leader sets high goals and expects from subordinates high results;
  4. Participative leadership: the leader consults with subordinates and considers their suggestions.

Based on the principles of path-goal theory, Carol can be considered to be more effective than Art and Bob because she utilizes the directive leadership in her practice. Her group understands and realizes what should be performed in their work and how to do it. Even if the workers do not know how to perform a specific job she always supports them and explains how to do it. In addition, Carol has various behaviors that help her to motivate and stimulate the subordinates. She conducts the meetings that are called trouble-shooting sessions where she sets the problems every employee can experience in his/her work. Apart fromdirective leadership, Carol utilizes supportive leadership towards her workers. Thus, the above-stated leadership behaviors helped her to be effective and useful as a leader and a supervisor.

This is a well-known fact that each leadership style has a specific impact on the motivation of subordinates.Carol’s behaviors caused her subordinates to respect and trust her. A good combination of directive and supportive leaderships helped her to create a comfortable atmosphere where employees are eager to work effectively. Carol’s efforts made it possible to create a group of hardworking, goal-seeking, and motivated subordinates. In turn, Art possesses a task-oriented leadership style. It causes the fact that he lacks human needs. Art is overly oriented on the tasks of his subordinates. That is why they consider their work to be monotonous and feel bored. His emphasis on procedures and other small details reduces the employees’ work capacity, suppressing them from continuing to fulfill the given tasks. Thus, there is low motivation within the company.

Lastly, Bob shows a supportive leadership style. Although he is very polite and caring, he overly aims to satisfy his subordinates. In addition, his employees lack the specific directions. They have no idea what they should do in their work and how they should perform their tasks. In this case, Bob needs to be a more task-oriented supervisor to increase the motivation of his subordinates.

It is very important to gather upper management together and identify the weak and strong sides of each supervisor in order to train and help them to obtain the attributes they miss. Besides, it is necessary to evaluate the subordinates within those three shifts in order to identify situations, and then solve them. These are my recommendations concerning the supervision of Art, Bob and Carol.

In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the path-goal theory assumes that the leader can affect the performance, satisfaction and motivation of the group through rewards for achieving the goals, clarification of means for achieving these goals, and through removing obstacles for achieving the necessary results.