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Why a Situational Approach to Leadership Matters

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© 2017 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate. MK0851 • 110617 Why a Situational Approach to Leadership Matters 1 PERSPECTIVES Why a Situational Approach to Leadership Matters The period from the early 1940s through the late 1950s marked an important evolutionary time for the concept of leadership. During these two decades, researchers developed and refined several leadership contingency theories that introduced the concepts of initiating structure (the degree to which a leader defines, directs, and organizes his or her role and the roles of followers) and consideration (the degree to which a leader shows concern and respect for followers, looks out for their welfare, and expresses appreciation and supports them) as distinct leader behaviors that were important for leader success. However, by the 1990s researchers began to view these leader behaviors as outdated historical artifacts, instead favoring emerging leadership constructs like transformational leadership and full-range leadership. Therefore, consideration and initiating structure began to be viewed as forgotten constructs in both the academic and commercial literature. But ever since the groundbreaking meta-analysis by Judge, Piccolo, and Ilies, there has been a revival in the study of the two traditional leadership behaviors: initiating structure (direction) and consideration (support). In their meta-analysis, the researchers examined 163 independent correlations for consideration and 159 correlations for initiating structure; they revealed that both consideration and initiating structure had reasonably strong, nonzero relationships with leadership outcomes.

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