The Path Goal Theory

Table of Content

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. research workers and analysts likewise have been fighting to specify the most cost-efficient methods to running a company. A big part of the success of a company can be attributed to the leading manner of a given leader and how they apply a peculiar leading manner to actuate their employees. It is common cognition. that an employee with a high degree of motive will bring forth a higher economic benefit to the net income of the company. The purpose of this authorship is to research what the Path-Goal theory is. how it relates to leading. and so use the constituents to how James Parker. CEO of sou’-west air hoses. appears to utilize them to ease day-to-day operations within the company.

The Path-Goal theory was developed from surveies conducted by Robert House ( Robbins 493 ) . House chose to divert from Fiedler’s traditional Contingency theories via concentrating chiefly on the leader’s direct behaviour for each new state of affairs. This was a new position when contrasted to Fiedler’s attack because House tried to incorporate a larger focal point on the manager’s ability to supply the agencies “clearing a path” for the employee to execute to their maximal potency. This would bespeak a strong proof to the workings of the Contingency theories. but more of the result is put into the custodies of the director taking the subsidiaries. Within the nucleus premises of the Path-Goal Theory. there are mentions and dependences to other theories sing motive and leading manners. It is of import to understand that the Path-Goal theory can be divided into three parts: Motivation. Leadership. and Situation ( Robbins 395 ) .

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Motivation can be merely defined as “explaining why people do what they do” ( Bridge 1 ) . In order to bring forth any end product. an single must hold some degree of motive and desire to win. This construct that the Path-Goal theoretical account relies on is the Expectancy Theory of Motivation. This theory states that an person will be motivated by a combination of valency and anticipation ( Wu 1 ) . Once an individual’s motive has been established. assorted factors can be monopolized to accomplish the best consequences by a perceptive leader.

Proficient directors will acknowledge the demand to pass on their feelings and perceptual experiences of a low-level employee’s public presentation. Frequent countries of concern when measuring the effectivity of an employee can be found within the constructs of the Expectancy Motivation Theory. Critical success factors for application of the Expectancy Motivation Theory include: the ability to actuate by puting public presentation based wagess systems in topographic point. giving constructive counsel. puting good illustrations to take the subsidiaries. and eventually. they must be able to cut down or extinguish low-level end obstructions.

The following constituent of the Path-Goal Theory is the leading manner and the effectivity with which it is applied. There are four chief leader behaviours normally associated with leadership-style theories: directive. supportive. participative. and achievement-oriented. Directing leading is being utilized when a leader designates precise expected behaviour and desired results that these behaviours should accomplish. Supportive leading requires a more magnetic leader and is when a supervisor makes an attempt to set up more of a friendly relationship type function with their subsidiaries. Participative leading is in action when a leader has assurance in the judgement of the subsidiary and attempts to have audience from their expertness. Achievement-oriented leading is practiced when the leader makes distinct ends and so sets forth the outlook that these ends will be successfully fulfilled.

The situational part of the Path-Goal theory can be better defined by looking at the three constituents within itself. First you have the employee factors. followed by the environmental factors. and eventually you have the particulars of the undertaking. Environmental factors include but are non limited to 1 ) The employees ‘Locus of Control’ 2 ) The employee’s degree of proficiency and ability to successfully finish the undertaking and 3 ) The satisfaction that will be achieved by finishing the undertaking. An expert director will recognize the criticality of each of these constituents and do certain that these demands are sufficiently addressed and fulfilled.

The environmental factors can non be as easy manipulated by the leader irregardless of how adept the leader is and can be regarded to as slightly of a “fixed” variable. Often environmental factors are: undertaking construction. authorization system and work group ( Robbins 494 ) . Other factors that often come into drama and can dramatically change the result of a state of affairs include the sum of aid an single receives from their fellow squad members and. how good the outlooks are defined for completion of a undertaking. There are extended resources to farther refine and research the constituents and impacts that those constituents will hold on any given set of parametric quantities. One of the resources that was peculiarly helpful to understanding how all of these factors influence the result was a flow-chart illustration published in an article entitled “Motivation. Leadership and Communication” .

Simply put. “The Path-Goal Theory believes that a leader can alter a subordinate’s anticipation by clear uping the waies between the subordinate’s action and the result. which is the end the employee wants to accomplish. Whether leader behaviour can make so efficaciously besides depends on situational factors” ( WU 1 ) . Now that the definition of The Path-Goal has been explored and the constituents have been isolated. we are ready to travel on to how this can be applied to the leading manner of James Parker.

James Parker. born in 1947 in San Antonio. graduated from the University of Texas in 1969 with a Bachelors degree. During the class of the following two old ages. James went on to gain his jurisprudence grade besides from the University of Texas. Within the first 10 old ages of his calling. James had established himself as a major plus within the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In 1979. while working for the Attorney General. James had an chance to research options in another jurisprudence house headed by Herb Kelleher ( Zellener 2 ) . James’ successful interactions with Herb Kelleher would turn out to be critical to his future calling with Southwest. Herb Kelleher successfully gained entryway into Southwest air hoses as the CEO in 1982 and was deriving a repute for holding “maniac energy” when in 1986 James followed his lead by going a member of the Southwest General Council ( Zellener 5 ) .

On June 19th of 2001. Kelleher retired and left his function to be filled by James Parker as moving president and Colleen Barrett moving as COO ( Goett ) . Part of Kelleher’s issue scheme was to partner off up Parker and Barrett so that the two would congratulate each other in their determination devising. Analysts and reviews likewise are in understanding that both Barrett and Parker merit their publicities. It is noted that while James has kept a low-profile in the oculus of the populace. he has developed a stead-fast work ethic. During a recent interview one anon. analyst reported that “As a consequence of the work and attempts of the squad. Southwest has been observed to be…the one air hose that sticks out as clearly holding superior labour relations” .

Parker and squad mindfully chose to place critical elements of employee motive and satisfaction and do certain that these elements are addressed and met. Parker reports as holding focused protecting occupation [ hypertext transfer protocol: //search. targetwords. com/u. hunt? x=5977 % 7C1 % 7C % 7C % 7C % 7Cjob % 7CAA1VDw ] -security and recommending employee engagement in profit-sharing. He besides states that as a consequence of their operational efficiencies they were the lone major air hose to remain profitable in the early 1990s. Some of the actions and illustrations that James has displayed as an effectual leader for his squad include non having a one-fourth of his one-year wage when the company was holding a hard fiscal twelvemonth.

Some of the more recent obstructions that James and Colleen have had to interface with are the calamities of September 11th. James Parker’s leading patterns came under unfavorable judgment by fiscal analysts as he continued to pay all of his employees their normal rewards bing the company 5. 2 million dollars each twenty-four hours. James continued in this for three yearss until they were allowed to return to normal concern. This happening was critical to specifying his ability to accommodate his leading manner harmonizing to the state of affairs that he was in. James proved that because he was thrown into a transformational function and became highly supportive of his employees in a clip of crisis.

Parker has worked diligently at keeping a company where employees are encouraged to interact with senior functionaries. This has helped his employees to keep optimum communicating with some of prima determination shapers. One illustration of this that might look undistinguished. was that James when James officially joined Southwest. his office warming gift [ hypertext transfer protocol: //search. targetwords. com/u. hunt? x=5977 % 7C1 % 7C % 7C % 7C % 7Cgifts % 7CAA1VDw ] to the general advocate was a keg of beer. James has openly addresses the demand to happen a balance between being excessively inactive and non being ego driven ( Zellener 6 ) .

It is tough to knock a leader like James Parker. but during a recent interview James stated “We don’t have long term concern plans…” This behaviour would propose the demand for an highly reactionist volatile workplace with high degrees of ambiguity. This would once more ask a demand for a strong sense of directive-leadership because of the changeless alterations being made to their on the job environment. On the other manus. while this might look to make a helter-skelter workplace. James has been able to efficaciously take by supplying his employees the tools that they need to acquire their work done.

Although James has been recognized by the populace as holding more of a reserved personality when contrasted with Kelleher’s extroverted character. he has proven that he is non afraid to turn to issues internally or even externally. Southwest air hoses stocks were being scrutinized as the company said good by to Kelleher and welcomed Parker as president. At that clip. the perceptual experience was that air hoses were come ining a recession with the remainder of the economic system. Parker’s direct leading manner attack was to maintain the support and assurance of his subsidiaries by turn toing disbelieving analysts head on. Southwest public presentation was coming under inquiry because the traffic growth-rate started to diminish. Alternatively of seeking to avoid recognition of this bad intelligence. James went for a head-on confrontation ( Ott 1 ) .

Over the class of his clip spent with Southwest Airlines. James Parker has continued to derive the trust and regard of coworkers throughout the organisation. Southwest has been said to be one of the best companies to work at. James has non allow this success change his focal point on keeping the satisfaction of his employees. Southwest has continued to increase employee morale and at the same time escalate their sense of trueness. Both of these have provided Southwest with a high degree of employee productiveness. Another illustration of Parker doing certain that his employees were included with the success of the company was when the authorities dispersed ‘economy-boosting’ grants to assist percolate up concern in the air hoses. Parker decided that these financess should be shared by all of the employees that were take parting in the Southwest profit-sharing program.

James is unfastened to acknowledge that his salary pickets in comparing to the compensation received by other major air hose presidents. This is critical because Southwest as a whole is non known for paying exceptionally good. The fact that he is willing to put an illustration has helped employees feel that they can swear the corporation. “Parker is now able to offer rises and stock options at a clip when other air hoses talk of sacrifice” ( Zellener 3 ) . More late. this has helped employees to see value in the manner that Southwest chooses to handle their employees. This understanding and recognition has given Southwest an border over other rivals by increasing employee keeping.

In decision. it stands to ground that frequently times leaders. in such a place as James’s. may overlook what runs a service related industry like Southwest Airlines. By using his power to keep a high degree of employee satisfaction. James Parker has proven that Southwest will non fall victim to defects like hapless employee keeping. While the Path-Goal theory can look to hold many complex variables that need to be optimized. Parker’s behavior proves that he has successfully mastered the ability by utilizing many of the constructs found at the bosom of the theory.

Plants Cited

Robbins. Stephen. Organizational Behavior. New Jersey: Pearson. 2001.

Fisher. Daniel. “Is There Such a Thing as Nonstop Growth? ” Forbes Vol. 170 Issue 1. ( 2002 ) : 82. 06 Jun 2003

Zellner. Wendy. “Holding Steady. ” Business Week Issue 3818. ( 2003 ) : 66. 06 Jun 2003

Interview. “Southwest Airlines VP James Parker negotiations to The Wall StreetTranscript. ”


Goett. Pamela. “Who shall take them? ” Journal of Business Strategy Vol. 22 Issue 5. ( 2001 ) : 2-3. 4 Jun. 2003

Ott. James. “Market Focus. ” Aviation Week & A ; Space Technology Vol. 154 Issue 20. ( 2001 ) : 17. 05 Jun 2003

House. R. J. A path-goal theory of leader effectivity. Administrative Science Leadership Review. 16. 321-339. ( 1971 ) ( diagrams )

Wu. Shelly. Leadership Theories: The Path-Goal Theory. Psychology About.

( 2003 ) . 10 Jun 2003 hypertext transfer protocol: //psychology. about. com/library/weekly/aa040102e. htm

“Motivation. Leadership and Communication” . Online Posting.

16 Jan. 2002. Leadership 22 Mar 2003 hypertext transfer protocol: //www. thebridgeconnection.

com/motivation % 20leadership % 20and % 20communication. htm

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The Path Goal Theory. (2017, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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