Behavioral_Styles_of_Path-Goal_Theory-An_Exercise_for_Developing_Leadership_Skills.pdf

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Management Teaching Review 2016, Vol. 1(3) 148–154 © The Author(s) 2016 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/2379298116639725 mtr.sagepub.com Experiential Exercises Behavioral Styles of Path- Goal Theory: An Exercise for Developing Leadership Skills Antoinette S. Phillips 1 and Carl R. Phillips 1 Abstract Path-goal theory is firmly established as a robust, comprehensive leadership model. Its applicability makes it attractive to students and practitioners alike. We have designed an exercise with two main goals: first, to help students better understand the path-goal behaviors (directive, supportive, participative, achievement-oriented), particularly those in which they feel weakest; and second, to provide practice modeling each behavior through generating explicit sample statements for the various behaviors that can be used in various leadership situations. The exercise is ideal for use by instructors of upper level or graduate organizational behavior or leadership classes, or in leadership training contexts. We provide focused discussion activities centered on situational diagnosis (when to use which behavior) and guidelines for conducting a behavioral styles exercise. Using the suggested video examples aids in teaching the concepts and is very helpful in preparing students for the exercise. Keywords situational approaches, leadership, training, path-goal theory, path-goal exercise Path-goal theory (House, 1971; House & Dessler, 1974) is a well-established, comprehen- sive, robust approach to understanding leadership. One of a number of situational theories, it incorporates aspects of leader behavior, follower characteristics, and situational variables in an effort to understand, predict, analyze, and influence follower behavior. Firmly grounded in expectancy theory of motivation (Vroom, 1964), path-goal theory is a cogni- tively grounded, prescriptive framework that is appealing from both academic and practi- tioner perspectives. Fundamental to the theory is the notion of selecting the appropriate leader behavior to match relevant aspects of the situation. A complete explanation and discussion of leader behaviors, situational variables, and situational components are 1 Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA, USA Corresponding Author: Carl R. Phillips, Department of Management and Business Administration, Southeastern Louisiana University, SLU 10350, Hammond, LA 70402, USA. Email: [email protected] 639725 MTR XX X 10.1177/2379298116639725Management Teaching Review Phillips and Phillips research-article 2016
Phillips and Phillips 149 critical to understanding this framework. Appendix A presents the main tenets of path-goal theory that we include in our class presentation. Integrating video clips that illustrate exam- ples of leader behaviors and situations provides a link between concept and execution and enhances student understanding. Appendix B provides information on scenes from the movie Sister Act that can be used to illustrate leader behaviors.

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