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Path Goal Theory

Promod kumar Yadav

Path Goal Theory
Author: Robert House
Year: 1971, revised in 1996
Path-goal theory centers on how leaders
motivate subordinates to accomplish
designated goals
Emphasizes the relationship between
the leaders style
the characteristics of the subordinates
the work setting
Basic Idea
Leader Behaviors
Directive Leadership
Leader who gives subordinates task
instruction including:
What is expected of them
How task is to be done
Timeline for task completion
Leader -
sets clear standards of performance
makes rules & regulations clear to subordinates
Leader Behaviors
Supportive Leadership
Refers to being friendly and approachable as a
leader and includes:
Attending to well-being & human needs of
Using supportive behavior to make work
environment pleasant
Treating subordinates as equals & give them
respect for their status
Leader Behaviors
Participative Leadership
Leader who invites subordinates to share in
the decision-making
A participative leader:
Consults with subordinates
Seeks their ideas & opinions
Integrates their input into group/organizational
Leader Behaviors
Achievement Oriented Leadership
Leader who challenges subordinates to
perform work at the highest level possible
An achievement oriented leader:
Establishes a high standard of excellence for
Seeks continuous improvement
Demonstrates a high degree of confidence in
subordinates ability to establish & achieve
challenging goals
Subordinate Characteristics
Determine how a leaders behavior will be
interpreted by subordinates in a given work
Researchers focus on subordinates
Need for affiliation
Preferences for structure (less uncertainty)
Desires for control (Locus of Control)
Self-perceived level of task ability
Task Characteristics
Task Characteristics:
Design of subordinates task
Organizations formal authority system
Primary work group of subordinates
Task Characteristics
Task Situations Requiring Leader Involvement
Unclear and ambiguous
Highly repetitive
Weak formal authority
Non-supportive/weak group norms
Path-Goal Theory Approach
Focus Overall Scope
Path-goal theory is a Path-goal theory provides a
complex but also set of assumptions about
pragmatic approach how different leadership
styles will interact with
Leaders should choose a subordinate characteristics
leadership style that best and the work situation to
fits the needs of affect employee motivation
subordinates and their
Useful theoretical framework
Integrates motivation
Practical model
Interpreting the meaning of the theory can be
confusing because it is so complex and incorporates so
many different aspects of leadership; consequently, it is
difficult to implement.
Empirical research studies have demonstrated only
partial support for path-goal theory.
It fails to adequately explain the relationship between
leadership behavior and worker motivation.
The path-goal theory approach treats leadership as a
one-way event in which the leader affects the
PGT offers valuable insights that can be applied in
ongoing settings to improve ones leadership. Informs
leaders about when to be directive, supportive,
participative, or achievement oriented The principles
of PGT can be employed by leaders at all
organizational levels and for all types of tasks
Northhouse,P. G (2010). Leadership: theory and practice. New Delhi: Sage. Dated 23/09/11.
theory.html#axzz1Z01r5355. Dated 23/09/11.