Week Two Case Studies
Case 7.1 Three Shifts, Three Supervisors (Northouse)
1. Based on the principles of path-goal theory, describe why Art and Bob appear to be less effective than Carol?
The path-goal theory focuses on motivating followers to achieve goals. It suggests that if followers believe there will be positive outcomes in their efforts, they will be highly motivated to do their work. Leaders, in this theory, use a style that compliments the follower’s needs in order to motivate them. Take the following situation as an example. I am newly hired as a sales manager and the morale in the department is extremely low. A few months ago the department’s profit in sales had been ...view middle of the document...
Art and Bob, based on the path-goal theory, are less effective supervisors than Carol because they lacked what was missing in their workgroups to keep them motivated. Art is a very task oriented supervisor. He is overly involved in his followers’ tasks and lacks human needs. Because his workers have such a monotonous job, they feel bored and don’t find understanding in Art. On the other hand, Bob embraces human needs within his followers as a supervisor. He is people-oriented and focuses on the group on a personal level. But Bob lacks directive leadership. His followers do not have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and therefore, they do not produce good work.
2. How does the leadership of each of the three supervisors affect the motivation of their respective subordinates?
Each leadership style from the three supervisors affects the motivation of their respective subordinates in different ways. Carol’s style has created a group of motivated employees with Art and Bob’s groups left lacking motivation.
Carol’s directive and supportive leadership (as explained in question 1) causes her followers to like her. One worker even mentioned that Carol was “part parent, part coach, and part manufacturing expert (Northouse, 2010).” Her reassurance and guidance has created an environment where employees are comfortable, similar to the relationship behavior in the style approach. This type of environment has highly motivated followers and helps in the production of the entire company.
Art has a more task-oriented style of leadership. He emphasizes the procedures and looks at the smaller details in the production line. His followers need little guidance as far as what needs to be done at work, but they are craving more of a supporting role from the leader. Art’s leadership style leaves his followers bored at the job. This follows by low motivation and the attitude that “we are just going through the motions.”
Lastly, Bob expressed a supportive leadership style. Bob’s focus was for his employees to enjoy their work. He promoted this by numerous events such as sponsoring a softball team, social events and acknowledgements. Although employees may fulfill their human needs from Bob’s leadership style, they lack direction. Employees under Bob do not have direction on what they need to get done. They also do not show the seriousness of their jobs because there is great absenteeism and turnover within the group. Bob would need more task oriented behaviors, which Art showed, in order to increase the motivation from his...